Ephedrine HCL Half-Life, Kick-In Time & Duration of Effects
How long does it take for Ephedrine HCL to work and what is the half-life of its effects?
Ephedrine is a stimulant drug that is used to enhance energy, workout performance, weight loss and motivation.
It has a rapid onset of effects and produces noticeable changes in alertness, concentration, appetite suppression and physical stamina very quickly. In research studies, it has been shown to boost fat loss results over a short period of time.
While this amphetamine-like drug can boost your metabolism and help you lose weight, it also carries a high risk of side effects and has been banned by many sporting associations around the world.
Athletes often want to know what the half-life of ephedrine diet pills is and how long it remains detectable in their system. This article will discuss the pharmacokinetics of this stimulant and how long it takes to promote weight loss results. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
As a sympathomimetic amine, Ephedrine increases activity within the sympathetic nervous system.
It imitates some of the effects of the endogenous hormone adrenaline. This drug also increases the release of noradrenaline (norepinephrine) from its storage vesicles.
Often referred to as an alpha and beta-adrenergic agonist, Ephedrine is most commonly used by bodybuilders and athletes who are looking to enhance their athletic abilities cut body fat.
This plant-derived alkaloid is also used as an ingredient in nasal decongestants for the treatment of breathing disorders and sinus congestion. Its other common usage is to stop blood pressure from dropping too low in patients undergoing a spinal procedure requiring anesthesia.
The primary pharmacological effects include relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle, increased blood pressure, peripheral vasoconstriction, increased cardiac output and stimulation of the central nervous system.
This drug is administered orally and via intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. When administered orally, it has high absorption from the gut. When taken alone on an empty stomach, it is more rapidly absorbed compared to when taken in conjunction with caffeine.
After intramuscular administration, it has an onset of effects within 10 – 20 minutes. The duration of the pressor and cardiac effects is 1 hour following intravenous administration.
Another source states that, “the onset of bronchodilator effects with oral ephedrine occurs within 15-60 minutes, with a duration of 2-4 hours.”
This drug has a plasma half-life of 3-6 hours. It is metabolized by the liver in small amounts but is mostly excreted in an unchanged state through the urine.
Users will typically repeat dosages of this compound 2-3 times per day to maintain stable concentrations in the body. However, taking this substance late at night can interfere with sleep patterns.
According to one source, 88% of the ephedrine alkaloid is excreted within 24 hours through the urine. 97% is excreted within 48 hours. The short detection time in the body is one of the reasons why this drug became so popular with athletes.
It is believed to be excreted into breastmilk and can cross the placenta, so it should not be used by pregnant or nursing women.
A History of Ephedrine
Ephedrine is a natural alkaloid derived from the Ephedra Sinica (Ma Huang) plant. It is the most abundant alkaloid in this plant, but other alkaloids like pseudoephedrine also have a medicinal effect.
The ephedra plant has been used to treat various ailments stemming back to Ancient China, where, around 200 AD, it was first used to combat asthma and provide stimulation.
During the 19th century, the effects of Ephedrine were studied in Japan after it was found to be one of four active components found in Ephedra extract and was isolated.
This natural alkaloid was manufactured under the brand name “Ephetonin” by Merck in the 1920’s and distributed for a number of years. During World War II, it was administered to American, Japanese, and German troops since it was shown to suppress appetite and elevate both aggressiveness and cognitive alertness.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the drug was commonly taken as a weight loss aid and to boost athletic stamina and speed. According to one professional football player, 80% of athletes in the NFL were using this diet pill at one point in time.
Up until 2005, Ephedrine was legally sold as a dietary supplement in the United States. However, after the federal court upheld the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ban on the sales of supplements containing Ephedrine, the substance was banned for use in fat burners and weight loss products.
This compound is still legal to buy as an ingredient in over-the-counter nasal decongestants and asthma medications. It can also be purchased in the U.S. as the Chinese ma huang tea or herb.
How Does Ephedrine Work?
Ephedrine can work its way through the body in just a few short hours, which is why it is popular among athletes.
When taken for asthma-related issues, it can reduce constriction in the blood vessels found in the nose as well as decrease inflammation. This allows their airways to open up and breathing to become better regulated.
Ephedrine Hydrochloride (or sulfate) is commonly included in asthma medications or allergy remedies alongside guaifenesin. This is an expectorant that helps to loosen mucus and make coughing more productive.
