Effects of ephedrine-containing products on weight loss and lipid profiles: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Hee Jeong Yoo, Ha Young Yoon, Jeong Yee, Hye Sun Gwak

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ephedrine, the main active ingredient of mahuang, may lead to weight loss; however, it can also induce cardiovascular side effects. As ephedrine use remains controversial, this study aimed to systematically review previous studies on ephedrine-containing products and perform meta-analysis of the existing evidence on weight, blood pressure (BP), heart rate, and lipid change effects of ephedrine-containing products. We searched for placebo-controlled randomized studies in PubMed, Web of Science, and EMBASE until July 2021 using the following search terms: (ephedr* OR mahuang) AND (“weight loss” OR obes* OR overweight). Mean differences (MDs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to evaluate the effects of ephedrine-containing products on weight, BP, heart rate, and lipid profiles. A total of 10 articles were included. Compared with the placebo group, the ephedrine-containing product group was associated with greater weight loss, with an MD of −1.97 kg (95% CI: −2.38, −1.57). In the ephedrine-containing product group, the mean heart rate was 5.76 beats/min higher than in the placebo group (95% CI: 3.42, 8.10), whereas intergroup differences in systolic and diastolic BP were not statistically significant. The ephedrinecontaining product group had a significantly higher mean high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (MD: 2.74 mg/dL; 95% CI: 0.94, 4.55), lower mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (MD: −5.98 mg/dL; 95% CI: −10.97, −0.99), and lower mean triglyceride level (MD: −11.25 mg/dL; 95% CI: −21.83, −0.68) than the placebo group. Compared with placebo, the ephedrine-containing products showed better effects on weight loss and lipid profiles, whereas they caused increased heart rate. The ephedrine-containing products may be beneficial to obese or overweight patients; however, close monitoring is needed, especially heart rate monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1198
JournalPharmaceuticals
Volume14
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • Blood pressure
  • Ephedrine
  • Lipid profiles
  • Mahuang
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review
  • Weight loss

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