A corporation study of products containing Ephedra pills released on January 9, 2002 was inconclusive. It found that the benefits of Ephedra pills—weight loss and athletic performance enhancement—were short-term, but could not reach a conclusion on the dangers of Ephedra pills.
Until more recent years, information on Ephedra pills was not fully understood by consumers. In 1994, a law was passed that allowed dietary supplements to be exempted from federal regulation so despite the controversial nature of Ephedra pills, the FDA failed to ban or enforce stricter regulations because the agency felt more information on Ephedra pills adverse effects needed to be established.
While the rule on the Ephedra pills warning was pending a new study revealed more evidence of Ephedra pills side effects, and the FDA decided to ban the sale of Ephedra pills except in traditional Chinese medicine and products already under FDA control. The ban took effect April 12, 2004.
After reports of many Ephedra pills side effects, such as death, heart attacks, and strokes, the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizens Health Research Group called for a ban of Ephedra pills in 2001, and the American Medical Association asked for a ban in October 2002.
It has also been used in the treatment of headaches, fevers, colds and hay fever. Today, compounds derived from this herb are commonly found in many over-the-counter cold and allergy medications.
Because of its stimulating effect on the nervous system, Ephedra pills can be found in some popular weight loss and energy products. For dieters it suppresses the appetite and stimulates the thyroid gland which stimulates metabolism.
The FDA’s ban has been challenged in various federal courts, and a Federal District Judge in the C
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