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United States Science

FDA To Review Inhalable Caffeine 172

Posted by samzenpus
from the jittery-breathing dept.
First time accepted submitter RenderSeven writes "Manufacturing.net reports that U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials plan to investigate whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-sized canisters is safe for consumers and if its manufacturer was right to brand it as a dietary supplement. AeroShot went on the market late last month in Massachusetts and New York, and it's also available in France. Consumers put one end of the canister in their mouths and breathe in, releasing a fine powder that dissolves almost instantly."
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FDA To Review Inhalable Caffeine

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  • Great (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Soporific (595477) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:27PM (#39128539)

    Instant jitters and an easy way to dose higher than you'd expect.

    ~S

    • Re:Great (Score:4, Interesting)

      by retchdog (1319261) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:36PM (#39128639) Journal

      not to mention it's incredibly expensive. i computed it once, iirc it's about 100x as expensive as no-name caffeine pills, and 200x more expensive than bulk anhydrous powder. about its only upside would be that it's maybe harder to overdose, if the effects are actually immediate (which i'm not sure about).

      i can only imagine that this is due to some drug war-stigma against pills. maybe it's for women; studies have shown that women prefer to insufflate their drugs.

      • i can only imagine that this is due to some drug war-stigma against pills.

        Because inhaling something has never been mixed with the drug war.

        • by retchdog (1319261)

          well, no, not from a dispenser. i think the point is that you have plausible cover that it's an asthma inhaler or something.

      • by flyneye (84093)

        Hey, Chong, wanna do a line of some Peruvian Espresso?

    • Re:Great (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Matheus (586080) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:40PM (#39128685) Homepage

      WCPGW

      I used to have a chemlab-grade bottle of pure caffeine. It had no less than 8 different warning labels on it telling you how it could (and most likely would) kill you. Most people don't understand how small a 'real' amount of Caffeine they are consuming. In amounts the equivalent of say, snorting a line of cocaine, you would cause *serious damage. What's to keep your average marker-sniffing high school student from cracking these open and going to town (and then to the hospital)?

      • Re:Great (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Russ1642 (1087959) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:45PM (#39128773)
        All chemicals destined for the lab have insane warning labels. Buy some cleaned sand from a chemical supply company (used for filtration). It's off a beach somewhere but you'd think it was a bottle of plague-infested death shards. They just slap the same FUD warning label on everything just because it's going in a lab. You never know when something is contaminated by the reagent next to it on the shelf but it's still pretty over-the-top.
        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          All chemicals destined for the lab have insane warning labels.

          Yea, but lab grade caffeine powder really is dangerous.
          The recommended dose is something like 1/16th of a teaspoon.

          A teaspoonfull is around 4 grams. That will put most of us in the hospital and will kill some light weights.
          A tablespoon of pure caffeine powder is significantly on the wrong side of the LD50 for most of us.

          You're better off not having pure caffeine powder in your home.

          • by sFurbo (1361249)
            Caffeine is bitter and has an LD50 is around 200 mg/kg body weight in rats. For table salt, the LD50 for humans is around 1g/kg of body weight. Caffein is about 5 times more toxic then something normally considered utterly nontoxic(acutely, anyway), and it tastes really bad. You will not accidentally eat a lethal dose of caffeine. On the other hand, it is quite easy to take enough to make you utterly miserable for days, and unable to sleep it off.
      • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by vlm (69642) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:45PM (#39128783)

        What's to keep your average marker-sniffing high school student from cracking these open and going to town (and then to the hospital)?

        A fatal dose would cost about "three hundred" or so dollars and ripping all the canisters apart would take hours, I suppose. And probably more mechanical skill that your average stimulant addict.

        Probably a "easier" way to poison someone, since foul play is expected if they find your blood full of rat poison, but if there's so much caffeine in your blood that its crystallized (slight exaggeration) then they'll just shrug their shoulders and say "I saw this on Oprah; kids these days; too bad"

        • by msobkow (48369)

          Heart palpitations in a healthy person are a full-scale heart-attack in someone with a heart defect.

          They're just lucky no one huffing on these things has died yet. Even the manufacturer warns you about how easy it is to overdose with them.

          • by retchdog (1319261)

            to put this into perspective, an entire inhaler of this stuff (300 mg) contains less caffeine than a 20 oz. ("venti") drip coffee from starbucks (~400 mg). this proves both that it is safe, and a rip-off.

            no one is going to die from this.

