Medical Q&As

Ephedrine - banned drug?

Is ephedrine banned in Ireland? This substance can be found in various weight loss products.

Ephedrine is a stimulant drug that is chemically similar to adrenaline. A synthetic form of the drug called pseudoephedrine is present in a wide variety of popular over the counter treatments for cough and nasal congestion. These products are widely available in Ireland and are very safe products when used in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. I am not aware of any prescription drugs containing ephedrine that are licensed for prescription use in Ireland however, there are several that contain pseudoephedrine. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine products are prohibited substances in the sports arena and they are tested for in the routine dope testing conducted on athletes. However in general terms it would be wrong to say that it is a banned substance. Also, I am not aware that the products you refer to for weight reduction are available in Ireland. There are no such ethical prescription products on the market but they may be classified as food products, which provides the loophole that permits their sale to the general public. I would be concerned about such products being available for direct sale to the public without adequate information about risks and side effects.