Ephedra Lawsuit Overview

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Ephedra lawsuit


Ephedra (also known as "Ma Huang") is a botanical (i.e., plant) product that is a source of ephedrine alkaloids. Ephedra is an amphetamine-like compound with potentially powerful stimulant effects on the nervous system and heart. Some dietary supplements in the US (promoted for uses such as weight loss, body building, and increased energy) contain ephedrine alkaloids.

Recent updates on Ephedra Lawsuit

On June 14, 2002, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson announced new efforts to expand scientific research on the safety of ephedrine alkaloids and to aggressively pursue the illegal marketing of non-herbal synthetic ephedrine alkaloid products.

HHS recently funded the RAND Corporation to conduct a comprehensive review of the existing science on ephedrine alkaloids, particularly those in dietary supplements. The review is projected to be finished by early fall and, once complete, will clarify the existing state of the science on ephedrine alkaloids. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will use this information to guide an expanded research effort to better understand the safety of ephedrine alkaloids.

Ephedra Lawsuit Claims

Ephedra can produce the following adverse reactions: heart attack, stroke, tachycardia, paranoid psychosis, depression, convulsions, coma, fever, vomiting, palpitations, hypertension, seizures, respiratory depression and death. The research adds to the long-standing controversy about the dietary supplement, which is also marketed as an energy booster and treatment for respiratory illness.

Ephedra & USFDA

At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's request, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, reviewed 140 reports of serious problems with ephedra-containing products.

Ephedra Problems Found

  • 43 cases were definitely or probably related to the supplements
  • 44 cases were possibly related to the supplements
  • 10 deaths
  • 13 people who were left with permanent disabilities
  • To date, the FDA has reported over 44 deaths and over 1000 serious side effects linked to Ephedrine.

Ephedra Lawsuit

"The use of dietary supplements does pose a health risk to some people," says Neal Benowitz, MD, professor of medicine and chief of clinical pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco. "Just because it's natural, doesn't mean it's safe." Benowitz and postdoctoral researcher Christine Haller, MD, reviewed the 140 reports of deaths or injuries the FDA received related to ephedra. Researchers concluded that ephedrine use "definitely" or "probably" caused harm in 31% of the cases. Of these cases, three people died, seven suffered permanent injury and four required ongoing medical treatment.



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