May 26, 2016

Ephedra

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How does Ephedra work?

Ephedra contains a chemical called ephedrine. Ephedrine stimulates the heart, the lungs, and the nervous system.

Are there safety concerns?

Do not take products that contain ephedra or its active ingredients. Ephedra is LIKELY UNSAFE for adults and children. Ephedra can cause severe life-threatening or disabling conditions in some people. Ephedra use is linked to high blood pressure, heart attacks, muscle disorders, seizures, strokes, irregular heartbeat, loss of consciousness, and death. These side effects might be more likely if ephedra is used in high doses or long-term. Doses greater than 32 mg per day might more than triple the risk for bleeding within the brain (hemorrhagic stroke). The risk for serious side effects seems to be greater than any potential benefit. Ephedra is banned in the U.S.

Ephedra can also cause less serious side effects including dizziness, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, heart pounding, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and others.

Do not use ephedra with other stimulants such as caffeine. This might increase the chance of having side effects, including life-threatening ones. Sources of caffeine include coffee, tea, kola nut, guarana, and mate.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Ephedra is LIKELY UNSAFE. Ephedra has been linked to several cases of severe side effects. Do not use it.

Chest pain (angina): Ephedra can stimulate the heart and this could make chest pain worse. Don't use it.

Irregular heartbeat or long QT interval syndrome: Ephedra can stimulate the heart and might make irregular heartbeat worse. Do not use it.

Anxiety: Large doses of ephedra might make anxiety worse. Do not use it.

Diabetes: Ephedra might interfere with blood sugar control, and could raise high blood pressure and increase circulation problems in people with diabetes. Do not use it.

A movement disorder called essential tremor: Ephedra might make essential tremor worse. Do not use it.

High blood pressure: Ephedra might make high blood pressure worse. Do not use it.

Overactive thyroid and related conditions: Ephedra might stimulate the thyroid and make the symptoms of overactive thyroid worse. Do not use it.

Kidney stones: Ephedra and its active ingredient ephedrine can cause kidney stones. Do not use ephedra or ephedrine.

Narrow-angle glaucoma: Ephedra might make this condition worse. Do not use it.

An adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma): Ephedra might make the symptoms of this condition worse. Do not use it.

Seizure disorders: Ephedra might bring on a seizure or make one worse in some people who are prone to seizures. Of the 33 cases of seizures reported to the FDA over 7 years that were linked to dietary supplements, 27 cases involved ephedra.


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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.


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