Monday, December 01, 2003

info to keep track of

ephedra vs. canadian imports

Like just about everyone over at OSP I consider myself a liberal. I haven't taken a formal poll or anything but I might be one of the few who will say that as much as I dislike most conservative idealogy I think it is a very important perspective and idea source, one that at the very least be used to temper and solidify liberal ideas.

I've always had respect for those who

Because of dangers and abuse potential, in 1983 the FDA (Food and Drug
Administration) banned all over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that included both synthetic ephedrine and caffeine, the combination used most in dietary supplements containing ephedra alkaloids, and the agency is now finalizing the ban on OTC drugs that contain ephedrine alone. At a recent U.S. Senate Hearing on ephedra alkaloids, acting FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford conceded that if these products were drugs, not dietary supplements, they would be off the market. But he also stated that unreasonable risk of harm at the recommended doses, is sufficient for withdrawal under the 1994 Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA), which allows marketing of naturally occurring products without requirements for safety or efficacy studies and is the legal standard for FDA withdrawal[2].

In a review of 140 cases of adverse reactions to ephedra reported to the FDA by early 1999, hypertension was the most frequently named, followed by palpitations, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), stroke, and seizures. The adverse effects included 10 deaths, and 13 instances of permanent disability[3]. Even one standard "serving" of a typical ephedra alkaloid-containing dietary supplement can be dangerous: The average increase in systolic blood pressure was 14 mmHg, 90 minutes after subjects took two capsules with a total of 20 mg of ephedra and 200 mg of caffeine. Three of the eight people studied had evidence of "mild clinical hypertension"[4].

Despite convincing evidence of heart attacks, arrhythmias, strokes, and more than 100 reports to the FDA of death[5], these products are still marketed in the United States. Notwithstanding FDA's reluctance to take action, Army and Air Force commissaries and post exchanges recently voluntarily removed all ephedra-containing dietary supplements from their shelves[6]. The FDA has received documentation of about 30 deaths in active duty personnel who were using these supplements, although no direct cause-and-effect relation has been established[7]. The National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association had previously banned ephedra[8]. In June 2001, the Canadian government warned Canadians not to use these products, and in January 2002, it announced a recall of "ephedra/ephedrine products with labelled or implied claims for appetite suppression, weight loss promotion, metabolic enhancement, increased exercise tolerance, body-building effects, euphoria, increased energy or wakefulness, or other stimulant effects"[9].

pro ephedra site

Metabolife -

More Than 30 Army Deaths Attributed To Ephedra (
12/06/02 - The U.S. Army has reported that more than 30 active duty service personnel have died while taking ephedra products thus prompting a recent military warning saying "Ephedra may cause severe medical problems, even death".

To justify limiting ephedra's sales, the magazine cited the FDA's recent study of adverse events associated with ephedra products that concluded 87 that were "definitely," "probably," or "possibly" caused by ephedra. Of these, there were 17 cases of strokes and seizures, 13 cases of permanent impairment and 10 deaths.

Countering the magazine's claim, Hathcock says a stimulant, like ephedra, might have led to these bad reactions, but added that something else might also have been responsible.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Ephedra, an herb found in weight-loss and bodybuilding supplements, is unsafe even when taken in recommended doses and should be restricted, according to doctors who studied reports of bad reactions to the herb.

U.S. poison control centers reported 1,178 adverse reactions to ephedra dietary supplements in 2001, said the study, which was to be posted on the Annals of Internal Medicine's Web site Tuesday and published in the journal next month.

Cbs story


General Clark in 2004