FDA Warns of Untested, Unproven Products to Treat Concussions

The FDA is warning the public not to use untested supplements being sold online and marketed through social media that claim to prevent, treat or cure traumatic brain injuries.

The Food and Drug Administration is warning the public not to use untested, unproven and possibly dangerous products that claim to prevent, treat or cure concussions and other traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

These supplements are being sold on the Internet and some retail outlets, and they are being marketed through social media. A common claim is that the use of a particular dietary supplement promotes faster healing times after concussion or TBI.

Even if a supplement does not contain harmful ingredients, the claim alone can be dangerous, the agency notes, because the false assurances of faster recovery will convince athletes, coaches and parents that someone suffering from a concussion is ready to resume activities before they are actually ready.

Typically, products that promise relief from TBIs tout the benefit of ingredients such as turmeric and omega-3 fatty acids. Some companies have celebrity athletes recommending the supplements.

The FDA has sent warning letters to several manufacturers warning that their products generally were not recognized as safe and effective for treating TBIs and were misbranded, and that unless various violations were corrected, legal action could result.

The agency is continuing to monitor the marketplace but warns consumers that new products making such claims are constantly appearing.