Ephedra has been at the center of major controversies in the news recently. NBC and other news organizations have recently reported on the dangers of "pep pills" containing Ephedra, which are readily available and are currently a popular craze among teenagers and college students. These dangerous formulas are also found in many diet pills as reported on Dateline NBC on July 27, 1998.
Ephedra (sometimes referred to as ephedrine) is a natural chemical found in a Chinese herb called Ma-Huang. Products containing Ephedra have been linked to over forty deaths and more than 800 adverse health reports, according to the FDA.
The International Olympic Committee bans this substance. Superstar soccer player Diego Maradona of Argentina was banned from the World Cup after he tested positive for Ephedra.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association also bans the use of Ephedra in all college sports. All student-athletes found to be positive for a substance belonging to a banned-drug class are subject to loss of eligibility consistent with existing policies, as designated in NCAA Bylaw 188.8.131.52.
USA TODAY reported recently that the FDA is prepared to take appropriate action but it is not clear what that action will be. Some products containing Ephedra are falsely advertised as increasing endurance and as being used by top athletes. In fact, most athletic federations ban Ephedra, in all forms.
InHealth supports the FDA's position on Ephedra and will continue to only provide products that are safe and effective for our Marketing Executives and customers.