Non-prescription and over-the-counter
Ephedrine, mahuang, ephedra
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Ephedrine, Ma Huang, and Ephedra
FDA Warns of Danger
The Food and Drug Administration and the National Council Against Health
Fraud have identified ephedrine as the worst over-the-counter and/or mail
order product. It is contained in many diet pills and food supplements. The
FDA has reported in excess of 300 cases of adverse reaction to ephedrine
in 1994 and 1995 alone. Dozens of deaths have been linked to these substances.
The FDA has compiled
32 volumes of information on ephedrine. If you are interested in reviewing
these, please direct a FOIA request to the FDA Docket's Management Branch
in Rockville, Maryland. Check our "links" page for FDA's web
The FDA has warned
that users of these dietary supplements may put themselves at risk for
heart attacks, seizures and other severe problems. Generally, these products
are not FDA approved.
One source of ephedrine is a Chinese herb called ma huang, and it is totally
unregulated in most places. Also known as ephedra, Mormon tea or Brigham
tea, this Chinese herb has been used for over 2000 years. It is far from
Caused by Ephedrine
Ephedrine can cause high stroke, blood pressure, and heart problems. It
is particularly dangerous to people who have high blood pressure. The
FDA reports nausea, irregular heart beats, insomnia, nervousness and disorientation
as adverse effects of ephedrine. Use is also associated with hyperactivity,
diarrhea, dizziness, disorientation, numbness, anxiety, chest pains, breathing
difficulty, heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, hypertension, depression,
headaches, and insomnia. Three instances of death were associated and
several involved heart attacks, seizures and strokes.
Certain ephedrine products were even banned for a period of time in Texas,
when it was identified as the cause of two deaths and several hospitalizations.
Further bans have been urged by organizations such as The Association
of Food and Drug Officials. Such action was prompted after presentations
from the Florida and Texas public health and drug officials. In fact,
according to AFDO, "the pervasiveness of the ephedrine problem nationally
is demonstrated by the actions of 26 states who have considered, proposed
or enacted controls on ephedrine that are stricter than federal regulations".
AFDO further notes that 12 states have moved to include ephedrine as a
prescription drug, making it a controlled substance. Florida, Ohio, and
Missouri have taken a lead position in this regard.
Sells this Product
Among others, this product has been sold by Herbalife under the product
name Thermojetics. Nature's Nutritionís Formula One, manufactured by Affiliated
Consultants International Alliance/USA, was the most commonly cited product
in an FDA report. Other products were mentioned in the FDA reports, as
This informational piece was prepared by Monheit, Silverman & Fodera. If you would like more information on this topic, call us at (800) 220-LAW1, or use the "Do I Have A Case?" button on this web site.
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