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Ephedrine review by RAND: Weight Loss
Tuesday, September 23, 2003 8:30 pm Email this article
"Short-term use of ephedrine at high doses, or of ephedrine and caffeine, ephedra, and ephedra with herbs containing caffeine, promotes weight loss in selected patient populations," concluded researchers from the RAND Corporation in a meta-analysis of ephedrine studies.
“We can also conclude that caffeine adds additional efficacy to ephedrine in promoting weight loss, and the effects of ephedrine and caffeine and ephedra with or without herbs containing caffeine are approximately equivalent, each resulting in about [2 pounds] per month of weight loss above that lost with placebo, extending out to 4 months,” the paper continues.
Ephedrine alone causes an average weight loss of 11 percent of body weight after four months according to a review of the research by the RAND corporation.
Their analysis included five trials containing six comparisions of ephedrine alone versus placebo.
Ephedrine alone causes an average weight loss of 1.3 pounds more per month than placebo.
Only high doses of ephedrine caused significantly more weight loss than placebo.
Ephedrine and Caffeine
Ephedrine and caffeine causes an average of 11 percent weight loss after four months.
Higher doses of ephedrine and caffeine tended to causes greater weight loss than lower doses.
Both low dose and medium doses of ephedrine and caffeine caused 1.8 pounds more weight loss per month than placebo, whereas high dose ephedrine and caffeine caused 3.1 pounds more weight loss than placebo, however the difference was not statistically significant.
Ephedrine and caffeine caused a weight loss of 2.2 pounds per month more than placebo.
Their analysis included 12 trials of ephedrine and caffeine versus placebo lasting two to four months.
Ephedrine and Caffeine vs Ephedrine Alone
Ephedrine and caffeine causes an average weight loss of 0.9 pounds more weight loss per month more than ephedrine alone. This was according to data from three studies.
Ephedrine and Caffeine vs Dexfenfluramine (Redux)
Ephedrine and caffeine caused as much weight loss as the prescription drug dexfenfluramine (Redux). Dexfenfluramine was removed from the U.S. market in 1997 because it was associated with heart valve problems.
Ephedrine and Caffeine vs Diethylpropion (Tenuate)
Ephedrine and caffeine caused as much weight loss as the prescription drug Diethylpropion (Tenuate) in a three month study.
Herbs containing Ephedrine and Caffeine
Ephedra and herbs containing caffeine causes 2.2 pounds more weight loss per month than placebo.
Subjects given ephedra lost an average of 5.4 percent of body weight after four months.
Their analysis included three published studies and one unpublished studies.
Shekelle P, Hardy M, Morton S, Maglione M, Mojica W, Suttorp M, Rhodes S, Jungvig L, Gagne J. Efficacy and safety of ephedra and ephedrine for weight loss and athletic performance: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2003 Mar 26, 289(12):1537-45.
Paul G. Shekelle
Southern California Evidence-based Practice Center-RAND
Santa Monica, Calif 90407-2138
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