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Did the FDA Lift the Ephedra Ban and Make Ephedrine Legal?

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There is much confusion out there today in regards to the legal status of the weight loss supplement Ephedra. This dietary additive has been used for many decades to help increase the body’s natural metabolism and allow people to burn fat faster. Athletes have also used ephedra to improve their cardiovascular energy and boost the central nervous system. Patients with asthma have used the drug to help improve their breathing and to relieve nasal congestion. And students have used it to increase their ability to concentrate and focus when in class or studying for a big exam.

But despite of all of these popular uses, the ephedra was banned by the FDA in 2004 due it associated health risks that can occur with over use. However, Ephedrine HCL – the extract from ephedra that is the active ingredient behind all of these health benefits, is still legal for purchase in the United States and in many other countries around the world. This makes it one of the most popular and effective weight loss pills that can be bought without a prescription. In this article, we will take a look at the history of the FDA’s ephedra sinica ban as well as the legal status of ephedrine hydrochloride.

The FDA initially imposed a ban on ephedra and on the importation and sale of the ephedra sinica plant on February 6, 2004. The ban was put in place specifically on the sale of weight loss supplements that contained ephedra, citing concerns that they presented an “unreasonable risk of illness or injury”. This ban was put in place after a number of heavily publicized cases of severe adverse ephedra side effects that were reported in the media. In all of these cases, the individuals involved had been using large quantities of the drug above and beyond what is recommended and had been taking the metabolism booster for longer than the suggested duration.

Following this, on April 14th 2005 the FDA lifted the ephedra ban on the order of a ruling by Judge Tena Campbell of the Federal District Court in. The court had ruled that the FDA did not have sufficient evidence to ban ephedra produces with less than 10 mg of ephedrine HCL in them. This was because a number of research studies had determined that the ephedrine alkaloid was safe in doses of 10 mg or less. As a result, ephedra weight loss products with 10 mg or less of ephedrine hydrochloride were allowed back on store shelves. However, in 2006 the FDA again reversed this decision and banned all ephedra-based weight loss products, including those with 10 mg of ephedrine or less.


If you are looking to get the benefits of ephedra for weight loss, you can still buy pure ephedrine HCL in 10 mg or less tablets. Ephedrine can be found for sale legally as a bronchodilator according to the FDA. This means that ephedrine can be sold as a treatment for asthma and to relieve symptoms of breathing difficulty, hayfever, other allergies and congestion. These products contain the exact same ephedrine HCL as are used for weight loss, but they are considered legal by the FDA because they are not marketed as weight loss supplements.

The FDA ruled that Ephedrine HCL is perfectly safe in doses of 8 mg and that the side effects that can be associated with Ephedrine use occur when larger doses are consumed. Because certain dieters abused ephedrine by taking unhealthy doses of the drug, the FDA ruled that it was no longer safe to market for weight loss. However, Ephedrine is safe as a drug which is why it can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. The FDA’s ruling makes it clear that Ephedrine itself in proper doses is not unsafe. What is unsafe is the behavior associated with taking very large doses of the supplement to burn fat at an unhealthy speed.


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Different states have different regulations controlling the sale of ephedrine as an over the counter drug. However, because of FDA regulations that limit the amount of ephedrine that can be sold to any given individual in a month, you must provide your name, address, proof of ID, and your reason for buying the drug whenever you want to purchase ephedrine HCL. Stores that sell the product are then required to keep these records for at least two years. The same restrictions apply for all online stores based in the US.

For this reason, many individuals who could benefit from ephedrine usage to achieve their weight loss goals do not feel comfortable buying the product in American stores. That being said in Canada, Ephedrine HCL can be purchased over the counter without any restrictions as a nasal decongestant. The only rule is that it must be sold in no more than an 8 mg dose and the product label cannot promote ephedrine as a weight loss aide. Just like in the US, it must be marketed and sold as a bronchodilator. But there are no limits on the number of pills that can be purchased by a single individual and you do not need to provide personal information to the government in order to make your purchase. Because of this, many Americans will look for ephedrine for sale online from Canada where it can be shipped legally and cost-effectively to the US.


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