Ephedra AER Expert Steven Karch, MD Releases Analysis of New Communications


WASHINGTON (August 22, 2002) – Dr. Steven Karch, one of the foremost medical authorities on ephedra adverse event reports, released an analysis of the new health communications on ephedra and called the rush to judgment on its safety “unfounded.” Dr. Karch, a cardiac pathologist and medical examiner, has recently reviewed the HealthLine communications released by Metabolife, a leading manufacturer of ephedra dietary supplements.

“The assumption these new reports provide any scientific basis regarding the safety of Ephedra is unfounded,” stated Dr. Steven Karch. “The data from the reports is absolutely inconclusive and provides no evidence that the use of Metabolife 356 is associated with any significant health risks.”

According to Dr. Karch’s analysis, the HealthLine logged approximately 12,685 pages of contact records from 1997 to September 2001 but only approximately 89 call reports alleged a significant side effect. This represents less than 1 percent of the total contact records made to the HealthLine.

After reviewing the recently released health communications, Dr. Karch states in his analysis, “the only reasonable conclusions are that (1) the data contained in these records is insufficient to demonstrate any pattern of significant side effects resulting from the use of Metabolife’s 356 product; (2) the HealthLine records contain no data suggesting any reason to suppose that use of this product, in recommended doses, poses any significant health or safety hazards; and, (3) safety assessments need to be based on controlled clinical trials, not on the sort of insubstantial information contained in these contact records.”

For a copy of Dr. Karch’s analysis, you can visit www.EphedraFacts.com.


About Steven Karch, MD
Dr. Steven Karch is a cardiac pathologist and assistant medical examiner from San Francisco with specific expertise in the cardiac toxicity of catecholamines, including ephedrine and ephedrine alkaloids derived from Ephedra. He has reviewed the recently released health communications by Metabolife as well as reviewed all reports of serious cardiac events, and the published literature relevant to Ephedra and its effects on the heart from previously released AERs.

About the Ephedra Education Council
The Ephedra Education Council (EEC) is supported primarily by members of the Ephedra Committee of the American Herbal Products Association, a recognized leader in promoting the safe and responsible marketing of dietary supplements. The Council provides factual information to the media and public about dietary supplements containing Ephedra. For more information, logon to www.EphedraFacts.com.

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