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Meridia vs ephedrine: A single dose of Meridia increases resting metabolism, ephedrine does not
Tuesday, September 21, 2004 3:07 pm Email this article
A single 10 mg dose of Meridia (sibutramine) increases resting metabolism, whereas a single dose of ephedrine sulphate does not according to a study from researchers at the University of North Carolina's School of Pharmacy. Doses of ephedrine sulphate used: 0.25, 0.5, or 1 mg per kg of bodyweight
The dose of ephedrine sulphate tested was either 0.25 mg per kg of bodyweight, 0.5 mg per kg of bodyweight, or 1 mg per kg of bodyweight. For a person who is 200 pounds, this would be a dose of approximately 23 mg, 45 mg, and 91 mg which contains roughly 20 mg of ephedrine, 40 mg and 80 mg.
Ephedrine increased heart rate, blood pressure, and blood sugar, but did not raise resting metabolism
“Ephedrine significantly increased heart rate, systolic blood pressure [the upper number] and glucose [blood sugar] but did not significantly affect other measurements,” the study noted.
Meridia (sibutramine) and ephedrine “elicit different metabolic and biochemical responses after a single dose,” the researchers concluded.
Comment: Ephedrine alone is not recommended for weight loss
Early ephedrine studies found that ephedrine alone may or may not cause weight loss. More recent studies have used ephedrine combined with caffeine or some other agent to enhance ephedrine’s effect, but none that I am aware of have used ephedine alone.
It is unfortunate that this study that this current study did not use ephedrine and caffeine; the results would have been more meaningful.
Comment: More is not better when it comes to ephedrine’s effect on metabolism
The current study used roughly 23 mg, 45 mg, and 91 mg of ephedrine sulphate which contain roughly 20 mg of ephedrine, 40 mg of ephedrine and 80 mg of ephedrine, the assumption being that more ephedrine should cause a greater increase in metabolism. However, an earlier study found that this was not the case. They found that higher doses of ephedrine alone were not more effective at raising metabolism than lower doses. They found that 10 mg of ephedrine burned more calories than either 20 mg or 40 mg. (Astrup, 1990)
I wonder if the researchers of the current study were aware of this?
Comment: Ephedrine raises heart rate at first, but not with continued use
Ephedrine and caffeine may (Astrup, 1990; Astrup, 1991), or may not (Astrup, 1992, International Journal of Obesity), initially increase heart rate. Tolerance to this effect tends to develop with continued use.
Comment: Ephedrine raises blood pressure 3-7 mmHg during the first few weeks, but not with continued use
There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about ephedrine’s effect on blood pressure. Critics claim that ephedrine is dangerous because it raises blood pressure, however, the research shows that the effect is modest, at best, and transient.
A number of studies have found that ephedrine and caffeine raise blood pressure by an average of 3-7 mmHg for the first few weeks of use, but it returns to pre-ephedrine levels with continued use, and decreases as people lose weight. (Astrup, 1990; Astrup, 1991)
Comment: Ephedrine raise raises blood sugar in the short-term, not long-term
Short-term use of ephedrine increases blood sugar in a dose-dependent manner, however, long-term use does not (Astrup, 1990), and actually decreases insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity (Astrup, 1992, Am J Clin Nutr)
Comment: Long-term use of ephedrine increases thermogenesis
Studies have found that long-term use of ephedrine increases its effect on thermogenesis. Therefore, testing a single dose will not tell what the effects are of long-term use.
Persky A, Ng C, Song M, Lancaster M, Balderson D, Paulik M, Brouwer K. Comparison of the acute pharmacodynamic responses after single doses of ephedrine or sibutramine in healthy, overweight volunteers. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Aug, 42(8):442-48.
AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION
Division of Drug Delivery and Disposition
School of Pharmacy
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7360, USA
Astrup A, Toubro S, Cannon S, Hein P, Madsen J. Thermogenic, metabolic, and cardiovascular effects of a sympathomimetic agent, ephedrine. a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Current Therapeutic Research Clinical and Experimental. 1990, 48(6):1087-100.
AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION
Prof. A. Astrup
Research Dept. Human Nutrition
Royal Veterinary/Agricul. Univ
1958 Frederiksberg, Denmark
Astrup A, Toubro S, Cannon S, Hein P, Madsen J. Thermogenic synergism between ephedrine and caffeine in healthy volunteers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental. 1991, 40(3):323-29.
Astrup A, Breum L, Toubro S, Hein P, Quaade F. The effect and safety of an ephedrine/caffeine compound compared to ephedrine, caffeine and placebo in obese subjects on an energy restricted diet. a double blind trial. International Journal of Obesity. 1992, 16(4):269-77.
Astrup A, Toubro S, Christensen N, Quaade F. Pharmacology of thermogenic drugs. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992, 55(1 Suppl):246S-8S.
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