      • by retchdog (1319261)

        or they could crush caffeine pills, which is even easier and hasn't been a problem.

        • by dissy (172727)

          or they could crush caffeine pills, which is even easier and hasn't been a problem.

          No need for so much work and effort. You can buy it in bulk powder form pretty cheaply.
          PureBulk [purebulk.com] lists it as $8.50 for 100g, $60 for 1kg, and up to 20kg for $700

          The inhalers contain 300mg worth for $3. So at the smallest amount you can get in bulk, you get 100 times the caffeine for the same price.
          The pills are cheaper than the inhalers by far, but still not as cheap as bulk powder.

      • Re:Great (Score:5, Insightful)

        by QRDeNameland (873957) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @07:06PM (#39131037)

        In amounts [of caffeine] the equivalent of say, snorting a line of cocaine, you would cause *serious damage.

        Citation please.

        In my misspent youth circa the early 80s, there were commonly available "fake speed" caffeine pills circulating...made to look like real 'pink hearts' or 'black beauties'..which were sold legally and prominently advertised in High Times. And kids would bust them open and snort them, something I tried exactly once. It burned like hell, but nobody died, went to the hospital, or even got particularly high from them.

        And just to look at numbers...the typical cup of coffee has 100mg of caffeine, a can of Jolt has 280mg. So 4 cans of Jolt is more damaging than ingesting a entire gram of pure cocaine? I don't see it.

        Not that I'm saying approving this is a good idea, even as someone pretty heartily opposed to drug prohibition in all its forms. But I don't think the proposition that pure caffeine is more dangerous than cocaine stands up to the facts.

        • by DMFNR (1986182)
          Well said. By the time someone starts getting up to between 500mg and a gram they will feel so shitty they won't want to consume any more. It's not like cocaine or speed where there's actually euphoria driving the urge to dose forwards. Sure someone with heart problems will be in trouble with a high dose, just as a diabetic would be if he spent a whole day binging on Little Debbies. Maybe pure sugar should only be available to licensed labs.

          The person above who said snorting a line of caffeine the size
        • So 4 cans of Jolt is more damaging than ingesting a entire gram of pure cocaine? I don't see it.

          Just try snorting 4 cans of Jolt. See if you live to tell the tale. Not only will your nasal septum dissolve, but you will likely melt all of your sinuses, tonsils, palate and tongue. Then your brain asplodes.

          (It does sound like something someone on 'Jackass' would attempt, however.)

      • What's to keep your average marker-sniffing high school student from cracking these open and going to town (and then to the hospital)?

        What's to stop someone from drinking a pint of Draino with a few tsp of rat poison dissolved in it, swallowing the "decorative" mercury globule treat which is meant to be left at the bottom of the glass, gouging their eyes out with an un-safety-labeled spoon, and then walking to the nearest NRA convention holding a sign "I want to take your guns, but first let me hold your c

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      All the more reason to scale back your Caffeine intake and find your actual threshold. I'm on green tea now and feeling a lot better, less antsy and hyperactive.

      Can't imagine what some people are doing with all the caffeine they are ingesting, which isn't actually doing them much good, past the initial pick-me-up.

      let's not even get into the hazards of inhaleable sugar and cream

    • by Rogerborg (306625)
      Straight up: caffeine's LD50 is about half that of cocaine. It's a vile, highly toxic, shockingly physiologically addicting drug that's only considered to be safe because it's generally taken in controlled doses, in known concentration, and you're unlikely to get shot in a Starbucks deal gone bad. Also, addicts are excellent at rationalising that they don't really have a problem and could quit any time they wanted to.

      If Coca Cola replaced the caffeine in their brown sludge with cocaine it would have man

  • by Barbara, not Barbie (721478) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <nosduh.arabrab>> on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:28PM (#39128553) Journal
    Next thing you know, they'll be snorting coke!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:35PM (#39128623)

      Been there, done that. The problem is that it keeps running back out of my nose and the fizzies make me sneeze.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Next thing you know, they'll be snorting coke!

      I'm sure they'll be banned for that reason. Cops/security guard/schoolteachers can't tell at a glance what has been reloaded into the canisters.

