Clenbuterol, a sympathomimetic amine, came into fame for its use as a decongestant and bronchodilation agent used in the treatment of asthma and chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases. It has recently found use as a performance enhancing product by athletes and for weight loss. It has however been found to expose its users to various side effects.
Some of the top Clenbuterol side effects are the short term effects cause by the increased activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Clenbuterol mimics adrenaline and causes a fight or flight response in the body. There is increased anxiety, heavy sweating, tremors, difficulty breathing, a dry mouth and muscle cramps. This is mediated by the fact that Clenbuterol causes smooth muscle relaxation while it causes skeletal muscles to contract, bringing about tremors and an increased heart rate.
The long term effect that is most worrisome is the effect on the cardiovascular system. Due to the vasoconstrictive effect on blood vessels, there is increased blood pressure. Clenbuterol increases the synthesis of collagen and its deposition on the heart, this leads to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The heart is big and has reduced volume capacity. The heart is at risk of developing arrhythmias and myocardial infarction. With prolonged use after the development of these long term effects, some people have progressed to have heart failure and in some cases sudden cardiac death.
A dosage of 120 micrograms of Clenbuterol and above, results in overdosage. The symptoms due to overdosage are similar to those associated with short term use. In addition, there are electrolyte imbalances such as hypophosphatemia and hypokalemia. This leads to diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and strokes.
Despite these numerous side effects, Clenbuterol is still the most common drug used for weight loss. It is available for the treatment of asthma without a prescription in some countries.