Ephedra, or Ma Huang, is a plant used in China for medicinal purposes.  It was the main effective ingredient in many weight loss, bodybuilding, and energy supplements. When combined with caffeine, ephedra suppresses the appetite and stimulates metabolism.   

What are the Health Risks Associated with Ephedra?

Ephedra is an amphetamine-like compound that raises the heart rate and blood pressure.  Use of Ephedra increases the risk of heart attack, seizure, stroke, and even sudden death.   

Developments in the Law

There have been a number of recent developments regarding products containing ephedra:

  • In 1997, in response to more than 800 reports of adverse effects of ephedra, the FDA proposed rules for dietary supplements containing ephedra.  These included a warning on the product, and a statement that the product should not be used for more than one week.
  • In July 2003, the widow of Major League Baseball pitcher Steve Bechler filed a wrongful-death suit against an ephedra-based dietary supplement manufacturer.
  • In February 2004, the FDA banned the sale of ephedra-based dietary supplements concluding that ephedra supplements posed an unreasonable risk to users.
  • On April 12, 2004, the ban took effect despite a lawsuit by an ephedra-based dietary supplement manufacturer that claimed ephedra could safely help consumers lose weight if used as directed.

What Should I Do if I Have Experienced the Adverse Effects of Ephedra?

Manufacturers have a duty to inform consumers of known risks associated with their products. If it does not adequately do so, the manufacturer may be held liable to patients injured as a consequence of inadequate warnings.  If you have consumed an ephedra-based product and have been injured as a result you may be able to sue for damages. 

Do I Need a Lawyer to Recover Damages for Ephedra Related Injuries?

Filing a lawsuit against a large corporation can be very difficult.  An experienced products liability attorney can help you determine what damages you are entitled to.  A products liability can also help you prepare the necessary paperwork and represent you in court.