    • I've heard of teens putting vodka in vaporizers for faster highs. Its rather corrosive to sinus tissues.
      • by ackthpt (218170)

        I've heard of teens putting vodka in vaporizers for faster highs. Its rather corrosive to sinus tissues.

        Just stick your foot in a bucket of 100 pf Vodka - not only will you get intoxicated, it could clear up any foot fungus you have.

        • Confirmed also by MythBusters that vodka will remove bad odor from your feet. :)
          • ...although it will taste just awful afterward unless drunk off Salma Hayek's foot (obligatory From Dusk Til Dawn reference).
        • by sFurbo (1361249)
          It doesn't work [bmj.com].

          Conclusion: Our results suggest that feet are impenetrable to the alcohol component of vodka. We therefore conclude that the Danish urban myth of being able to get drunk by submerging feet in alcoholic beverages is just that; a myth. The implications of the study are many though.

      • by DMFNR (1986182)
        Far better than stuffing it in your vagina and/or asshole.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/11/14/vodka-tampon-teens_n_1092594.html

        Note: Probably not true, but I could see more than a few people trying it after the media hype.

        http://www.snopes.com/risque/kinky/vodka.asp

        Some people even tried Jenkem for real after it hit the airwaves.
  • If only Tony Montana could have found a legal subsitute for his miami business... -"Have you guys seen my straw?"
  • Next you'll break open the canisters to get at the powder and snort line of Caffeine.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:35PM (#39128621)
    The FDA is a gimp government department. The only thing it can review in depth is approval for new drugs, and that's only because the corporations submitting the drugs have to pay for that. Funding for everything else, from food and cosmetics inspection to even chasing down advertisers that use the phrase 'FDA approved' illegally, is so hamstrung as to be useless. The only time the FDA gets involved is when there's press coverage on people getting sick and/or dying. Only a very, very small fraction of meat is ever inspected... and there are holes in the system so big you could fly a 737 through it and still have ample room to fit at least a dozen Rush Limbaughs lengthwise through them. Take honey, for example: Honey is mixed and remixed with many other suppliers, such that the expiration date is never known. Should a particular batch of honey be close to expiring or would otherwise fail inspection, it is shipped across the border, mixed in with good honey, and then imported back. This is legal. There's so many examples of this it's not even funny.

    Bottom line here: Don't trust the FDA when it comes to food safety. It may be their responsibility to ensure food is safe, but they're so horribly underfunded and compromised by corporate interests that they cannot realistically be expected to succeed.

    • by causality (777677) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:42PM (#39128729)

      The FDA is a gimp government department. The only thing it can review in depth is approval for new drugs, and that's only because the corporations submitting the drugs have to pay for that. Funding for everything else, from food and cosmetics inspection to even chasing down advertisers that use the phrase 'FDA approved' illegally, is so hamstrung as to be useless. The only time the FDA gets involved is when there's press coverage on people getting sick and/or dying. Only a very, very small fraction of meat is ever inspected... and there are holes in the system so big you could fly a 737 through it and still have ample room to fit at least a dozen Rush Limbaughs lengthwise through them. Take honey, for example: Honey is mixed and remixed with many other suppliers, such that the expiration date is never known. Should a particular batch of honey be close to expiring or would otherwise fail inspection, it is shipped across the border, mixed in with good honey, and then imported back. This is legal. There's so many examples of this it's not even funny.

      Bottom line here: Don't trust the FDA when it comes to food safety. It may be their responsibility to ensure food is safe, but they're so horribly underfunded and compromised by corporate interests that they cannot realistically be expected to succeed.

      Are you aware that ancient Egyptian tombs have been unsealed and were found to contain honey thousands of years old that was still edible? It's an excellent preservative.

      I'm no fan of the FDA either but this isn't your strongest example.

      • by gnick (1211984)

        Bottled water and/or meat are probably stronger examples here than honey.

        If only because Penn & Teller did Bullshit episodes on the topics that slashdotters will be familiar with...

      • Are you aware that ancient Egyptian tombs have been unsealed and were found to contain honey thousands of years old that was still edible? It's an excellent preservative.

