Ephedrine is an amphetamine-like alkaloid that is used in several dietary supplements and may be included in energy or performance enhancing products. Numerous adverse effects have been linked to its use, some of which have been fatal. Certain precautions need to be taken to prevent or reduce the severity of these occurrences.


Precautions in the use of ephedrine and related alkaloids:

(1) It should not be taken by patients with a history of heart disease, hypertension or stroke.

(2) It should not be taken by pregnant women and should not be taken while nursing.

(3) It should not be taken for more than 7 days.

(4) The dose should be limited to no more than 8 mg in a 6 hour period, with no more than 24 mg taken in a 24 hour period.

(5) It should not be taken with other stimulants such as caffeine.

(6) It should not be taken to enhance physical performance when hyperthermia is a risk or if exertion will be moderate to maximal.

(7) It should be used with caution if used in a rapid weight loss program.


Any adverse reactions and the situations surrounding them should be reported to the FDA. The FDA may ban ephedra due to the ongoing reports of health hazards.


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