Ephedrine & Sports
Some sports organizations ban the use of ephedrine and psuedoephedrine. The National Football League banned ephedrine in 2001. Currently both ephedrine and psuedoephedrine are banned by the International Olympic Committee, but under a plan developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency, psuedoephedrine (and caffeine) was permitted as of January 1, 2004.
The National Football League, minor league baseball, the NCAA, the Olympic community and the U.S. Military ban the use of ephedra products. The state of Illinois prohibits the sell of ephedra altogether, while more than one dozen states regulate the sale of the supplement in some fashion.
The death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Belcher in March 2003 was linked to his use of ephedrine-based suppliments. Some say Belcher's death is a direct result of his use of ephedrine. Others say that Belcher took more than the recommended dosage of ephedrine and had a number of other factors working again him. Those claims include the following: he Was overweight and out of shape; he was not yet accustomed to the warm, humid weather in South Florida; he Was on a semi-liquid diet, and that he had had high blood pressure and abnormal liver functions prior to taking any ephedrine based supplements.
In July 2003, Belcher's widow Kiley (and her lawyer, David Meiselman) filed suit in federal court seeking $600 million in compensation against Cytodyne Technologies of New Jersey (the distributor of the dietary supplement Xenadrine RFA-1), its president (Robert Chinery), and manufacturer Phoenix Laboratories of New York. Additionally, the lawsuit sought to ban the sale of products containing ephedra nationwide (which happened in early 2004 due to a ruling by the FDA).