        I'm aware that this fact is repeated often on the internet but nobody's ever been able to provide a citation that doesn't cite another, that cites another, that leads on in a circle forever. Regardless, such practices are unregulated and there is no tracking or auditing, so if something that wasn't honey made it into production, or if it contained botulism (yes, honey can indeed become infected with pathogens, le gasp)... there would be no way to trace it back to its source. That was my point. If the Egypti

        • by causality (777677) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:04PM (#39129029)

          Are you aware that ancient Egyptian tombs have been unsealed and were found to contain honey thousands of years old that was still edible? It's an excellent preservative.

          I'm aware that this fact is repeated often on the internet but nobody's ever been able to provide a citation that doesn't cite another, that cites another, that leads on in a circle forever. Regardless, such practices are unregulated and there is no tracking or auditing, so if something that wasn't honey made it into production, or if it contained botulism (yes, honey can indeed become infected with pathogens, le gasp)... there would be no way to trace it back to its source. That was my point. If the Egyptians happened to be really good at preserving things, you know, like people and honey, well all the more power to them. However, this is not Egypt during the time of the Parohs.

          The statements of the obvious ("this isn't ancient Egypt" etc.) reveal a slight impatient hostility on your part. It's not my fault you chose a weak example.

          The principle here is that honey has such a high concentration of varous sugars and such a low concentration of water relative to those, that it provides an environment quite hostile for microbes. Osmosis across their cell membranes would tend to dehydrate them. It's similar to what happens when food (or whatever) is packed in salt. For this reason honey was once used to dress wounds in order to help prevent infection.

          Knowing something about its nature is an alternative to dealing with any circular citations you might encounter. At least if your sole concern is whether you are likely to be harmed by eating "expired" honey. I for one am not worried about this at all, but as I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or other such practitioner I'm not telling anyone else what they should do. I simply consider it more than coincidence that such a widespread practice of selling expired honey (assuming I accept that at face value) hasn't resulted in reported cases of food poisoning like we saw with tainted spinach, cantaloupe, et al in recent years.

        • Parent doesn't know wth they're talking about. In this case, the honey is the preservative. Back in the day, honey-glazed hams weren't just honey-glazed because it tasted good, they were honey glazed because it was a way to preserve the ham. As one of the other responders to this post mentioned, high concentrations of sugar make for a really hostile environment for bacteria.
          • Honey can preserve botulism [wikipedia.org] producing spores. It typically only affects infants and is pretty rare (perhaps 100 cases in the US per year). Just goes to show that nature abhors a vacuum.

        • Im pretty sure that honey would crystalize before it would "expire". Theres not enough moisture in it for things to grow in, so bacteria and fungus tend to have a hard time with it.

          Ive had year+ old honey that was generally fine, if tasting a bit wierd because it had started to crystalize and become more concentrated.

          • by powerlord (28156)

            Heck, when we were cleaning out my grandparents house we found a jar of honey that had to be at least 30-40 years old (pre-zipcode in address and no barcode, but a "recognizable" brand name).

            We cracked it open and enjoyed it with some similar vintage alcohols (also found during the cleaning), on some (newly bought) crackers, as part of our "good-bye meal" after we finished emptying everything else.

    • by brunes69 (86786)

      Honey doesn't expire or go bad, so I don't know what you are going on about there. The only thing that can happen to honey is if it is exposed to air it can solidify, but you can always just re-heat it and use it again.

    • by Artagel (114272)
      Please don't confuse FDA with other organizations. FDA is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) generally handles inspections of food. I think fish are actually inspected by the Fish and Wildlife Service which is part of the Department of the Interior. Regarding food, FDA deals with approvals, labeling and definitions. (Definitions such as: evaporated milk: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/aprqtr/21cfr131.130.htm [gpo.gov]), not inspections.
  • not inhaled (Score:4, Informative)

    by greghodg (1453715) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:37PM (#39128657)
    It's not "inhaled." You puff the powder into your mouth, it dissolves in the saliva in your mouth, then you essentially swallow the saliva+caffeine and it's absorbed in your digestive system. No better or faster than any other caffeine that you swallow, and I guarantee a bottle of Vivarin is going to cost a HELL of a lot less than this gimmick.
    • Re:not inhaled (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IcyHando'Death (239387) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @04:15PM (#39129165)
      Yeah, well that's what their marketing stuff says, but that's just their end-run around the FDA. When used as directed: i.e. puffed into the mouth and swallowed, it can pass as a dietary supplement. But it's pretty clear that the fastest hit will come from inhaling and everybody knows it. The French manufacturer is named "Breathable Foods" for god's sake. Pretty transparent
      • by jriskin (132491)

        Agreed, if it looks like an inhaler and works like an inhaler... users are going to inhale...

