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Metabolism. 1986 Mar;35(3):260-5.

The effect of chronic ephedrine treatment on substrate utilization, the sympathoadrenal activity, and energy expenditure during glucose-induced thermogenesis in man.


Chronic ephedrine treatment of man has recently been found to enhance the thermogenic response to an acute dose of ephedrine. Conceivably, this sensitization to beta-adrenergic stimulation might also affect the facultative component of diet-induced thermogenesis. The glucose-induced thermogenesis (GIT) was studied in five healthy female subjects after 3 months of chronic peroral ephedrine treatment. Similar experiments 3 months after cessation of treatment served as controls. During chronic ephedrine treatment a sustained 10% elevation of the metabolic rate was found compared to that in the control study. Plasma epinephrine levels were increased 87% during treatment. These increases tended to be positively correlated (r = 0.54, P less than 0.07). GIT expressed as a percentage of the ingested energy load was unaltered during chronic ephedrine treatment compared with that in the control study (9.0% v 8.9%). The respiratory quotient (RQ) indicate that relatively more lipid was oxidized during chronic ephedrine treatment than in the control study. This change was observed in the fasting state as well as after glucose administration. Certain effects of ephedrine seems to be appropriate to a thermogenic drug for the treatment of obesity: A single dose of ephedrine stimulates thermogenesis, an effect that is enhanced during chronic treatment; Chronic treatment elevates the metabolic rate; and The substrate utilization is changed in favor of lipid oxidation.

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