Thursday, July 03, 2003

July 2003 Newsletter

FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter July 2003


As many of you are now aware the Illinois legislature has passed a law banning the sale of products containing ephedra. (and one if it’s alkaloids ephedrine). We understand the hysteria that has been generated on the subject but let’s look at this from the objective information that is available. The controversy seems to lie in the use in athletic stimulants and diet and appetite suppressants. Several deaths have been “linked” to the use of the herb.

In 2002 the FDA commissioned the RAND Corporation to investigate more than 17,000 adverse events reported to ephedra use. In February 2003 the Rand report stated there was NO CAUSAL link to ephedra an ANY of the adverse events or deaths. The FDA actually backed off it’s position to limit the amount of ephedra used in products after the report was published.

Where does the truth lie? Ephedra has been used for several thousand years in Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM). Traditional usage has been for treatment of bronchial asthma, colds, flu, cough, wheezing, headache, and nasal congestion………Notice the list does not include metabolic and athletic enhancement!!

Dosages in TCM would typically run in the 15-30 mg /day range with a max of 150mg per day. Many of the enhancement supplements were running 300mg per capsule, in addition they were usually combined with other stimulants (ie caffeine ). It is interesting that even with the dramatic abuse (overdose and combinations) of the substance a causal link could not be found.

So, dieters and parents the law does not outlaw the use of these products just the sale in Illinois. Parents talk to your kids about it, don’t over use it. Unfortunately the good and several thousand year tested uses are now also gone without the back up of any science.

Dr. Glenn and Julie Smith

Complementary Medicine

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