If you are considering taking ephedra, warnings and precautions of the diet pill should be fully understood. Ephedra can cause very dangerous health conditions (such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, or an irregular heart rhythm), which is why the FDA has banned the use of ephedra in the United States. Because of the many complications ephedra can cause, ephedra should not be considered safe in any circumstance or in any dose.
Is Ephedra Safe?Ephedra (ma huang) is an herbal supplement usually used for weight loss. However, it is not considered to be safe. In fact, the FDA has banned ephedra in the United States due to safety concerns. The FDA is allowed to ban an herbal supplement only if it can clearly prove that the supplement is unsafe.
Many people assume that all natural products are safe. This is simply not true. Many poisons and toxins are natural products. Ephedra is 100 times more likely than other herbal supplements to cause side effects, some of which can be very dangerous.
Specific Ephedra Warnings and PrecautionsSome warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of ephedra include the following:
- Ephedra can cause heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, or an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia). These dangerous side effects are possible even in people who do not have any heart problems and can occur even at a low ephedra dosage.
- Ephedra can cause problems such as anxiety or psychotic behavior, even in people without any history of mental illnesses.
- Ephedra can cause seizures, even in people without a history of seizures or epilepsy.
- Ephedra can interact with a number of medications (see Ephedra Drug Interactions for more information).
- Although ephedra is not safe for anyone, it may be especially dangerous for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (see Ephedra and Pregnancy and Ephedra and Breastfeeding).
- If you decide to use an ephedra supplement, it is important to understand that what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states. Usually, to avoid such problems it is recommended to make sure the maker of your herbal supplement is a trusted and reputable manufacturer. However, because ephedra has been banned, no manufacturer that makes ephedra should be considered trustworthy or reputable.