Ephedra is a type of plant commonly used in manufacturing herbal Fen Phen which contains the alkaloids ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Dietary supplements containing these chemicals combined with St. John’s wort have been marketed to consumers as a way of helping them use weight. Ephedra is also known as ma huang—a specific species of this type of plant—or “Chinese ephedra.” Products with any of the following ingredients listed on their packaging also contain ephedra:
- Ephedra sinica
- Sida cordifolia
In February 2004, the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra or other ephedrine alkaloids. According to the agency, ephedra offered little benefit, except for short term weight loss, while creating an unreasonable risk of serious side effects or death.
The use of ephedra has been associated with a number of illnesses or injuries, including high blood pressure, tachycardia, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), heart attack or stroke. The FDA has received thousands of reports of adverse events involving ephedra or ephedrine products, including more than 150 deaths.
Concerns about the safety of ephedra products became national news in recent years following the deaths of two professional athletes. In August 2001, football player Corey Stringer died of heatstroke during practice. In February 2003, baseball player Steve Belcher also died of heatstroke during a team practice. Both players were taking products containing ephedra at the time of their deaths. Supplements containing ephedra were banned by the NFL, the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee before the FDA prohibited their sale.
The law firm of Hissey Kientz is currently investigating cases involving consumers who suffered serious or fatal injuries after using products containing ephedra. If you have used supplements with ephedra and suffered heart attack, stroke, primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH), primary arterial hypertension (PAH) or other injuries please contact us to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at (866) 275-4454, or by filling out a free case evaluation form to the right of this page.