Like the neurotransmitter phenylethylamine, ephedrine has a similar chemical structure to amphetamines and can be regarded as their natural precursor.
Taking ephedrine produces some of the typical effects of amphetamines, such as:
- Feelings of physical and mental well-being
- increased energy and alertness;
- insensitivity to hunger and fatigue;
- improved performance in manual and intellectual activities.
The use of ephedrine as a slimming, doping or psychotropic drug is currently discouraged and prohibited, but many products are available that contain large amounts of it.
Ephedrine is used as a slimming drug
Ephedrine is found in many slimming products.
One of the most interesting properties of this substance, which is similar to caffeine but more potent, is its ability to speed up metabolism by stimulating the secretion of catecholamines.
This effect, combined with its appetite-suppressing power, is unquantifiable and varies from person to person.
However, using ephedrine products to lose weight can be inappropriate and potentially dangerous.
Ephedrine used as a drug
Ephedrine in medicine is useful wherever blood pressure needs to be increased.
It is used intravenously to reverse arterial hypotension (lowering pressure) due to spinal/epidural anaesthesia.
It is also used in other hypotensive conditions, such as those caused by overdosing on ganglion blockers, antiadrenergics, or other antihypertensive drugs.
Ephedrine in traditional medicine
It has been and is used today as a nasal decongestant and as a bronchodilator in the treatment of asthma, but its popularity is rapidly declining due to the availability of more selective agents for these indications.
In fact, the role in nasal congestion has largely been replaced by more potent adrenergic agonists (e.g., oxymetazoline), while the role in asthma has been almost completely replaced by beta-adrenergic receptor agonists like salbutamol, which are popular among asthmatics.
Ephedrine in sports
In sports, this drug is banned because it is considered a doping agent due to its stimulating effect.
Side effects of ephedrine
Abuse has very dangerous side effects similar to those of amphetamine abuse: agitation, agitation, anxiety, psychosis, cardiac arrhythmias, and cardiovascular disorders.
The most serious side effects that have been linked to ephedrine are increased blood pressure, which can cause a stroke or heart attack.
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