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The effects of an ephedrine/caffeine mixture on obese humans Ranallo, Romolo Fausto


Several studies have shown that a mixture consisting of ephedrine, a β-agonist, and caffeine, an adenosine antagonist, has the ability to stimulate thermogenesis in humans, and thus offer a treatment for obesity. However, most studies have also included a very low calorie diet and sometimes exercise in addition to the ephedrine/caffeine combination. The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of weight loss achievable using the ephedrine/caffeine mixture without controlling for diet and exercise. In a double-blind, placebo controlled, cross-over, repeated measures design, 20 obese subjects were administered a mixture containing ephedrine (20 mg), and caffeine (200 mg) or placebo, t.i.d. for 8 weeks. Body weight, resting metabolic rate (RMR), waist to hip ratio (WHR), body mass index (BMI), and sum of girths were measured. Fourteen subjects completed the study: 1 withdrew because of lack of interest; 1 encountered food poisoning; and 4 were dropped because of missed follow-up appointments. The treatment was well tolerated and side effects were transient. The most common side effects were insomnia and tremor. Withdrawal symptoms included headaches and tiredness. Change in body weight was -2.8 ± 2.4 kg (mean ± SD) after ephedrine/caffeine treatment and 0.5 ± 1.1 kg after placebo treatment (p<0.001). Body Mass Index (BMI) was 33.0 ± 5.4 kg/m² after treatment and 33.8 ± 5.9 kg/m² after placebo (p<0.001). There were no significant differences in RMR, WHR, and sum of girths. The results of this study show that an ephedrine/caffeine combination is able to promote weight loss without diet restriction and exercise.

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