What is Ephedrine?

Ephedrine is a stimulant and a thermogenic that comes from the herb known as Ephedra. It is used as a stimulant, appetite suppressant, concentration aid, decongestant, and to treat hypotension associated with anesthesia. Ephedrine is most commonly used  for temporary relief of shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing due to bronchial asthma because of its decongestant and bronchodilator properties. It allows the patient to breathe more easily by reducing swelling and constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages and widening the lung airways.

This drug is found in nasal spray, tablet, and liquid form. It can be swallowed, snorted, or injected.

Doctors advise patients to avoid operating heavy machinery while taking ephedrine because it may cause dizziness. In combination with alcohol, ephedrine can alter the persons response time, judgement and other sensory skills.

How Ephedrine Works

Ephedrine works by stimulating the brain, increasing the heart rate, increasing blood pressure, expanding bronchial tubes, increasing metabolism, and increasing body heat. It is commonly abused because of its stimulant effects. People both prescribed the medication and those using it illegal are unaware of just how addictive it is and continue to abuse it. Prolonged use of the medication often will result in a tolerance and dependency, followed by withdrawal syndrome when stopping its use.

Side Effects of Ephedrine

  • Dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • tremor
  • loss of appetite
  • restlessness
  • sleeplessness
  • stomach irritation

Ephedrine Drug Use

Ephedrine is commonly used as an stimulant, appetite suppressant, concentration aid, decongestant, and to treat hypotension associated with anesthesia. Patients with bronchial asthma are often prescribed Ephedrine to relieve of shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing. Ephedrine has grown in popularity amongst athletes due to its performance enhancing effects. People often use and abuse Ephedrine because of its association with weight loss.

Many who use Ephedrine are unaware of their risk of developing an tolerance and dependency.  In fact, many countries have made ephedrine illegal. However it is allowed for certain medical treatment. People still obtain the drug illegally for their own recreational purposes.

Signs and Symptoms of Ephedrine Abuse

Ephedrine abusers take the medication in excessive amounts and for pleasure only. Prolonged Ephedrine abuse can result in the person developing a tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Ephedrine abuse can result in physical and psychological harm to the user as well as negatively affect them in all other areas of their life.

Signs of Ephedrine Abuse

  • Using the drug regardless to the knowledge of its negative effects on their health and other areas of their life
  • Increased dosing
  • Unable to stop its use
  • Hiding its use
  • Purchasing ephedrine illegally
  • Withdrawal symptoms when stopping its use
  • Trouble at work, school and home
  • Lack of interest in normal activities

Symptoms of Ephedrine Addiction

Physical Symptoms

  • Hypertension
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • irritability
  • uncontrollable shaking
  • irregular heartbeat
  • paranoia
  • depression


Ephedrine Addiction Treatment

Ephedrine addiction has been responsible for numerous deaths since its use became popular. For those suffering from an addiction to this medication it is advised to seek addiction treatment immediately.

Treatment often begins with a medical detoxification process where the patient is cleansed of the chemicals and toxins related to Ephedrine abuse. A non addictive prescription medication will be given to ease symptoms of withdrawal and control cravings. The patient will be able to comfortably and safely work through their physical addiction to Ephedrine during the detox process.

Therapy and counseling will help the patient to get to the root cause of their addiction and to work through it along with any physiological effects ephedrine abuse has caused. The patient will be made aware of the routines and behaviors associated with ephedrine use and guided to ones that promote sober living. They will be able to gain the key tools they will need to maintain their sobriety when returning home.