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FDA looks at caffeine as inhalant

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials plan to investigate whether inhalable caffeine sold in lipstick-size 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 New York Massachusetts, 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.

AeroShot's inventor, David A. Edwards, a Harvard professor of biomedical engineering, says the product is safe and doesn't contain taurine and other common additives used to enhance the caffeine effect in energy drinks.

AeroShot didn't require FDA review before hitting the U.S. market because it's sold as a dietary supplement. But U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said that he met with the FDA's commissioner, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, and that she agreed to review the safety and legality of AeroShot.

Tom Hadfield, chief executive of Breathable Foods, which makes AeroShot in France, said in a statement that the company will cooperate fully with the FDA's review to address the issues raised by Schumer and are confident it will conclude that AeroShot is a safe, effective product that complies with FDA regulations.

The company said that when used according to its label, AeroShot provides a safe amount of caffeine and B vitamins.

It said that each AeroShot contains B vitamins and 100 milligrams of caffeine, about the equivalent of caffeine in a large cup of coffee, and that AeroShot is not recommended for those younger than 18 and is not marketed to children.