Ephedra and Ephedrine for Weight Loss and Athletic Performance Enhancement

Clinical Efficacy and Side Effects

Published in: Evidence Report/Technology Assessment: no. 76 (Prepared by the Southern California/RAND Evidence-based Practice Center under contract No. 290-97-0001). AHRQ Publication No. 03-E022. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Feb. 2003, 475 p

Posted on RAND.org on January 31, 2003

by Paul G. Shekelle, Sally C. Morton, Margaret Maglione, Mary L. Hardy, Walter Mojica, Marika Booth, Shannon Rhodes, Lara Hilton, James Gagne

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At the direction of the funding agencies (the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)), and in consultation with our Technical Expert Panel, the authors addressed research questions regarding the efficacy of herbal ephedra and ephedrine for weight loss and athletic performance through a comprehensive literature review and synthesis of evidence. They assessed the safety of these products through review of clinical trials. Meta-analysis was performed where appropriate. In addition, the authors reviewed herbal ephedra- and ephedrine-related adverse events reports on file with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), published case reports, and reports to a manufacturer of ephedra-containing products. It is expected that the results of this review will be used to direct further research.

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