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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.

Pills is also found in "energy" products that may give athletes extra energy without draining their reserves. People also indicate an increase in alertness and perception.

On the basis of this information the FDA banned products using Ephedra pills effective April 12, 2004 with the exception of traditional Chinese medicines and products already controlled by the FDA. These include herbal teas, controlled as food, and products containing synthetic ephedrine, controlled as drugs.

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