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Endocr Pract. 2008 Sep;14(6):697-703.

Treatment of hypothalamic obesity with caffeine and ephedrine.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.



To investigate the hypothesis that the peripheral actions of caffeine and ephedrine to increase sympathetic tone and metabolic rate and to preserve lean tissue will cause weight loss in patients with hypothalamic obesity.


We present 3 case studies of consecutive patients who presented with hypothalamic obesity and were treated with caffeine (200 mg) and ephedrine hydrochloride (25 mg) 3 times a day.


All patients were gaining weight at the time of initial assessment. The first patient lost 8% to 9% of her body weight and maintained that loss for the subsequent 2 years. The second patient lost 18.8% of her body weight and was maintaining a 9.5% weight loss after 6 years. The third patient lost 14% of her body weight during a 6-month period and gradually returned to her baseline weight during a period of 5 years, after which she was referred for bariatric surgical treatment.


These 3 patients with hypothalamic obesity, who had been steadily gaining weight, lost a mean of 13.9% of their body weight, and 2 of them maintained weight loss for a period of years. Thus, caffeine and ephedrine appeared to halt weight gain and maintain a clinically significant weight loss in 2 of our 3 patients. A randomized clinical trial to confirm these findings would be appropriate but difficult because of the rarity of this disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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