Ephedrine and alcohol

I have a bodybuilder friend who, against my advice, is taking an ECY stack to help him rip down for some pictures. He takes 25mg Ephedrine + 200mg Caffeine + 50mg Yohimbe twice a day with breakfast and lunch. Once a week, he likes to stop at the pub on the way home from work and have a vodka tonic while he shoots pool. The question he asked is if there are possible drug interactions with the Ephedrine and the vodka.

The only information I have found is anecdotal and seems to involve college kids taking large amounts of Ephedrine for the buzz and then following it up with alcohol for the same reason, which is obviously not a good idea. He’s a facts and figures guy so “not recommended” isn’t going to cut it with him unless I can cite some facts and figures or a definite authoritative source.

He’s been doing this for a couple of weeks and doesn’t seem to be having any problems but he was wondering if there could be liver damage happening behind the scenes, as it were.


I am not a doctor nor a medical professional,

I do not know that much about ephedrine, except that it acts as a vasoconstrictor. Which is a bad thing™ in this case. I would be worried about the 400mg caffeine combined with alcohol. Both are dieuretics. If a person is trying to slim down, they might be also cutting down liquids (perhaps inadvertantly). That can cause electrolyte problems, and possibly stroke, especially if combined with a vasoconstrictor such as ephedrine. I’ll try to dig up some cites if I have time, but googling “red bull vodka death” should give you a head start.

Thanks for the response, but I think you misread what I said. The 400mg of caffeine is 200mg in the morning and 200mg at noon. Then a couple of drinks five hours later. Not a case of caffeine + alcohol unless you believe that having a couple of cups of coffee at breakfast and then at lunch means you shouldn’t have any alcohol for the rest of the day.

I’m not sure how you figure that it must be the caffeine in Red Bull that is the causative agent (if there is one) in the Red Bull death stories. Check the amount of caffeine in Red Bull versus the amount of caffeine in drip coffee:

If caffeine were the causative agent in the Red Bull death stories, why aren’t we reading about Irish Coffee deaths as well?

The biological half-life of caffeine tends to vary. Something I’ve read recently(but now I can’t find it) puts it at 6-10 hours in 99% of cases but 4-100 hours in 100% of cases. Of course the extra long half life is connected with some other substances and hormones(namely being pregnant), but it cannot be ruled out that something else he is taking (for example, grape fruit juice or the ephedrine) can unpredictably change the half-life of caffeine. With the extreme of 100 hours, 400 mg in the morning is ALMOST the same 400mg in the afternoon.

My WAG would be that you are unlikely to drink 6-8 irish coffees. I have, however, seen people drink 6-8 red bull vodkas. Even if you consider that there’s probably a shot of vodka and a third of a can of red bull in each, that’s still a considerable amount of alcohol and caffeine. I honestly don’t know enough about the red bull death stories to say how much and of what these people consumed(I don’t think anybody does).

I don’t want to give bad advice, or even pretend to have any kind of medican expertise, but from everything I’ve read (and I read a lot of things, and pay attention to how reputable the source is, but often I remember the information but don’t remember if it came from a medical journal or a message board, so take it with a grain of salt) - 25mg of pure Ephedrine is not an obscene dose. It is generally the OTC amount for bronchodilation to be taken every 4 hours. The oral LD50 of Ephedrine in mice is 400mg/kg.

HOWEVER, his supplement probably does not contain 25mg of pure Ephedrine HCL. It contains 25mg of “standardized ephedrine alkaloids” which probably consists of an unknown cocktail of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, norephedrine, and cathine from the Ephedra plant. The interactions between these alkaloids and their actions in the body when taken together are not very well known, and could have unwanted side effects.

from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/ephedraandephedrine.asp

Hope this helps.

Thanks for the links. I’ve been trying to convince him that taking ephedrine for fat loss is a bad idea on the face of it, but I haven’t been getting very far. I think he should just take more time and plan his nutrition program more carefully. It’s more than a little ironic that someone who believes one of the reasons he works out is to “be healthier” is willing to take a dubious substance for a dubious reason. This guy is a gym rat and I suspect he works out to meet psychological needs more than for the training effects on his body. Oh well, and thanks again.