February 10, 2016


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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?

Ephedra is banned in the US due to safety concerns. 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 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.

Do not use ephedra if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have chest pains.
  • You feel anxious.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have glaucoma.
  • You have rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • You have thyroid problems.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have tremors.
  • You have kidney stones.
  • You have a condition called pheochromocytoma.
  • You have a seizure disorder.

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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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