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What is the ECA Stack?

By Amanda Dean
Updated Feb 04, 2024
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An ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin (ECA) stack combines several medications to create a heavy-duty weight-loss pill. The drugs act as energy-boosters, fat-burners, and appetite-suppressants. Sometimes the ECA stack is marketed as an individual pill, or users can create their own concoction by taking individual pills with the active ingredients. Some people report significant weight-loss success with these drugs, but they can be a dangerous combination.

The purpose of ephedrine in the ECA stack is to speed up the metabolism and encourage fat burning. It is the most powerful drug in the ECA stack combination. Ephedrine works by directing the body to release norepeneprine. This hormone increases heart rate, opens the airways, and causes an overall state of arousal. Ephedrine was taken heavily in the 1990s because many users experienced significant weight loss. It can work as a weight-loss drug alone, in an ECA stack, or when combined with other stimulants and vitamins.

Ephedrine can cause high blood pressure, strokes, or heart attacks in high doses. The brain-stimulating nature of this drug can lead to addiction or dependence. In 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned ephedrine in the form of a weight-loss supplement. Ephedrine is still available over-the-counter in American pharmacies as a cold, asthma, or bronchitis remedy. Some weight-loss enthusiasts use other drugs in the place of ephedrine when stacking medications.

Caffeine and aspirin, the other drugs in the ECA stack, are legal and readily available. The role of caffeine in weight loss is to suppress the appetite, increase calorie metabolism, and eliminate water from the body. For many years, it has been the primary ingredient in over-the-counter weight-loss pills. This drug is common in foods and beverages, but is typically used in pill form when it is part of an ECA stack.

The role of aspirin is to coat the stomach and act as a prostaglandin inhibitor. People who use it in an ECA stack believe that it counteracts some of the negative effects of ephedrine and caffeine. Some consider it to be an optional part of this weight-loss concoction, and still others consider it to be counterproductive. Other vitamins and nutritional supplements are sometimes added to the ECA stack.

Some may find an ECA stack helpful in losing weight. Most people suggest some level of moderation, such as using an ECA stack every other day. Combining medications can be dangerous. Anyone interested in trying a weight-loss drug or concoction should check with their doctors before beginning treatment.

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