- Ephedra causes short-term weight loss, but since the drug also increases blood pressure, the weight loss does not improve health, according to the FDA. It also works as an effective bronchodilator, which can treat asthma attacks. However, doctors usually recommend other treatments that have fewer safety concerns, according to the Mayo Clinic. Studies have not been performed on the effects of ephedra on athletic performance.
- According to a Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center-RAND study, ephedra use in clinical trials is associated with nausea, vomiting, mood changes, anxiety, palpitations and autonomic hyperactivity. Ephedra also reportedly caused seizures, stroke, myocardial infection and death in other users.
- Synthetic compounds derived from ephedra, such as ephedrine, are still available in over-the-counter decongestants and cold remedies, such as pseudoephedrine.