        Not that I have anything against people inhaling anything they want, but lets be realistic here.

  • .NET (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zigurat667 (1380959) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:38PM (#39128663)
    had to read that three times until I realized that this Manufacturing.net is a website and has nothing to do with .NET reporting
  • Saw this on Wired [google.ca] a few weeks ago. Looks dangerous indeed. I prefer my caffeine in liquid [starbucks.com] or solid [thinkgeek.com], not gaseous, form, TYVM.

    (Yes, I'm aware that an inhalant powder is technically solid; don't get pendantic).
    • by Spykk (823586)

      don't get pendantic

      *twitch*

      • don't get pendantic

        *twitch*

        "Click"

        I just turned Illogicalstudent's spell checker back on. You should feel better in a few moments.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:43PM (#39128733)
    The FDA checking the safety of a Food/Drug for general public consumption.
    Just because it is legal elsewhere it doesn't mean it is safe for public consumption.
    When the FDA lets a dangerous food and drug go free, they will get people yelling at them for not doing their job.
    If the FDA bans a food or drug that isn't as dangerous, it is the strong arm of the mighty big brother keeping us poor folk who use this stuff as a cheap replacement for a 50' Boat, and 3 Vacation homes, from having any joy in our lives at all.
  • Inhaling your food, but this is ridiculous! Garcon, I'd to huff a nice Columbian Supremo, please!

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @03:59PM (#39128967) Journal

    It seems the natural outcome of this would be giant fire-extinguisher sized containers in each corner of the building regularly spritzing caffeine into the air to generally improve employee output. You could even hide the canister behind ceiling tiles. Just another service provided by your company.

    • by Rhacman (1528815)
      But why hide it? It was listed in the benefits package.
      • But why hide it? It was listed in the benefits package.

        Because people like me would steal it and stuff it in their desks. ZZZZZOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!!!!

  • Inhaling powder? Rarely a good idea- common sense says it can't be good for the lungs.

    Also, I think many people over-estimate how much caffeine really does for them. There have been studies that show that people get more of a "caffeine high" if they are given a decaf and told it has caffeine in it- than they are if they are given a caffinated coffee and told it is decaf.

    Sure, caffeine does help- and does things to the brain; but 50% of the effect of caffeine is pure placebo effect.

    • by greghodg (1453715)
      You're right, although it's left pretty ambiguous, it is definitely NOT inhaled. It's a fine powder that dissolves in the mouth, absorbed through digestive system. Just like every other orally consumed caffeine. Also, it costs roughly 100 times more than the exact same thing in a pill ($3/100mg aeroshot vs. 200 count 100mg caffeine pills for ~$6).
    • by Yosho (135835)

      Rarely a good idea- common sense says it can't be good for the lungs.

      Common sense is frequently wrong. How about all of the pollen you inhale on a regular basis? How about the burning hot particles you inhale every time you smell a hot cup of tea or coffee?

      • You mean the pollen that give many people allergic reactions and have people flowing rivers of phlegm out their nose? Yeah, hadn't forgotten that.

  • What's next, snorting No-Doz?

  • "...and paid them enough money to brand it as a dietary supplement."

    FTFY

    • by will_die (586523)
      Not you did not fix it, you just showed you where are major idiot, and could not learn why they choose to label it as a dietary supplement.
      There FTFY.
  • if we wanted inhalable instantaneous stimulants, cocaine has been around a long time. but if we legalized cocaine that might allow for new markets and businesses to operate where historically monopolies have presided unchallenged.

    but if we want inhalable caffeine, thats okay, because the monopoly powers in place have developed tested and stand poised to maket the product accordingly.

    and if you dont believe me, check out the wiki article on Stevia, because this is exactly how this works.
    http://en. [wikipedia.org]
  • I got a free sample of one of these in the mail, they're from the company that makes Le Whiff "breathable chocolate". They work, but it's a horribly planned product. The experience is equivalent to inhaling pixie stix but it tastes a lot worse. You put the product in your mouth and instead of the logical idea of putting the hole that the power comes out of directly on top of the product (facing the back of your throat) so when you inhale it goes directly down your throat, the holes are on the sides facing t

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