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ephedra [ma huang, chinese ephedra, epitonin]

Drug and Dietary Supplement Profiles

A comprehensive review of the safety and effectiveness of this dietary supplement. If the dietary supplement is not a Do Not Use product, information on adverse effects, drug interactions and how to use the medication are included.
Search results below include drug profiles where your selected drug is a primary subject of discussion

Disease and Drug Family Information

Search results below include Disease and Drug Family Information where your selected dietary supplement is a primary subject of discussion
  • Dietary and Herbal Supplements [hide all summaries]
    In the other chapters of this book, we have had access to published articles describing randomized, controlled trials in medical journals, medical textbooks, the FDA-approved label, and, importantly, the detailed review of the drug (based on a review of the raw data from the sponsor’s clinical trials) conducted by the FDA medical officer, at least for more recent drugs. This evidence base is far from complete for any dietary supplement. By definition, no supplement has passed an FDA safety and efficacy review (otherwise it would be a drug).

Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles

Search results below include Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter Articles where your selected dietary supplement is a primary subject of discussion
  • Managing Herbal Medicines in Patients Undergoing Surgery [hide all summaries]
    (January 2013)
    Find out why, if you are using any of nine different popular dietary supplements and you are planning to have surgery, you need to tell your doctor so you can stop using them at a safe interval before your operation. The intervals range from at least 24 hours before surgery to two weeks, the latter the case for most of the nine supplements.
  • Diet and Exercise: Still the Best Medicine for Losing Weight or Keeping Fit [hide all summaries]
    (October 2012)
    The recent FDA approval of the first two new diet drugs in 13 years occasions our review of the safety problems of both drugs and the history of previous diet drugs, taken off the market because of serious cardiovascular dangers. Two recent well-controlled studies, one in adults and one in children, document the benefit of reasonable diet and exercise programs as the only safe and effective way to lose weight.
  • The FDA Finally Bans Ephedra [hide all summaries]
    (February 2004)
    Once again, Worst Pills, Best Pills readers were warned about the dangers of a drug well before — in this case two and one-half years before — the government got around to a ban.
  • Review of Adverse Effects and Contraindications of Various Dietary Supplements Used for Weight Loss [hide all summaries]
    (December 2002)
    Ephedra, or ma huang, the natural form of the stimulant ephedrine, the most infamous and dangerous drug found in dietary supplements sold for weight loss, is at last beginning to receive the negative notoriety it deserves. Ephedra causes heart attacks and strokes because of its ability to raise blood pressure and heart rate. Article discusses the risk of other dietary supplements.
  • Drug Induced Psychiatric Symptoms [hide all summaries]
    (October 2002)
    This is the first of a two part series on drug induced psychiatric symptoms that is based on the July 8, 2002 issue of The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics. Regular readers of Worst Pills, Best Pills News will recognize The Medical Letter as a reference source written for physicians and pharmacists that we often use because of its reputation as an objective and independent source of drug information. The article lists the drugs and their psychiatric adverse effects.
  • Canadians Begin Recall of Dangerous Drug Supplement Ephedra [hide all summaries]
    (February 2002)
    On January 9, 2002, Canadian regulatory authorities announced the initiation of a voluntary recall of certain products containing the drug supplement Ephedra and one of its pure chemical constituents, ephedrine. Ephedra and ephedrine are mostly found in dietary supplements promoted for weight loss and energy enhancement.

Additional Information from Public Citizen

Search results below include Additional Information from Public Citizen where your selected dietary supplement is a primary subject of discussion
  • [hide all summaries]
    Testimony Before FDA Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee Meeting on Cardiovascular Risk Assessment of Obesity Drugs (HRG Publication #2012)
  • [hide all summaries]
    Twenty-Year Chronology of Events Concerning Ephedrine Alkaloids, released in conjunction with publication of article in Science magazine: Ephedra Scientific Evidence Versus Money/Politics
  • [hide all summaries]
    This apparently inherent ability of ephedrine alkaloids to provoke chest pain and induce myocardial infarction in healthy patients is of particular concern because of the implications for vulnerable patients using other medications or with previously undiagnosed underlying medical conditions. Note that some of these adverse cardiovascular events can occur at the recommended dose.
  • [hide all summaries]
    This letter strongly urges you to direct FDA Chief Counsel Dan Troy to agree that a criminal investigation of Metabolife be opened, as requested in a July 1, 2002, letter he was sent from Eugene M. Thirolf, Director, Office of Consumer Litigation, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). In that letter, the DOJ official states that Michael Ellis, the President of Metabolife, one of the nation’s largest producers of ephedrine-based dietary supplements, may have made false statements to the FDA.
  • [hide all summaries]
    Today’s announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which not only fails to ban ephedra dietary supplements but also fails to seriously warn against the use of these products, should result in the firing of all officials in HHS and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who are responsible for this dangerous cowardice.
  • [hide all summaries]
    We now have evidence that you are not only failing to protect Americans by banning a chemical that has more reports of deaths, heart attacks, strokes, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension and seizure than all other food supplements combined, but that you have failed to seize at least 10 products made by at least nine dietary supplement manufacturers who are selling products that illegally contain synthetic ephedrine alkaloids under the guise of being legitimate dietary supplements.
  • [hide all summaries]
    Letter from Amer Ardati and Sidney Wolfe, M.D. to American Medical Association (AMA) president Michael Maves, M.D. requesting that they support HRG petition to the FDA to ban dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids.
  • [hide all summaries]
    Since at the heart of this problem is the irrational legal distinction that has been made between those pharmacologically active chemicals which are regulated as prescription or over-the-counter drugs and those which others call dietary supplements which I call drug supplements, eventually the same standards for safety and effectiveness must be adopted.
  • [hide all summaries]
    The Public Citizen Health Research Group, petitions the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the production and sale of dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids. These dietary supplements include, but are not limited to, those containing ephedra, ephedra extract, and ma-huang. The grounds for FDA action are that these products present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury under conditions of use suggested or recommended in the labeling
  • [hide all summaries]
    When the first member of this committee or of Congress or their families, has a stroke, a fatal cardiac arrhythmia, or some other life-threatening adverse reaction to dietary supplements, perhaps there will be a belated reconsideration of the damage done by DSHEA. The law will then either be significantly modified or repealed so that pre-marketing safety and efficacy testing become the preferable alternative to post-marketing human experimentation.

Health Letter Articles

Search results below include Health Letter Articles where your selected dietary supplement is a primary subject of discussion
  • Outrage: Department of Health and Human Services Fails to Ban Ephedra or Issue Adequate Warnings [hide all summaries]
    (July 2002)
    The   following is a statement by Health Letter Editor, Dr. Sidney Wolfe in response to this decision: Today's announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which not only fails to ban ephedra dietary supplements but also fails to seriously warn against the use of these products, should result in the firing of all officials in HHS and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who are responsible for this dangerous cowardice. The idea that more studies are needed and that the more than 100 deaths and hundreds of other cases of serious damage to users of these products, many of which are extremely well-documented and have occurred at recommended doses, is not enough for a ban is in sharp contrast to what has usually occurred with the removal of dangerous prescription drugs from the market.
  • Outrage: Do Not Use Ephedra [hide all summaries]
    (October 2001)
    This Is a Dangerous Substance and Should Be Taken off the Market.

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