Ephedrine Sulfate is an ingredient sometimes used in asthma medications, allergy treatments and nasal decongestants.
The bronchodilator medication Bronkaid caplets contain 25mg of Ephedrine Sulfate together with 400 mg of guaifenesin, an expectorant.
This product is marketed for the temporary relief of mild intermitted asthma symptoms to restore free breathing and loosen phlegm. It is advertised to relieve symptoms including bronchial congestion, wheezing, tightness of chest and shortness of breath.
While intended to be used for breathing conditions, this drug is also commonly taken off-label to promote fat loss and boost athletic performance. Ephedrine is a stimulant that increase metabolic activity and can promote greater exercise output and stamina.
Use of ephedrine sulfate at low dosages is believed to be safe for healthy adults. However, taking too much of this drug can be dangerous. Its use is also contraindicated in people with cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.
What is Ephedrine Sulfate
Ephedrine Sulfate is a legal, over-the-counter synthetic form of the primary active alkaloid from the ephedra plant.
Ephedra Sinica plant extracts have long been used in traditional medicine to relieve lung problems and improve breathing disorders.
This herb contains a number of active alkaloids that help to reduce symptoms of asthma attacks. In particular, the ephedrine and pseudoephedrine alkaloids have been identified for their ability to relieve constriction of the airways.
Ephedrine Sulfate is sometimes used in bronchodilator products to help open the airways and relieve bronchospasms. It is commonly combined with guaifenesin, which acts as an expectorant.
According to the makers of the Bronkaid medication, “It is a decongestant, which produces a narrowing of blood vessels allowing the person to breathe easier. Bronchodilators, such as ephedrine sulfate, act on specific receptors and cause the relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle, resulting in freer breathing and relief of chest tightness and wheezing.”
Ephedra is also considered to be one of the most effective fat burners and energy pills. However, this ingredient is now banned from dietary supplements due to risk of side effects.
While illegal in weight loss supplements, ephedrine sulfate can still be sold as a drug for the treatment of asthma and breathing conditions. Bodybuilders and athletes will often purchase this product and use it off-label to boost fat loss.
It is purported to work as a thermogenic agent, causing your body to burn more calories for energy, creating excess heat as a byproduct.
Mechanism of Action and Medicinal Use
As a pharmaceutical drug, this compound is provided in the form of an oral tablet, nasal drops and an injectable solution.
Ephedrine sulfate injections are primarily used in clinical settings, for reversing hypotension or low blood pressure during a surgical procedure or as an emergency treatment.
This solution contains approximately 50 mg per milliliter of ephedrine sulfate in water. The solution is intended for either subcutaneous, intravenous, or intramuscular injection.
This drug is a central nervous system stimulant that works by activating alpha and beta-adrenergic receptors in the body and brain.
These adrenergic receptors are the same nerve receptors that respond to the natural hormone adrenaline. When they are activated, they trigger a sympathetic response in the body.
Activating adrenergic receptors can stimulate changes in the blood vessels, the heart muscle and the lungs.
Ephedrine act like a catecholamine or a sympathomimetic amine, which means that it mimics a stimulatory effect on the sympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system is part of the central nervous system responsible for several operations over which we have do not exert control. It controls heart rate, breathing, circulatory function, certain brain functions as well as digestion and metabolism.
One of the effects of ephedrine sulfate is to activate alpha receptors found in the arteries. When these receptors are triggered, these arteries constrict or narrow.
This function increases blood pressure because as these blood vessels become narrower, more force is required for blood to flow through them.
Another class of receptors influenced by ephedrine are the beta-one receptors found in the heart muscle. These receptors regulate the speed at which the heart beats. When activated, they increase heart rate and the force with which blood is pumped through the body.
This can have short-term benefits for oxygenation, energy metabolism, muscle function, wakefulness and more. However, sustained increases in blood pressure can put excess strain on the heart and lead to side effects.
