Ephedra, pronounced as eh-FEED-druh, is the generic name of diet pills that are marketed in combination with other active ingredients. It is basically a stimulant that gives you energy to burn more calories than you normally would. It is a fast acting diet pill that should NOT be given for more than 7 consecutive days, as sanctioned by the US FDA.
Ephedra – What Is It?
Ephedra works by boosting your metabolism so that you burn more and more calories with the same amount of effort that you exert everyday. It has a hyperactive effect in your body in the sense that it makes every part of your body work overtime. Obviously, this is not meant to be a long-term medication and is meant to temporarily treat obesity. It can help you jump-start your weight loss process with the initial weight loss and then you can continue with other conservative methods later on.
Ephedra is not just a diet pill. It is used to treat a variety of issues such as:
- Nasal swelling
- Nasal congestion
- Central nervous system stimulant
Ephedra is a herbal medication. It has proven effects in increasing your heart rate and elevating your blood pressure. Since it boosts your metabolism and your body’s functions, it also helps dilate your airways, hence the use for nasal congestion and asthmatic cases. Think of Ephedra as a stimulant that works like steroids – it magnifies the processes within your body.
What You Need to Know About Ephedra
Before taking Ephedra, you must know that you cannot use it if you have a history of:
- Allergic reactions to medications
- Use of MAO inhibitors or anti depressants, especially in the last two weeks
- Tumor in your adrenal glands or any other hormonal imbalance
- You also cannot use Ephedra if you are pregnant, nursing or planning on getting pregnant.
Apart from these, there are certain types of medications that should not interact with Ephedra. These are medications for circulatory and heart disease, allergy medications, diabetes treatment, hormonal replacement therapy and fertility medications.
Beta blockers or medications that are designed to lower your blood pressure will be in direct conflict with the effects of Ephedra. Since Ephedra boosts your blood pressure and heart rate, it is best that you consult with your physician if you are being treated for high blood pressure.
Ephedra is not a drug that can be prescribed to anyone. Ephedra is a powerful drug and it should only be used as directed by your physician. Usually, Ephedra is instructed to be used with the following conditions:
- Do not overdose or double your dose, even if you have forgotten past doses.
- Use Ephedra only as directed.
- Read the package instructions carefully before use.
- Alert your physician if one or more overdose signs are present or if you suspect that you are having an allergic reaction to the drug.
- You should not operate heavy machinery when you are on ephedra. It can cause nausea and dizziness plus impaired eye sight.
- Do not use Ephedra for more than 7 days – it is just a short term treatment drug, not a daily vitamin.
- Some forms of Ephedra have added alcohol or sugar, such as the liquid versions of it. If you have diabetes, please contact your physician if you have been prescribed the liquid Ephedra.
- It is not for the elderly (those above 60 years old) and not for children under 18 years of age.
- This is not to be used by nursing mothers.
- Alert your physician if you feel that Ephedra is not working as it should. You may have developed a tolerance for it.
- Do not use ephedra if you are already on a different kind of diet pill or if your current diet pill has Ma-Huang or other forms of Ephedra.
The dosage of Ephedra greatly varies per preparation of the drug. Most of the time, the maximum dose is 24 mg of Ephedra within a 24-hour period. You may be taking smaller amounts of Ephedra scattered throughout the day or you may take a single dose of it every morning. One thing is certain, you cannot take more than 24 mg everyday of Ephedra for more than 7 days.
Ephedra is such a potent diet formulation that under no circumstance should you double your dose.
- Allergic breakout such as hives or difficulty in breathing
- Cold sweating with rapid pulse rate
- Extraordinarily high blood pressure
- Severe stomach pain and cramps that will not go away
- Dehydration, difficulty in urinating
- Hand tremors
- Loss of consciousness
You can also contact the American Association Of Poison Control Centers at:
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To avoid Ephedra from malfunctioning, make sure that you store it in a cool, dry place, away from drafts. Store it away from sources of heat and moisture and keep it away from children. Do not store it in your bathroom – it is best to store it in your shelf in the bedroom or safely hidden away in your kitchen pantry. Do not share your dose of Ephedra with anyone else, even if you suspect that you have a similar health background. Every patient of Ephedra must be assessed by a licensed physician and must never share his dosage with anyone.