SEARCH
TOOLBOX
LANGUAGES
modified on 1 April 2009 at 01:09 ••• 4,810 views

Ephedrine

From Drugwiki - Information about drugs, steroids and medicine

Jump to: navigation, search

EPHEDRINE

Ephedrine is a naturally occuring central nervous system stimulant obtained from the plant Ephedra equisetina. It is now also produced by chemical synthesis, the synthetic product being marketed in the form of its salt, ephedrine sulfate; it occurs as a white crystalline powder with a bitter taste, soluble in water and very soluble in alcohol. Ephedrine is closely related in structure to methamphetamine, although its CNS actions are much less potent and also longer-acting than those of the amphetamines. Its peripheral stimulant actions are similar to but less powerful than those of epinephrine (also called adrenaline), a hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands.

Ephedrine has moderately potent bronchial muscle relaxant properties, and therefore is used for symptomatic relief in milder cases of asthmatic attack; it is also used to reduce the risk of acute attacks in the treatment of chronic asthma. The typical adult dose range is 30-60 mg taken orally, three to four times per day, in the form of tablets. Ephedrine in the form of nose drops is also widely used to relieve nasal congestion associated with upper respitory tract illnesses. It is also used to treat low blood pressure, because it constricts blood vessels and stimulates certain actions of the heart. Common side effects are qualitatively similar to those produced by amphetamines and are generally milder. Higher doses (overdose) can cause restlessness and anxiety, dizziness, insomnia, tremor, rapid pulse, sweating, respiratory difficulties, confusion, hallucinations, delerium, and (very infrequently) convulsions. The most dangerous symptoms of overdose are abnormally high blood pressure and rapid, irregular heartbeat. A dose of ephedrine only two to three times the theraputic maximum can cause a significant increase in blood pressure. The elderly are particularly sensitive to overdose, and there have been a few deaths among such patients. Finally, a number of instances of psychosis, clinically similar to amphetamine psychosis, have resulted from chronic high-dose abuse; other effects of chronic abuse have not been adequately studied.

Tolerance develops to the main effects of ephedrine; however, temporary abstinence restores sensitivity.


Use

Anecdotal reports have suggested that ephedrine helps studying, thinking, or concentrating to a greater extent than caffeine. Some students and some white-collar workers have used ephedrine (or Ephedra-containing herbal supplements) for this purpose, as well as some professional athletes and weightlifters. It is common for many athletes to use stimulants while exercising. Such use of ephedrine has been associated with stimulant dependence, as well as deaths from heatstroke in athletes and circulatory problems such as aortic aneurysm in weightlifters, though these side effects are rare.

As a phenylethylamine, ephedrine has a similar chemical structure to amphetamines. Ephedrine can be used in the synthesis of methamphetamine by chemical reduction; this has made ephedrine a highly sought-after chemical precursor in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine. The most popular method for reducing ephedrine to methamphetamine is similar to the Birch reduction, in that it uses anhydrous ammonia and lithium metal in the reaction. The second most popular method uses red phosphorus, iodine, and ephedrine in the reaction.

In E for Ecstasy (a book examining the uses of the street drug Ecstasy in the UK) the writer, activist and Ecstasy advocate Nicholas Saunders highlighted test results showing that certain consignments of the drug also contained ephedrine. Consignments of Ecstasy known as "Strawberry" contained what Saunders described as a "potentially dangerous combination of ketamine, ephedrine and selegiline," as did a consignment of "Sitting Duck" Ecstasy tablets.

COMMON NAMES

  • Mini Thins
  • Sudafed
  • Trucker's Speed