In early 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration banned ephedra diet pills and health supplement, following the deaths of 155 people using the
Millions of Americans have been using ephedra-based supplements to boost their energy and lose weight for a number of years, but a recent study has shown that it is linked to heart attack, stroke and sudden death. It also increases the risk of heart palpitations, tremors, insomnia and restricting blood vessels in users.
More than 16,000 people have reported adverse reactions from taking products containing ephedra, leading to its ban.
Ephedra, which is derived from the herb Ma Huang, was believed to suppress consumers’ appetites and burn fat, all while raising their blood pressure and heart rate. The ephedra ban is the first ban on dietary supplements ever made by the United States government, while certain states had already pass their own bans on the substance. The FDA had been studying the claims and collecting evidence of the substance’s adverse reactions since 1994, before making the complete ban in April 2004. They had been unable to act against the claims until recently, as the products used to be exempt from regulation as ephedra used to be classified as a food.Serious ephedra diet pill side effects
From their studies, they found ephedra products to cause the following mild to severe side effects in users: tremor, dizziness, raised blood pressure and heart rate, nervousness, headache, hepatitis, seizures, gastrointestinal problems, chest pain, heart problems, stroke, psychosis, and ultimately death.
Several sporting and military organizations banned the use of ephedra products from their organizations, including the National Football League, National Collegiate Athletic Association and International Olympic Committee. Also the US Navy banned the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra from some of their base stores, and have advised their personnel against using any such supplements.
The ban has lead to a number of lawsuits being filed in US courts– both from users who have suffered as a result to adverse reactions from the products; and also from manufacturers of ephedra-based products who are attempting to sue the government in the wake of the ban.
Since the ban, weight-loss supplement manufacturers have all scrambled to produce alternative products that do not contain ephedra. The result has been a market that has been flooded by these new alternatives, with some of the most popular products containing a high caffeine mix of ingredients to replace the banned substance.