Ephedrine - Uses - Dosages - Side Effects - Precautions

Ephedrine: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

What is Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat hypotension during spinal anaesthesia. It also treats breathing problems like bronchial asthma, nasal congestion and allergic reactions. Ephedrine is an Alpha/Beta-adrenergic agonist where α-1 receptors cause constriction of veins and raise blood pressure, and stimulation of β-1 adrenergic receptors increase cardiac action while the β-2 adrenergic receptors cause bronchodilation. Ephedrine can be taken by oral route and injection into muscle, vein or under the skin.

What are the Uses of Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is a direct and indirect sympathomimetic amine, a prescription drug that acts on the central nervous system. The dose and mode of administration depend entirely upon the doctor’s instruction and the patient’s condition. Uses of Ephedrine are as follows:

  • Central nervous system stimulant
  • Used to prevent (low blood pressure) during spinal anaesthesia
  • Treat allergic reactions like bronchospasm and bronchial asthma
  • Narcolepsy
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Treat congenital myasthenic syndrome
  • Heart rhythm problems like Stoke-Adams syndrome
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What are the Side Effects of Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is a prescription drug, and it should strictly be taken as instructed by the doctor. Side effects depend on dose and patient’s condition. Some common side effects of Ephedrine are as follows:

  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Dizziness
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Hallucination
  • Trouble sleeping

Severe side effects include stroke, heart attack, chest pain and irregular heartbeats.

Learn more about medicines you take or need to take from our expert medical consultants at Yashoda Hospitals. Our services are available 24*7 for any emergencies, specialist advice, and medical opinions.

S.no Product Name Dosage Form
1. Cadiphylate ephedrine hydrochloride 12mg+guaiphenesin 50mg+theophylline ethanoate of piperazine 80mg Elixir
2. Ephedrex Chlorpheniramine 5mg+dextromethorphan 2mg+phenylephrine 10mg Syrup
3. Efipres Ephedrine 30mg Injection
4. Marax Ephedrine 25mg+hydroxyzine 10mg+theophylline 130mg Capsule


Frequently Asked Questions about Ephedrine

1. What products contain Ephedrine?

Ephedrine can be collected and formulated in synthetic, biosynthetic and agricultural ways. Ephedrine is obtained from the plant Ephedra sinica. To meet the large demands, Ephedrine is obtained from synthetic and biosynthetic processes. Chinese botanical Ephedra or ma-huang is sold as a dietary supplement and contains natural alkaloids Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine.

2. When to take Ephedrine?

Ephedrine treats shortness of breath temporarily, wheezing due to bronchial asthma and prevents low blood pressure during anaesthesia. Further, it has proven effects in weight loss, decrease motion sickness and sedating effects. It is a prescription drug and should be taken after consulting medical professionals to prevent conditions like a drug overdose.

3. How to test Ephedrine purity?

There are various tests for detection and quality control of Ephedrine. The purity of Ephedrine can be obtained by liquid chromatography and optical rotation. Various analytical reagents are used to test the purity of Ephedrine. Commercial immunoassay screening tests can detect Ephedrine in humans. Ephedrine concentrations in blood or plasma can be easily identified and compared to standard doses.

4. What contains Ephedrine?

Ephedrine products come in different forms- Ephedrine systemic, Ephedrine nasal and with different combinations. It is a phenethylamine skeleton found in various plants in the genus Ephedra, and Ephedrine is the active ingredient in the composition. It acts on the central nervous system and prevents low blood pressure in the anaesthetic state of the patient.

5. What plant contains Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is obtained from the plant Ephedra sinica and is also an active alkaloid of Ephedra vulgaris, used in China as ma-huang. It is mainly extracted and marketed as a stimulant and weight loss supplement. Some common names are joint pine, jointfir, Mormon tea, sea grape, yellow horse.

6. How long does Ephedrine stay in urine?

Ephedrine can be detected in a urine test for 3 to 6 days since the last dose. However, Ephedrine detection in urine depends on various factors like -

  • Type of drug
  • Route of administration
  • Patient’s age, weight
  • Medical condition
  • Dose
  • Hydration
  • Drug tolerance
  • Metabolic factor
  • Drug interactions

7. How to extract Ephedrine from the chicken feed?

Chicken feed does not contain Ephedrine. It is a myth that people boil and extract or dry them, and this is tested and proven as so. Chemical investigations and other tests have proven the fact that chicken feed does not contain the drug Ephedrine. It is extracted from plants for dietary supplement purposes and obtained synthetically for medicinal purposes.

8. How does Ephedrine affect the body?

Ephedrine is an alpha/beta receptor agonist and safe for men and women. However, its effect on children is still unknown, and breastfeeding mothers are advised to consult medical experts before taking Ephedrine. It affects the body in the following ways:

  • Increased cardiac output
  • Increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Contractility
  • Peripheral resistance
  • Constrict blood vessels
  • Bronchodilation
  • Stimulate thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue

9. What sports use Ephedrine the most?

Ephedrine is a sympathomimetic and central nervous system stimulant used to improve endurance, increase alertness, strength and reduce fatigue. It is marketed as an energy supplement or energy enhancer, and most people are unaware of it. Ephedrine is used in sports like aerobics, weightlifting, football, track and field.

10. Is it illegal to have Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is largely used for medicinal purposes as a stimulant to prevent low blood pressure and severe allergic reactions. However, the FDA has banned Ephedrine in the USA to be used as a dietary supplement. It is illegal to use it as an energy enhancer, but Ephedrine can be used legally as a medicine due to its sympathomimetic properties.

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Disclaimer: The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts.