Primatene Ephedrine HCL Tablets for Weight Loss [Review]

Primatene EphedrinePrimatene ephedrine HCL tablets are used to provide temporary relief from mild symptoms of intermittent asthma.

This product contains 12.5 mg of Ephedrine HCL per pill and 200 mg of Guaifenesin. This ingredient combination function as a bronchodilator and expectorant, helping to open up airways and improve breathing.

Primatene is often used off-label by bodybuilders and dieters who want to cut weight. This product provides a legal, over-the-counter source of ephedrine – a now-banned ingredient in diet pills.

There are some reports online that suggest that Primatene was discontinued and removed from US market. While the as Primatene Mist inhaler product was discontinued, the oral tablets are still available in most states in the USA without a prescription. Click here to buy ephedra supplements online legally without a prescription.

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Primatene Ephedrine Tablets

Primatene ephedrine pills and mist inhaler are intended improve symptoms of wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness of chest and to loosing phlegm and alleviate nasal congestion.

The two active ingredients found in Primatene tablets include 12.5 mg of ephedrine HCL and 200 mg guaifenesin.

Ephedrine is a bronchodilator for the relief of chest tightness and dyspnea. Guaifenesin is intended for use as an expectorant for thinning bronchial secretions and loosening phlegm.

This product is used to clear bronchial passageways of mucus, make coughing more productive and to make it easier to breath for individuals with asthma, bronchitis and chest congestion.

Primatene Ephedrine HCL is also used to promote weight loss and increased energy levels, although this use is off-label. The primary active ingredient ephedrine is a Central Nervous System stimulant that can boost metabolism and promote greater alertness and stamina.

Bodybuilders, athletes and dieters have been using different sources of ephedrine and ephedra for many years to boost fat loss and enhance physical performance.

In 2004, the FDA banned the sale of ephedra as an ingredient in dietary supplements or fat burner products. Since then, bodybuilders have been looking for alternatives ways to buy pure ephedrine HCL to make their ECA stacks or ECY stacks.

Research does show that short-term use of ephedrine pills can modestly boost weigh loss results. However, Primatene tablets are not ideal for use as diet pills due to the presence of guaifenesin and the high risk of side effects.

Primatene for Weight Loss

Non-medical usage of Primatene ephedrine as a stimulant drug is quite common. This product is used to help people lose weight because it can enhance metabolism, suppress appetite cravings and heighten energy levels.

Ephedrine is one of the alkaloid components of the ephedra plant, which grows in various regions around the world. This plant has been used for over 2,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds, fevers, asthma, and other illnesses.

Alkaloids in the ephedra plant function as sympathomimetic agents, which means they have the ability to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).

The mechanism of action is as a beta-adrenergic agonist. Ephedrine affects your body in a similar way as the natural hormone adrenaline (epinephrine), causing your heart rate to increase, greater fat and glucose breakdown and increased heat production.

You should be familiar with the boost of adrenaline that you feel when you’ve been startled or scared. This experience is caused by heightened levels of adrenaline being released in response to stress, fear, or danger.

Ephedrine activates these same beta-adrenergic receptors in the body, causing users to feel more alert, focused, energized and motivated. When you take this ingredient in the form of an ephedrine diet pill or a Primatene tablet, it puts your body into a state where more energy is mobilized to respond to impending danger.

This can result in weight loss because Ephedrine is a thermogenic agent. This means it stimulates your body to burn more calories and convert that energy into heat. Users who take this product will often feel their core body temperature increase slightly.

When you burn more calories throughout the day, it can become easier to achieve a calorie deficit which is necessary for weight loss to occur. Over time in combination with a healthy diet and workout plan, it may be easier to lose weight with the help of this product.

Ephedrine has long been associated with dieters seeking weight loss and was previously one of the best-selling fat burning ingredients on the market. Many view it as one of the best diet pills even sold in the USA.

However, this ingredient also posed a serious risk of harmful side effects, especially in users who took it at high dosages or who combined it with other stimulants like caffeine.

Ephedrine alkaloids have been banned from dietary supplements products in the U.S. due to the risks of side effects. However, this ingredient is still legal in pharmaceutical drugs to treat asthma, such as in the Primatene oral tablets formulation.

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How Does Ephedrine Work?

Ephedrine can cause greater activity in the autonomic, sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous systems. These are the systems which are responsible for actions in the body over which we have no control. Such actions include:

  • Heart rate
  • Respiratory rate
  • Digestion
  • Appetite

Use of products like Primatene ephedrine can affect a number of these different functions. One of the ways in which it works is by constricting blood vessels, causing the heart to beat faster. It prepares the body for a burst of physical or mental activity or function.

Research shows that it increases blood oxygenation, boosts circulation and enhances energy utilization within your cells. This boost in metabolism is equated with greater fat burning potential because this product puts your body into a state where it breaks down more fat for energy.

However, this is not always the case. While increased metabolism does mean you are burning more calories, this will not always translate into weight loss. Whether or not you lose weight depends on hormone levels, food consumption, activity levels and more.

A number of studies have attempted to determine ephedrine benefits for weight loss, and most have been deemed moderately successful, but only for short-term and in modest weight loss.

The milligram strength of ephedrine in Primatene products is relatively low and a person would have to take more than the recommended to feel much of an effect.

The length of activity or the half-life of ephedrine is relatively short and may last anywhere between one and three hours for most, although depending on individual factors, may last a bit longer.

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Research Review

Research from clinical trials shows that individuals using ephedrine (including Primatene alternatives) for weight loss may experience approximately 2 pounds more in weight loss than someone who is not using the product. [1]

Another study determined that a person using ephedrine will experience an approximately 0 .9 kg per month loss in weight over that of someone using a placebo. [2]

In the majority of studies and clinical trials, the average dosage of ephedrine ranged between 25 mg and 50 mg. Some of these trials also used caffeine in an EC stack formula.

These participants had a slightly greater boost in energy and more weight-loss was seen with the addition of caffeine to the ephedrine usage.

Combining more than one stimulant at the same time can increase the risk of negative side effects. Even at lower dosages, this stack can cause adverse effects. Benefits and risks associated with such experiments should always be seriously considered by potential users.

In a number of rat experiments, combinations of caffeine and ephedrine were shown to cause acute hemorrhagic myocardial necrosis. [3] According to the FDA, overuse of this product can increase the risk of cardiac side effects like heart attack.

Athletes, as well as dieters looking to Primatene tablets for the weight-loss benefits,should also consider the negative aspects that go hand in hand. The benefits of combining ephedrine and caffeine for weight loss are minimal without proper diet and exercise. The risk of side effects often outweighs those benefits.

User Reviews

Primatene reviews vary widely, depending on how the product was used, the reason it was used and the prevalence of side effects. When used responsibly and correctly, very few side effects were associated with use.

However, prolonged use or consuming it in higher than recommended dosages can be very dangerous, especially to those diagnosed with any cardiovascular issues.

User reviews for Primatene tablets for weight loss stated that it had a very short-term effect and that even at recommended dosages, could create that jittery feeling associated with too many stimulants in the system.

A person taking Primatene ephedrine HCL for the purpose of weight loss must also consider that this product will not significantly boost weight loss without adequate attention paid to diet, nutrition, and exercise.

Reviews for ephedrine tablets mainly comment on the fact that this ingredient does act as an appetite suppressant and can provide a surge in energy levels. This drug can in some cases enhance weight loss, but a decrease in caloric intake is required for significant fat loss.

Individuals using Primatene ephedrine without decreasing caloric intake and combining with exercise will not see significant long-term results.

Where Can I Buy Primatene?

Is Primatene discontinued, or can you still find it? Primatene Mist has been discontinued in the U.S.,but the oral tablets containing 12.5mg of ephedrine HCL with 200 mg of guaifenesin are still available. The mist inhaler product was officially discontinued on December 31, 2011. [4]

Ephedrine is a restricted and controlled substance in the United States. While it is legal in medications to treat asthma and breathing disorders, it has been banned as an ingredient in over-the-counter dietary supplements. It is also a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency classification guidelines.

Depending on which state you live in, you may still be able to find Primatene sold at GNC, Walmart, CVS, Rite-Aid, Target, Walgreens or other pharmacies. You do not need a prescription to purchase this product in most states, but purchases will be subject to limitations on the amount they buy and will have to show a photo ID.

A package of Primatene pills at Walmart costs approximately $10 for a box of 60 tablets providing 12.5 mg ephedrine each. The label instructions do specify that the product is not recommended for use unless a person has asthma and has been diagnosed with asthma by a physician.

Individuals who want to purchase such products must typically get them at the pharmacy counter from a pharmacist or a locked cabinet. An individual may be asked to sign a document stating that they are not using the product improperly.

Before looking for Primatene for sale near you, be aware that you may not find exactly what you’re looking for, although you may find some alternatives.

Other products like Bronkaid or EPHED may be sold depending on where you live.
While no longer available over-the-counter, a number of products that contain ephedrine can still be found in both inhaler as well as tablet form.

You cannot buy Primatene ephedrine HCL on online website such as Amazon or eBay. While there are substitutes available on these sites, both ban the sale of any products with real ephedrine alkaloids.

Note that retailers who sell this drug are subject to significant additional scrutiny and have a number of requirements for how they store the product as well as how they train their employees. As a result, many pharmacy chains have decided to stop carrying this product.

If you search for these products online, you may find a number of forum threads or discussions about Primatene mist or even Bronkaid, both of which contained ephedrine. However, these asthma medications have been gradually phased out in most locations.

Was Primatene Discontinued?

The Primatene Mist inhaler, has been discontinued in the United States as of the end of 2011.

The inhaler did not contain ephedrine but provided approximately 0.22 mg epinephrine per dosage. Note the difference between epinephrine and ephedrine.

It was primarily recommended as a bronchodilator and prescribed for patients with asthma or other bronchodilator issues such as emphysema, and in some cases, COPD.

The Primatene inhaler was used medically for relief of symptoms of mild to moderate asthma. Symptoms often included but are not limited to a feeling of shortness of breath and tightness of the chest as well as wheezing common among asthma sufferers.

The Primatene Mist inhaler, when it was sold over the counter, was one of the most popular for the relief of asthma symptoms. When used for treatment of asthma symptoms, it did provide fast relief although others stated that it had a bad taste.

Others complained that even through the pharmacy, it could be difficult to order. Due to the increasingly negative attention focused on ephedrine, the product was subject to significant regulation even for those diagnosed with asthma.

Asthma sufferers using Primatene inhaler products found that while it worked for most, it was not as effective as other asthma drugs such as albuterol.

A great number of reviews for the inhaler stated that it was easy to overuse and misuse, and that side effects tended to occur.

Oral Primatene Tablets

Another product manufactured by Pfizer is the Primatene tablets containing ephedrine HCl as a bronchodilator.

The product also contains another ingredient, guaifenesin, to be utilized as an expectorant, or to help loosen mucus (phlegm) for those suffering symptoms of intermittent asthma.

Primatene tablets contained a 12.5 mg of ephedrine and 200 mg guaifenesin.

Dosage recommendations are to take one to two tablets orally every four hours or as needed, with a maximum of 12 tablets in 24 hours. It is recommended that the tablets be taken with adequate amounts of water.

The list of potential interactions and contraindications for use is extensive. Do not take this product without first consulting with a doctor to determine whether it is appropriate for you.

Safety Considerations

Safety considerations for use of Primatene ephedrine tablets should be followed closely. A number of serious adverse reactions have been associated with use of ephedrine/guaifenesin including but not limited to:

  • Hypertension – high blood pressure
  • Myocardial infarction – heart attack
  • Potential hepatotoxicity with prolonged usage – potential liver damage
  • Arrhythmias – irregular heartbeat
  • Kidney damage
  • Potential seizures
  • Stroke

Less serious negative effects linked to Primatene tablet use include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Overstimulation of the central nervous system
  • Muscle tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea sometimes associated with vomiting
  • Difficulty sleeping or insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tachycardia – accelerated heart rate
  • Urinary problems

It is recommended that pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant avoid the product. For women who are breastfeeding, use of such products has been deemed unsafe in regard to the ephedrine content being able to pass through breast milk.

This product should not be taken by anyone under the age of 18, unless directed to do so by a qualified physician. Do not use Primatene without first consult with a doctor to determine whether it is safe for you.

Ephedrine use is contraindicated for people who have heart conditions, high blood pressure, glaucoma, mental health conditions, thyroid problems, kidney problems and a number of other medical diagnoses. Do not combine this drug with other medications unless first getting approval from your doctor.

Primatene Alternatives

One of the most common Primatene alternatives found on the market is Bronkaid, which also contains ephedrine and guaifenesin.

In 2012, following the discontinuation of Primatene (with ephedrine), a number of other asthma inhalers were developed. One contained racepinephrine. This product was primarily designed to use in nebulizers, but an individual using it for weight loss would still experience the jittery feeling, due to its stimulative effect on the central nervous system.

The product does appear to be effective in opening airways, making breathing easier for those dealing with asthma, emphysema, or COPD.

In regard to its use by athletes for those seeking weight loss, it could potentially be beneficial in dilating airways, therefore increasing oxygen intake. However, if a person’s airways are already normal, dilating them even more may seem pointless and potentially dangerous due to the potential for over-oxygenation, a condition known as oxygen toxicity.

Too much oxygen intake in the body can literally cause an overdose, disrupting optimal levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.

Options available for those looking for Primatene ephedrine today are slim, mainly because the inhaler form of ephedrine (since 2012) is no longer considered safe for the treatment of asthma, based on the recommendations of several organizations including the:

  • American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology
  • American Association of Respiratory Care
  • American Thoracic Society
  • National Association for the Medical Direction of Respiratory Care

Individuals looking for Primatene alternatives can find other products that contain ephedrine today, mainly in vasopressors and decongestants.

Ephedrine is still used in the treatment of a number of conditions including acute asthma, acute COPD, and in some cases, hypotension. A few such products include but are not limited to [5]:

  • Asthmacon – brand name
  • Aminophylline/ephedrine/guaifenesin/Phenobarbital systemic (brand name Mudrane GG)
  • Rentamine, Quadratuss, Quad-Tuss (carbetapentane/chlorpheniramine/ephedrine/phenylephrine systemic)

Even though some of these ephedrine-containing products are still available, obtaining prescriptions for them has become increasingly difficult. Newer and safer drugs have replaced ephedrine in many of these products.


Ephedrine has the potential to enhance metabolism and may have benefits for a weight loss program. But results and side effects vary among users.

Taking more than recommended or using longer than advised can contribute to serious negative side effects and adverse reactions. Overuse of this product can result in heart attack, stroke, seizure or death among some individuals.

This is especially true when combined with other stimulants including caffeine, or other herbal ingredients designed to increase energy. Taking Primatene for weight loss is strongly advised against due to the high potential for abuse and misuse.

Depending on where you live, it is still possible to buy Primatene ephedrine tablets in pharmacies in the United States. However, caution is always advised. Availability at locations including Walmart, Walgreens, or Primatene at CVS will vary based on what state you live in and specific store policies.

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