American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
For Immediate Release Dec 29, 2003

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS:  Ephedra, a compound often found in over- the- counter weight loss products, is often used by athletes trying to gain a competitive edge. However, the use of ephedra or its purified form (ephedrine) has been linked to several serious side effects, including death, according to James L. Moeller, MD.

Dr. Moeller presented updated information regarding ephedra at the Advanced Team Physician Course last week in Phoenix, Arizona. Common side effects of use of these products include rapid heart beat, heart arrhythmias, elevated blood pressure and tremors. Serious problems such as heart attack, stroke and death have been reported. These serious events may occur in young, previously healthy individuals. These serious events can occur after the first dose.

Because ephedra is considered a supplement, its production is not regulated by the FDA. Purity remains a major concern, and ephedra dose may vary among pills and different products. In addition to dose mislabeling, many products make false claims regarding proper use and reported benefits. Ephedra containing products may contain other compounds, such as caffeine, that increase the risk of side effects. With all of this in mind, Dr. Moeller recommends that physicians educate athletes and patients regarding the dangers of ephedra and ephedrine and advise them against its use. Dr. Moeller is a sports medicine physician and member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM).

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was organized in 1991by physicians who recognized the need for an organization within the field of sports medicine that approached athletes, exercising individuals, and teams comprehensively with consultative and continuous care of their orthopedic, medical, nutritional, and psychosocial issues. Although sports medicine concepts are often thought of in conjunction with professional and elite athletes, these concepts apply to athletes of all levels including grade school, high school, college and recreational athletes. AMSSM is comprised of over 800 Sports Medicine Physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.

NOTE: For more information, please contact the AMSSM, 4000 W. 114th St., Suite 100, Leawood, KS 66211, (913) 327-1415.

© The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine
4000 W. 114th Street, Suite 100
Leawood, KS 66211
Phone: 913.327.1415

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