Neurological Disorders

Many strokes attributed to ephedrine have actually been caused by the ingestion of ephedrine enantiomers, pseudoephedrine (82-85), phenylpropanolamine (86-93), and even methylephedrine (77). Two cases of ischemic stroke have been reported (94,95), but in neither case was their any toxicological testing to confirm the use of ephedrine. A decade-old report described the autopsy findings in three individuals with intracerebral hemorrhage and positive toxicology testing for ephedrine; however, one had hypertensive cerbrovasular disease and the other had a demonstrable ruptured aneurysm (96). Intracerebral hemorrhage has also been described in suicide and attempted suicide victims who took overdoses of pseudoephedrine (97,98). There is also a report describing a patient who developed described arteritis following the intravenous administration of ephedrine during a surgical procedure (99). On the other hand, a large study to assess risk factors for stroke in young people (age 20-49) over a 1-year period was carried out in Poland, a country where ephedra-based products are widely used. Nearly one-half the cases of stroke were associated with preexisting hypertension, another 15% had hyperlipi-demia, and 6% were diabetic (100). None of the individuals were ephedrine users.

Sometimes, especially in Japan and the Philippines, ephedrine is taken specifically as a psychostimulant. In Japan, BRON, the OTC cough medication containing methylephedrine, dihydrocodeine, caffeine, and chlorpheniramine, is very widely abused, and transient psychosis commonly results (76-78). Reports of ephedrine-related psychosis following prolonged, heavy use are fairly common (101-105). In general, psychosis is only seen in ephedrine users ingesting more than 1000 mg/day, and it resolves rapidly once the drug is withdrawn (106). Ephedrine psychosis closely resembles psychosis induced by amphetamines: paranoia with delusions of persecution and auditory and visual hallucinations, even though consciousness remains unclouded. Typically, patients with ephedrine psychosis will have ingested more than 1000 mg/day. Recovery is rapid after the drug is withdrawn (103). The ephedrine content per serving of most food supplements is on the order of 10-20 mg, making it extremely unlikely that, in recommended doses, use of any of the products would lead to neurological symptoms.

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Blood Pressure Health

Your heart pumps blood throughout your body using a network of tubing called arteries and capillaries which return the blood back to your heart via your veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart beats.Learn more...

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