Is Ephedrine Illegal? Yes, ephedrine is illegal. Ephedrine is a stimulant drug that was commonly used in over-the-counter decongestants and weight loss supplements. However, in the United States, the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids was banned in 2004 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to concerns about their safety and efficacy.
One of the reasons for the ban was the potential for abuse and misuse of the drug. Ephedrine can have serious side effects, including high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke, and has been linked to several deaths. Additionally, ephedrine is one of the key precursor chemicals used in the production of crystal methamphetamine, a highly addictive and illegal drug. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are found in over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, are used as the primary ingredients in the production of meth.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is made by chemically altering ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
The use of ephedrine in the production of crystal meth was one of the main reasons for the ban of dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids in the United States in 2004. The ban was put in place in an effort to combat the illegal production of methamphetamine by making it more difficult to obtain the precursor chemicals used in the production of the drug.
The FDA issued a final rule in 2006, which established a ban on the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids in the United States.
- Ephedra-containing dietary supplements: evaluation of FDA’s analysis of the risk of ephedra-associated adverse events, National Academies Press (US) (2004)
- FDA final rule on dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids, (2006)
- The Methamphetamine Epidemic: An Overview. Congressional Research Service (2020)