Extracrion of ephedrine from pills

Gui316

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Hey people! This is my first thread here, I have done a lot of search about ephedrine extraction, but i couldn't find answers for my questions, so here we go:

I like to take ephedrine, it awakes me up and helps me getting through my day. I live in Brazil, and ephedrine is only avaible in combinatios with acetaminofen. As far as I know, that is nasty stuff, bad for your liver. And since I love beer, mixing both might be a little bit dangerous. Well, I'm not sure, I just want to remove all the crap from the pills, and be left with ephedrine. I have found some ways of extracting ephedrine from pills. A/B extraction and extraction with methanol, acetone and toluene. The A/B looks a little bit weird, because ephedrine base is slightly polar due to the hydroxyl I think, and it is soluble in water....I'm not sure if it would work at all...And the solvent extraction...Well...I don't have acess to methanol, but I can easily get 100% ethanol from pharmacies. Acetone is only avaible as a mixture with ethanol, benzophenone, some kind of seed oil and a corant. Can I use it? I think that maybe distilling the solution with a vigreux column would work good, right? And about the toluene...This one is a problem...Nonpolar solvents here are impossible from obtaining. I can get some impure hexane, distilled from some kind of cleaning oil for cars. I have acess to querosene and a little bit of petroleum ether. Ether is like impossible to get. They don't sell starting fluids here I think. I have checked some huge supermarkets, but I couldn't get any. In this case, what am I supposed to do? Ohh, and by the way, those are the impurities of the pills:
Starch, pregelatinized starch, sodium starch glycolate, cellulose, titanium dioxide, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, macrogol and polysorbate 80.
 

polymath

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To remove the acetaminophen, you could just do a cold-water extraction, like with codeine-acetaminophen pills. Ephedrine hydrochloride is soluble even in cold water.
 

Gui316

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That sounds cool. I have already tried this, but I'm left with some little sludge on the filter and with a very very cloudy solution. I would like to be left with some beautiful white cristals of pseudo.
 

Gui316

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Just another little question: Would chloroform be a better solvent for ephedrine base than water?
 

polymath

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AFAIK, chloroform reacts with ephedrine base, producing phosgene which is a toxic chemical warfare gas... You should use some other nonpolar solvent, even gasoline if nothing else is available.

Are you sure the stuff you have is ephedrine and not pseudoephedrine? Pseudo doesn't have any stimulant CNS effects, in fact it made me rather drowsy when I took about 100mg.
 

NeighborhoodThreat

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Indeed. There is a big difference between ephedrine and pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is only desired if you're using it to make methamphetamine (discussion regarding which is prohibited here). Ephedrine, on the other hand, is a stimulant in its own right and I can see the desire to remove the APAP from it.

Just do a CWE.
 

Gui316

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Well, there is nothing on the box that mentions the pseudo thingy.
 

Gui316

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Well, lets pretend that I make an aqueous solution with the pills, add hexane and basify the solution using sodium hydroxide, and then bubble HCl through the hexane solution. Would it work? Is this process effective?
 

sekio

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AFAIK, chloroform reacts with ephedrine base, producing phosgene which is a toxic chemical warfare gas..

Really? I thought it was the prefered solvent for ephedrine.

I'm not sure how well hexane will work, it's recommended to use toluene or chloroform.
 

polymath

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sekio

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maybe chloroform degrades (oxidises) to phosgene given enough energy to do so.

I think this thread should be closed, how hard can it really be to extract ephedrine? Google search!
 

Gui316

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Well, I have done a lot of research on Google, but I could not find a suitable method that could actually be used here, due to the lack of materials. I was just wondering if I could use anything else other than the solvents suggested.

And I have some turpentine here. Wich one would be better to extract ephedrine base?Hexane or turpentine?
 
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Gui316

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Someone have sugested to use alcohol as the solvent for the ephedrine base. Maybe pentan-1-ol, because it is not soluble in water, yet, a little bit polar from the OH from the alcohols. Ephedrine is a alcohol as well, so I guess if that would work.
 

sekio

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Well, I have done a lot of research on Google, but I could not find a suitable method that could actually be used here, due to the lack of materials.

I suggest you go no further, it is likely to fuck your extraction up something awful...

Don't use turpentine as a solvent for anything but paint by the way.
 

TheAzo

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Never heard of ephedrine being mixed with APAP. Around here it's mixed with guiafenisen, i know there was a way to dissolve out that and leave the ephedrine behind (forget what I used for that, it was back when I liked stimulants, so quite a while ago).

I don't have my copy of the Merck index handy, or i'd do this for you - The Merck index usually has brief notes about solubility in it. Probably has enough to figure out something that would work for extraction to separate the two. An A/B would work, as the APAP would be left behind (being an amide rather than an amine), but ugh, that's a lot of work, especially on a small scale. Since you don't need clean ephedrine, just ephedrine free of APAP, you can probably get away without having to do an A/B, just exploiting solubility differences.
 

Alcyone

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Ephedrine hydrochloride: Freely sol in water; sol in alcohol. Practically insol in ether (Merck Index, 13th ed). Soluble 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 of water and 1 in 7 to 1 in 14 of ethanol; very slightly soluble in chloroform, practically insoluble in ether (Clarke's Analysis of Drugs and Poisons, 3rd ed).

Ephedrine sulfate: Freely sol in water, sparingly sol in alcohol (Merck). Soluble 1 in 1.3 of water and 1 in 90 of ethanol (Clarke).

Ephedrine base, hemihydrate: Sol in water, alcohol, chloroform, ether (Merck). Soluble 1 in 20 of water and 1 in less than 1 of ethanol; soluble in chloroform with turbidity owing to separation of water; soluble in ether (Clarke).

Ephedrine base, anhydrous: Soluble 1 in 20 of water; very soluble in ethanol; soluble in chloroform; freely soluble in ether (Clarke).
 

TheAzo

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Ephedrine hydrochloride: Freely sol in water; sol in alcohol. Practically insol in ether (Merck Index, 13th ed). Soluble 1 in 3 to 1 in 4 of water and 1 in 7 to 1 in 14 of ethanol; very slightly soluble in chloroform, practically insoluble in ether (Clarke's Analysis of Drugs and Poisons, 3rd ed).

Ephedrine sulfate: Freely sol in water, sparingly sol in alcohol (Merck). Soluble 1 in 1.3 of water and 1 in 90 of ethanol (Clarke).

... 1 in 3? as in 1 gram in 3g / 3ml water?

Then why not just use water? APAP in water is only like 12mg/ml isn't it?
 

Alcyone

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Probably to some extent, but the extraction yield would be quite poor. Ephedrine is fairly polar and doesn't extract well with non-polar solvents. Ethyl acetate works, but it absorbs a lot of water and all sorts of crap. TBME is great.

I'm assuming you mean in an alkaline extraction.
 
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