Ephedrine also has an influence on beta-2 receptors found within the airways, such as the bronchioles and bronchi found inside the lungs.
The compound also has an effect on mucosal linings of the sinuses and nasal passages. It causes these passages to widen or dilate, increasing flow of oxygen.
This dilation also relieves the difficulty in breathing triggered by asthma attacks, sinus infections, and some lung conditions such as bronchitis.
Following oral ingestion of ephedrine sulfate pills, blood concentrations tend to peak within 2.5 to 3 hours.
When used in bronchodilator products, onset of effects occurs within 15 minutes to an hour. The effects can last between 2 to 4 hours. The cardiovascular effects can persist for up to four hours, even when used at low doses ranging between 15 mg and 50 mg.
Difference Between Ephedrine Sulfate and Ephedrine HCl
Is there a difference between ephedrine sulfate and ephedrine hydrochloride (HCL) when it comes to weight loss or energy enhancement?
Ephedrine HCL is a hydrochloride salt form of this drug. It is another synthetic preparation of this alkaloid that is more common in over-the-counter drugs.
The chemical formula of ephedrine sulfate is C20H32N2O6S while the formula for the HCL form is C10H16CINO
Both have similar effects on the body and work in similar ways. They may have some small differences in terms of pharmacokinetics and potency, but the majority of the effects will be identical.
Where Can I Buy Ephedrine Sulfate?
Ephedrine sulfate can be found in a number of prescription as well as over-the-counter medications. Prospective users should note that different laws and regulations apply to the sale of such products depending on where you live.
In the United States, sales of this ingredient are restricted, and individuals are required to purchase such products from behind the pharmacy counter. To prevent theft, products containing this ingredient will often be kept behind locked glass cases.
These restrictions are intended to prevent the use of ephedrine (and pseudoephedrine) as precursors in the manufacturing of methamphetamine.
There are also state-by-state limitations on the milligram strength of ephedrine sulfate allow in medications as well as the forms of this drug that can be sold. Some of the products sold in the USA that contain this ingredient include:
- Bronkaid (25 mg ephedrine sulfate and 400 mg guaifenesin)
- Primatene tablets (12.5 mg ephedrine HCl with 200 mg guaifenesin)
- EPHED PLUS (12.5 mg ephedrine HCl and 200 mg guaifenesin)
Around the world, brands and availability also differs. Some multi-ingredient medications that contain ephedrine include:
Some online vendors sell ephedrine sulfate pills and claim to be able to ship to US address. Note that online sales are highly restricted. Many of these suppliers are not based in the United States and may not be able to ship to where you live.
Before buying products made with this ingredient, research both federal and state laws that apply. Legal status of these products varies considerably depending on which state you reside in.
In all cases, you will need to show government-issued photo ID to buy these products. Purchases of any ephedrine or pseudoephedrine-containing product are tracked in a central database and you may need to sign a sales register verifying your identify and address. Reports on purchaser information may be sent to regulatory agencies, including law enforcement upon request.
There are restrictions on the amount you can buy in a single day as well as monthly purchase limits. Buying more than this amount, even for personal use, can result in legal consequences.
There are different regulations for people who live in Canada, the UK, Mexico, Australia or New Zealand. Refer to local authorities when looking for guidelines on the distribution, purchase, import or export of ephedrine sulfate.
Because of the designation of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as primary precursors in the manufacture of the controlled drug methamphetamine, border control agents and postal services have increased inspections and confiscations of products.
When used as an oral bronchodilator, ephedrine sulfate is typically taken at a dosage of between 12.5 to 25 mg every four hours.
The recommended dosage for Bronkaid is one caplet every four hours, not to exceed 6 caplets in 24 hours. Each caplet contains 25 mg of ephedrine sulfate with 400 mg of guaifenesin.
Use this drug with caution as it can contribute to a number of side effects and adverse reactions. Tolerance levels differ among individuals. While some may be able to tolerate the stimulant effects without experiencing side effects, others may be more sensitive to the drug.
