What is Ephedra?
Ephedra, otherwise known as ephedrine, is an amphetamine-like substance, and when produced in a laboratory is a drug regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approved uses by the FDA are for nasal congestion and minor eye irritation.
Ephedra in its “natural” form is marketed and used in dietary supplements. Through studies the FDA has proven that, when taken with caffeine, Ephedra is effective in helping short-term weight loss, but these short term benefits are vastly outweighed by serious long term serious or fatal side effects.
Use of herbal products containing Ephedra has been linked to over 1,000 injuries and 150 deaths. The drug can be found in many over-the-counter weight loss/energy boosting products, continued and prolonged use of products containing Ephedra can potentially lead to bleeding in the brain, strokes, heart attacks and death. Athletes and young people tend to abuse Ephedra most frequently and in extremely high and unsafe doses.
The FDA deciding to ban Ephedra in 2004 proves how dangerous the drug can be. The FDA issued the ban after over 16,000 reported adverse events that were reported after use of the drug. Some of the more serious side effects included heart palpitations, tremors and insomnia. Generally dietary supplements are considered “food additives” and outside the control of the FDA. On account of this “loophole” many drugs are able to be listed on labels making claims with no scientific backing, and with altered named, putting the unsuspecting consumer at far greater risk. The fact the FDA found the drug dangerous enough to find a way to ban it shows the grave cause for concern Ephedra use carries.
Side Effects of Ephedra
There have been numerous dangerous and fatal side effects linked to use of Ephedra, they include;
- Irregular Heart Rhythms
- Heart Attacks
- Paranoid Psychosis
Some examples of settlements and awards given to victims of Ephedra are;
- In 2003, a Californian judge ordered an ephedra manufacturer to pay $12.5 million to consumers
- Steve Bechler, a pitcher for the Baltimore Oriels, died as a result of ephedra use, his wife sued for $600 million
- In 2004, a Texas jury awarded $7.4 million against an Ephedra seller after a women suffered severe brain damage following a stroke linked to the drug
- Metabolife International was ordered to pay $4 million to four people who had suffered strokes after taking ephedra-based Metabolife 356 (a product similar to speed).
At Sheff Law, we are the Massachusetts law firm with the resources, experience, and national reputation to investigate injuries resulting from use of Ephedra. Patients across Massachusetts and America have realized some of the potential harmful consequences of using Ephedra for weight loss purposes. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of Ephedra, contact an attorney at Sheff Law today by filling out a FREE consultation form, or call at (888) 423-4477 or 617-227-7000.
February 23rd, 2016 | Posted in Blog