In addition to its approved medical indications, ephedrine is also taken off-label to promote weight loss. Research shows that it can improve fat oxidation and promote a reduction in total body weight.
Ephedrine elevates the body’s heat expenditure, which thereby increases the amount of fat that is available to burn as fuel while exercising or training. This leads to a loss of fat and, as some studies claim, a 5% boost in the body’s metabolic rate.
Since it generates more heat usage, both fat and muscle cells are impacted, and Ephedrine does have a minor ability to stop the breakdown of muscle tissue.
Typically, a bodybuilder or athlete would use this ingredient in an Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Aspirin (ECA) stack since all three substances work synergistically.
This mixture has been found to potentially lead to increases in insulin, glucosamine, and blood pressure, but these levels tend to normalize once the individual stops using these ingredients.
Caffeine and aspirin are believed to increase the duration of effects for ephedrine as well by inhibiting a negative feedback loop that blocks its benefits.
Ephedrine also interacts with dopamine levels in the brain, creating heightened alertness. Taking this drug along with a Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor (MAOI) could potentially cause negative side-effects.
How Long Does it Take to Work?
How long does ephedrine take to work in the body? The potential weight loss benefits do not take long to kick in since it is so quickly absorbed within the body.
In fact, research suggests that Ephedrine only needs about 10 to 20 minutes to kick into action. One study found that, 90 minutes after taking a 20mg dosage, the participants’ blood pressure levels rose significantly.
A normal dose as part of an ECA stack is somewhere between 20 and 24 mg, taken three times per day. Since the Ephedrine kick-in time is relatively quick and its duration short-lived, bodybuilders tend to opt for taking it 2-3 times per day.
One research study found that use of this drug alongside ephedrine can actually result in a slower onset of effects by a factor of two. Blood levels of ephedrine were 22.8ng/mL when it was taken in isolation compared to 12.6ng/mL when consumed with caffeine.
This suggests that individuals who want to experience a more gradual onset of effects are better off using it with caffeine. The pharmacokinetic profile of the EC stack was otherwise comparable to use of this compound on its own.
Ephedrine’s effects are known to last anywhere between 3-6 hours based on data from injectable forms of this drug. When an individual receives Ephedrine intravenously at 10-25 mg or subcutaneously at 25-50 mg, the effects it has on the cardiac and pressor responses is typically about an hour.
A number of factors can affect the half-life of this drug in the body. For example, the half-life can be decreased when the pH level of the body’s urine is also decreased. According to some sources, its half-life is extended in an alkaline environment.
One study found that the biological half-life can vary anywhere between 2-21 hours depending on urine acidity. This animal study used ephedrine infused alongside beta-agonists, which can affect the pharmacokinetics of this drug.
Detection Time In the Body
Almost all of the Ephedrine that gets consumed in the body gets excreted via urination, although trace amounts of it get metabolized in the liver.
Depending on the acidity of an individual’s urine, the alkaloid could remain active within the body anywhere from 2 to 21 hours, as some studies have found.
If a person has renal issues, this could mean that their body will need a longer period of time to flush Ephedrine from its system and that detection time will be prolonged.
It appears that, due to the way Ephedrine is metabolized in the liver, it could take a day or two for this compound to completely clear itself from the system.
According to some sources, consuming Vitamin C with ephedrine can increase excretion of this compound because Vitamin C is acidic by nature.
Vitamin C acidifies urine in the kidneys and helps to expel this compound more quickly. This can render Ephedrine ineffective if Vitamin C is taken with or directly after it is ingested.
Athletes and bodybuilders who are considering the use of this fat burner need to keep in mind that Ephedrine-containing dietary supplements are illegal within the United States, as well as in several other countries.
The FDA maintains the ban due to the scientific findings showing that Ephedra extracts can put too much stress on the cardiovascular system.
Poisonings from overdosages of Ephedrine have reportedly significantly decreased since the ban was implemented. However, Ephedrine can still be legally acquired and consumed in different forms.
If you are a competitive athlete and are concerned about drug testing for this compound, you are cautioned to avoid using it. Even if you think you are taking it with sufficient time to avoid being detected on a drug test, it is possible that it could remain in your system for a longer period of time than normal.
A number of jobs can also conduct random drug tests for ephedrine and related compounds. Be aware that while ephedrine HCL is legal to buy in the USA without a prescription, certain jobs and professional organizations may restrict employees from using this substance due to its close chemical relationship with the amphetamine molecule.