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What Factors Affect a Sufficient Ephedrine Dose?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated May 17, 2024
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The proper ephedrine dose will depend what the drug is being used for and whether or not it is being taken under the supervision of a medical professional. Average dosages range from 20 to 50 milligrams taken several times per day depending on the condition. Patients with certain illnesses may take several doses total per day, while those who are purchasing it over the counter should generally take no more than 100 milligrams in a single day.

Ephedrine is known by most people as an effective weight loss drug because of its stimulant effect on the metabolism. It is sold in many health food stores, online, and it's found in a large number of weight loss supplement combinations. Because it can have potentially negative effects on the heart, it is usually recommended that patients not use ephedrine for weight loss without consulting a medical professional. When taken for this purpose, the proper ephedrine dose is typically between 20 and 30 milligrams taken three times per day.

In a medical setting, ephedrine is also used to treat a wide range of medical conditions. These can include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The proper ephedrine dose in these cases will vary from patient to patient and the delivery method used. Intravenous doses may be different than oral ones, even for the treatment of the same condition. Even in a hospital setting, it is typically not recommended that patients receive more than 150 milligrams of ephedrine in 24 hours due to a high risk of dangerous side effects.

Because this drug can lead to serious health consequences, it is generally recommended that patients receive the lowest possible ephedrine dose necessary for effectiveness. When a safer drug is available, it is usually given instead of ephedrine, assuming that results are similar in the treatment of disease. Those with heart problems and certain other medical conditions should usually avoid taking this drug entirely.

Although popular, it is not usually a good idea to take ephedrine for the purpose of weight loss. No matter how small the ephedrine dose, there is the risk for serious side effects. This drug has been shown to increase the risk of irregular heart rate, palpitations, and even heart attack. These side effects pose an even more serious risk for those with underlying heart defects or conditions since dieters may not know they have a problem until a serious reaction occurs.

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Discussion Comments

By ddljohn — On Dec 08, 2013

I know athletes who take 20mg of ephedrine twice or thrice a day for weight loss. But no one starts off with that dose.

When used for weight loss, ephedrine needs to be started at very low doses and then increased slowly if there are no side effects.

I personally started with 10mg/day and then went up from there. It's always best to use the lowest effective dose for any medication and I was under doctor supervision. So I knew that ephedrine wasn't raising my blood pressure to dangerous levels, etc.

Everyone's system works differently though. A dose that's right for one person might be too high for another. So I don't think we can generalize.

By ZipLine — On Dec 08, 2013

@SarahGen-- I agree with you. My doctor prescribed ephedrine for me once and he said that I cannot take more than 24mg within 24 hours. He also did not allow me to take it for more than a week. I think this is according to the FDA regulations.

By SarahGen — On Dec 08, 2013

I think that 20 to 50mg of ephedrine is too high as an average dose. I think that many people can experience side effects with 50mg.

I use ephedrine sometimes as a nasal decongestant and my medication only has 8mg of ephedrine per pill. I only take it once or twice a day at most. I think if I took 50mg per day, I would experience heart palpitations and anxiety.

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