An amphetamine isomer whose efficacy and safety in humans has never been studied, β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), is found in multiple dietary supplements

Drug Test Anal. 2016 Mar-Apr;8(3-4):328-33. doi: 10.1002/dta.1793. Epub 2015 Apr 7.


The amphetamine isomer β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA) was first synthesized in the early 1930s, but its efficacy and safety in humans has not been studied. Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detected BMPEA in dietary supplements labelled as containing Acacia rigidula. Over a year after the FDA reported its findings, we analyzed Acacia rigidula dietary supplements to determine if BMPEA had been removed. Supplements were analyzed using liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Diluted methanolic extract from each supplement was run three times and each data set obtained was analyzed using Agilent MassHunter Qualitative Analysis. The presence of BMPEA was confirmed by accurate mass, retention time and mass spectra match against a reference standard. Quantification of BMPEA was determined using an eight-point calibration curve of spiked standard to a matrix blank. Twenty-one brands of Acacia rigidula supplements were analyzed. More than half (11/21; 52.4%) of the Acacia rigidula supplement brands contained BMPEA. The stimulant was present at quantities such that consumers following recommended maximum daily servings would consume a maximum of 93.7 mg of BMPEA per day. Consumers of Acacia rigidula supplements may be exposed to pharmacological dosages of an amphetamine isomer that lacks evidence of safety in humans. The FDA should immediately warn consumers about BMPEA and take aggressive enforcement action to eliminate BMPEA in dietary supplements. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Keywords: US Food and Drug Administration; amphetamine isomer; dietary supplements.

MeSH terms

  • Acacia / chemistry*
  • Amphetamines / analysis
  • Amphetamines / isolation & purification*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / analysis
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / isolation & purification*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Reference Standards
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Amphetamines
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • beta-methylphenyl-ethylamine