The effect of ephedrine/caffeine mixture on energy expenditure and body composition in obese women

Metabolism. 1992 Jul;41(7):686-8. doi: 10.1016/0026-0495(92)90304-s.


Treatment with beta 2-agonists promotes fat loss and muscle growth in numerous species, but human studies are lacking. We studied the effect of a compound with beta 2-agonistic properties (ephedrine 20 mg/caffeine 200 mg [E + C]). Fourteen obese women were treated with a 4.2-MJ/d diet and either E + C or placebo (P) three times per day for 8 weeks in a double-blind study. Weight-loss was not different in the groups, but the E + C group lost 4.5 kg more body fat and 2.8 kg less fat-free mass (FFM). The decrease in 24-hour energy expenditure (EE) seen in the P group was 10% at day 1 and 13% at day 56, but was only 7% and 8% in the treated group (P = .044). The higher EE in the E +C group was entirely covered by fat oxidation. These findings provide evidence that promotion of fat loss and preservation of FFM during weight reduction may also be achieved pharmacologically in humans.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Caffeine / pharmacology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Ephedrine / administration & dosage*
  • Ephedrine / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism*


  • Caffeine
  • Ephedrine