Ephedrine and its metabolites are naturally occurring alkaloids which can be derived from evergreens worldwide and have been used as medicinals for hundreds of years. Because they have pharmacological alpha and beta catecholamine effects and are natural products, the alternative medicine industry has popularized them for multiple uses including asthma, weight loss, energy and sexual enhancement, and euphoria. Several recent reviews have documented the dangerous nature of using these compounds unsupervised, including multiple deaths, and the FDA is currently reviewing ephedrine's use in the alternative medicine industry. We report a new toxicity, ephedrine nephrolithiasis, in a patient using an energy supplement, Ma-Huang extract, which contains ephedrine. Although previously not reported, the Louis C. Herring and Company kidney stone database demonstrates that there is an endemic complication of ephedrine with hundreds of previous episodes. Using GC Mass Spectrometry we were able to positively identify the chemical structure of our patients stone, as well as other similar stones from Louis Herring, as containing ephedrine, norephedrine, and pseudoephedrine.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Center for Research Resources (NCRR)
Type
Biotechnology Resource Grants (P41)
Project #
5P41RR000954-22
Application #
6118578
Study Section
Project Start
1998-08-01
Project End
1999-07-31
Budget Start
1997-10-01
Budget End
1998-09-30
Support Year
22
Fiscal Year
1998
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Washington University
Department
Type
DUNS #
062761671
City
Saint Louis
State
MO
Country
United States
Zip Code
63130
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