There are no standardized dosage guidelines for taking ephedrine for non-medical purposes such as weight loss or energy enhancement. It has been used in clinical studies at a dose of between 12.5 to 100 mg per day.
It is recommended to take this drug at low dosages to start and only gradually increase to the full dose.
As a weight loss aid, ephedra is often stacked with other stimulants including caffeine or yohimbine. Using this drug in an ECA stack may improve potential weight loss results, but it may also increase the risk of harmful effects.
A number of popular thermogenic fat burners combine ephedra extract with excessively high levels of caffeine as well as other stimulants.
Be aware that combining ephedrine with high levels of caffeine can trigger very serious side effects. The Mayo Clinic recommends that individuals not exceed 400 mg caffeine a day.
Side Effects and Safety Warnings
According to the official Bronkaid website, “Ephedrine sulfate is one of the active ingredients in Bronkaid® and is generally recognized as safe and effective by the FDA.”
While this ingredient may be safe when used appropriately according to instructions provided by a doctor, it poses a risk of significant side effects if used off-label or misused as a fat burner.
Ephedrine sulfate is not approved for use as a weight loss drug or obesity treatment. It may be unsafe when taken as a diet pill or used to promote physical performance and workout intensity.
There are a number of precautions that need to be following to minimize the risk of side effects. Ask your physician or pharmacist about the potential dangers of this product and responsible use.
Risk of adverse cardiovascular events is increased when taking any stimulant depending on dosage, frequency of use, age, body weight, and overall health status. Users should note that even young, healthy individuals can experience negative events.
Severe side effects associated with overuse of ephedrine sulfate can include:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Stroke (including intracranial hemorrhage)
- Accelerated heart rate (tachycardia)
- Heart palpitations
- May contribute to chronic heart failure
Even when taken under supervision of your physician, ephedrine may not be safe for everyone. This drug acts as a vasopressor, causing blood vessels to constrict and increasing blood pressure. Hypertension contributes to strain on the heart muscle and can interfere with its functions.
Women who are pregnant, planning to get pregnant, or who are breast-feeding should not use this drug as the ramifications of use on the developing fetus or a growing infant have not been determined.
Individuals diagnosed with any medical condition involving the cardiovascular system should consult with their physician regarding use. Avoid use if you are taking an antidepressant or anti-anxiety drugs, especially Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI).
A number of drugs can interact with the mechanism of ephedrine sulfate. If you are using any medications (especially those affecting blood pressure), consult with your doctor before taking this medication.
Not everyone will experience side effects when using ephedrine sulfate or combining it with caffeine. Some of the frequently reported adverse effects of this stimulant include
- Headaches or migraines
- Nausea, sometimes accompanied by vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Euphoric sensations
- Excessive sweating
- Increased thirst
- Jitters or shaky hands
- An energy crash after effects wear off
Heart palpitations can be one of the most concerning side effects. These are typically temporary and disappear after discontinuation of use. However, long-term sensations of heart palpitations, a racing heart, or irregular heartbeat should be carefully monitored by a physician.
Other side effects are also possible. An individual may experience none of these adverse reactions or several at one time.
Working out or engaging in physical activity can worsen some side effects. It is recommended to avoid excessive physical exertion, especially in hot weather as this can contribute to heat stroke.
Some athletes have complained that the stimulant effects of this drug make it hard to complete a workout. Users have had to stop exercising due to a sensation of chest tightness, dizziness, muscle weakness, racing heart, or excessive sweating caused by heat production.
Before turning to products like ephedrine sulfate for weight loss results, it is important to thoroughly research potential effects and side effects. If you decide to use this drug, proceed with caution and start at the lowest dosage possible to gauge reaction.
Ephedrine sulfate is not approved for use as a performance-enhancing drug or fat burner. Be aware of the risk for life-threatening adverse reactions and use responsibly.