What are the roles of ephedrine and caffeine in the treatment of obesity?

Updated: Jun 09, 2021
  • Author: Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Romesh Khardori, MD, PhD, FACP  more...
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Answer

Ephedrine and caffeine are second-line options in the medical management of obesity. They both act by increasing energy expenditure, but they are associated with the potential for tachycardia, hypertension, and palpitations. These medications are associated with greater weight loss when used in combination than when used alone. They cause 25-40% of their weight loss by inducing thermogenesis, but they also decrease food intake, which accounts for 60-75% of the weight-loss effect.

Currently, the evidence for the efficacy of these 2 drugs in promoting weight loss is inconclusive. Neither substance has an FDA-approved indication for the treatment of obesity.


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