Efedrine en Ephedra in afslankmiddelen en andere producten

C.S. van der Hooft en B.H.Ch. Stricker

Ephedrine and Ephedra in weight-loss products and other preparations.

- Ephedrine is a sympathicomimetic agent that stimulates the central nervous and cardiovascular systems and causes bronchodilatation. It is one of the alkaloids in the herb Ephedra which is the basis of several over-the-counter herbal products, among which a number of popular weight-loss products. The Dutch Inspectorate for Health Care has received reports of adverse reactions presumably associated with Ephedra-containing weight-loss products. These adverse reactions comprised mainly palpitations, stress, headache and insomnia. The Ministry of Health in Canada has recently requested a market recall of some ephedrine-containing herbal products in response to a large number of adverse reactions reported in association with these products. The adverse reactions included stroke, heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, seizures and psychotic disorders. The voluntary recall concerns especially products that were marketed without approval and contain Ephedra in combination with caffeine or other stimulants. In the Netherlands, the status of Ephedra-containing products is currently reconsidered.