Ephedrine enantiomers.svg
Ball-and-stick model of the (1S,2R)-ephedrine molecule
(−)-(1R,2S)-ephedrine (top),
(+)-(1S,2R)-ephedrine (center and bottom)
Clinical data
Pronunciationn/ (About this soundlisten) or n/
Trade namesBronkaid, Primatene, others
  • AU: A
Routes of
by mouth, IV, IM, SC
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Metabolismminimal liver
Onset of actionIV (seconds), IM (10 min to 20 min), by mouth (15 min to 60 min)[1]
half-life3 h to 6 h
Duration of actionIV/IM (60 min), by mouth (2 h to 4 h)
Excretion22% to 99% (urine)
299-42-3 ☑Y
DB01364 ☑Y
8935 ☒N
D00124 ☑Y
CHEBI:15407 ☑Y
ChEMBL211456 ☑Y
100.005.528 Edit this at Wikidata
Chemical and physical data
Molar mass165.23 g·mol−1
3D model (Interactive image
 ☒N☑Y (verify)

Ephedrine is a medication and stimulant.[1] It is often used to prevent low blood pressure during spinal anesthesia.[1] It has also been used for asthma, narcolepsy, and obesity but is not the preferred treatment.[1] It is of unclear benefit in nasal congestion.[1] It can be taken by mouth or by injection into a muscle, vein, or just under the skin.[1] Onset with intravenous use is fast, while injection into a muscle can take 20 minutes, and by mouth can take an hour for effect.[1] When given by injection it lasts about an hour and when taken by mouth it can last up to four hours.[1]

Common side effects include trouble sleeping, anxiety, headache, hallucinations, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, loss of appetite, and inability to urinate.[1] Serious side effects include stroke, heart attack, and abuse.[1] While likely safe in pregnancy, its use in this population is poorly studied.[2][3] Use during breastfeeding is not recommended.[3] Ephedrine works by increasing the activity of the α and β adrenergic receptors.[1]

Ephedrine was first isolated in 1885 and came into commercial use in 1926.[4][5] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the most effective and safe medicines needed in a health system.[6] It is available as a generic medication.[1] The wholesale cost in the developing world is about US$0.69–1.35 per dose.[7] In the United States it is not very expensive.[8] It can normally be found in plants of the Ephedra type.[1] Dietary supplements that contain ephedrine are illegal in the United States.[1] An exception is when used in traditional Chinese medicine.[1]

Medical use

Ephedrine Sulphate (1932), Ephedrine Compound (1932), and Swan-Myers Ephedrine Inhalant No. 66 (circa 1940)

Both ephedrine and pseudoephedrine increase blood pressure and act as bronchodilators, with pseudoephedrine having considerably less effect.[9]

Ephedrine may decrease motion sickness, but it has mainly been used to decrease the sedating effects of other medications used for motion sickness.[10][11]

Weight loss

Ephedrine promotes modest short-term weight loss,[12] specifically fat loss, but its long-term effects are unknown.[13] In mice, ephedrine is known to stimulate thermogenesis in the brown adipose tissue, but because adult humans have only small amounts of brown fat, thermogenesis is assumed to take place mostly in the skeletal muscle. Ephedrine also decreases gastric emptying. Methylxanthines such as caffeine and theophylline have a synergistic effect with ephedrine with respect to weight loss. This led to creation and marketing of compound products.[14] One of them, known as the ECA stack, contains ephedrine with caffeine and aspirin. It is a popular supplement taken by bodybuilders seeking to cut body fat before a competition.[15]

Other Languages
العربية: إفيدرين
تۆرکجه: افدرین
català: Efedrina
čeština: Efedrin
Cymraeg: Effedrin
dansk: Efedrin
Deutsch: Ephedrin
español: Efedrina
Esperanto: Efedrino
euskara: Efedrina
فارسی: افدرین
français: Éphédrine
Gaeilge: Eifidrín
galego: Efedrina
ગુજરાતી: એફેડ્રિન
한국어: 에페드린
հայերեն: Էֆեդրին
hrvatski: Efedrin
Bahasa Indonesia: Efedrina
italiano: Efedrina
latviešu: Efedrīns
lietuvių: Efedrinas
magyar: Efedrin
Bahasa Melayu: Efedrina
Nederlands: Efedrine
norsk: Efedrin
پښتو: افدرين
polski: Efedryna
português: Efedrina
română: Efedrină
русский: Эфедрин
Simple English: Ephedrine
slovenčina: Efedrín
српски / srpski: Efedrin
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Efedrin
suomi: Efedriini
svenska: Efedrin
Türkçe: Efedrin
українська: Ефедрин
Tiếng Việt: Ephedrine
中文: 麻黃鹼