What is Pseudoephedrine? What You Need to Know (2023)


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In this day and age, people are using everything they can get their hands on to get high or try something different. Just look at the Tide Pod Challenge that once took social media by storm. It seemed like a fun and exciting idea for those who engaged in it. People really wanted to be involved in it. Social media seemed to show the fun that people were having with the experiment. But, it may not have shown how the challenge was sending hundreds of teenagers to the Emergency Room. Just like all of the other harmful drugs and products-made-drugs that people have used, pseudoephedrine can be found in a number of over the counter medications It can be extremely dangerous when taken in high doses. It acts as a stimulant. This causes some people to begin to abuse it in order to be awake and get a rush of energy.

What is Pseudoephedrine? What You Need to Know (1)It’s true that pseudoephedrine is a stimulant. But, medically, it is commonly used to shrink mucous membranes that often become inflamed due to allergies or a cold. This is why you can find it in a number of allergy and cold medications including Aleve, Allegra, Claritin, Mucinex, and Zyrtec. Although a lot of individuals only use it for medicinal purposes, some have found themselves abusing and misusing the substance. Many individuals purposely take an excessive amount of these medications to achieve a high similar to other stimulants like cocaine. In large doses, it will cause a sudden rush of energy, excitability, and hyperactivity. On the downside, taking this drug in excess can cause a rapid heartbeat and increased blood pressure which can lead to heart and cardiovascular issues. The effects of pseudoephedrine abuse can be very intense, so it’s important for individuals to go through a prescription drug rehab program.

About Pseudoephedrine Abuse

What is Pseudoephedrine? What You Need to Know (2)It is believed that pseudoephedrine has a very low chance of becoming addicting. This substance does not have the same properties as opioids or even alcohol that make the user want more. It doesn’t create the same dependence. But abusing it can still be extremely dangerous. Even if the user does not become physically addicted to the drug, he or she can become mentally or emotionally addicted to it. Many do not understand that addiction isn’t just a matter of the body craving a drug or alcohol. Substance abuse and addiction are also characterized by an emotional and mental connection to the individual’s drug of choice. So, when it comes to the use of pseudoephedrine, individuals may or may not be physically dependent on the drug. But, they may become attached and connected to the substance, thinking and feeling that they want more and more. This can create a regular habit which can lead to a number of health issues.

(Video) Ephedrine vs Pseudoephedrine || Similarities and differences

Why are People Becoming Addicted to Pseudoephedrine?

So, if abusing this substance can cause such terrible effects, why do people abuse it? Well, there are a few reasons why people use and, eventually, begin to abuse pseudoephedrine. For one, remember how we mentioned that people sometimes experiment with substances in order to “get high”? Sometimes, that’s the case with those who start misusing this particular substance. Pseudoephedrine can cause a sense of euphoria. It causes a pleasant feeling in the body of the user. Many of the individuals who use this substance frequently do so because of these pleasurable effects. So, it can be hard for individuals to stop using the substance. After all, it’s difficult to stop using something that makes them feel good. The individual may be completely aware of the negative impact substance abuse can have on his or her body. But, because the person is mentally, emotionally, or even physically addicted to the substance, it becomes hard to end the problematic usage.

Why You Should Avoid Abusing This Substance

But, the use of this substance can cause various health problems. In some situations, pseudoephedrine can cause an increase in blood pressure. It can also cause bowel problems. For some individuals, it has even caused appendicitis. This substance has also been known to cause hallucinations, convulsions, and other problems in the nervous system even with small or regular doses. Pseudoephedrine abuse can also cause other serious and uncomfortable symptoms. Some of the effects of the abuse of this substance could include the following:What is Pseudoephedrine? What You Need to Know (3)

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Paranoia
  • Weight loss
  • Restlessness
  • Increased anxiety
  • State of confusion
  • Cognitive problems
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Weakness in the muscles
  • Sleeplessness (insomnia)
  • Tightness in the chest area

These symptoms could be the results of pseudoephedrine misuse. And, if a person experiences them, it can negatively impact his or her everyday life. This is why prescription drug rehab is so important. Individuals

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A Possible Gateway to Methamphetamine Use

Until now, you may have only thought of pseudoephedrine as an ingredient of over-the-counter medications. But it is also important to point out that pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient that characterizes meth, an extremely addictive and harmful drug. So, it can be easy for someone to start using something innocent like Sudafed, begin abusing it, and slowly gravitate towards meth use. Meth, also known as methamphetamine, is extremely habit forming and is incredibly difficult to give up. It is very possible for a person who has had a Sudafed addiction to eventually turn to the use of meth. Keep in mind that one form of substance abuse can definitely lead to another type of drug use. Even if an individual doesn’t begin to use another substance, he or she will still feel the negative effects of substance dependence. So, it’s absolutely important to be careful about how you use pseudoephedrine.

Being Careful with a Pseudoephedrine Prescription

What is Pseudoephedrine? What You Need to Know (4)Of course, this does not mean that you can never take any of the drugs that contain this substance. In fact, many of them are helpful and can make a world of difference for someone suffering from allergies or a cold. They will not usually cause addiction or substance abuse if they are taken at the right dose. However, when the recommended dose is exceeded, it can create a number of unpleasant side effects, including the “high” that some people are chasing. Also, if you are taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, it is important to be especially careful about using anything that contains pseudoephedrine. When combined with an MAO inhibitor, it can cause malignant hypertension. This is a serious condition that can cause your organs to shut down. It’s critical to keep the dangers of using drugs that could cause harm to you, even if they are medications. These meds could contain pseudoephedrine and lead to very serious consequences.

It is essential to get help if you or someone you know is abusing this drug. Alone, it can cause problems. Even if you get by physically and don’t have any symptoms, it can be the beginning of a downward spiral filled with addiction. That is not something that anyone wants to face throughout their life.

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There are many California treatment programs that can help people overcome substance dependence. But, as you search for help in recovering from a drug abuse problem, it’s important to find the right prescription drug rehab program for you. Your needs are unique and your journey to recovery will be unique. Amongst the luxury treatment centers throughout the area, Wellness Retreat Recovery Center stands as a place of hope for those who are suffering from substance dependence. So, if you suspect someone else may be abusing a drug like Sudafed, help them get help. It is especially important to be vigilant with teenagers and young adults. They are particularly susceptible to peer pressure and trying new things. And, their young bodies can take an especially hard hit from the drug abuse. Also, getting help can prevent a lifetime of addiction struggles.

What is Pseudoephedrine? What You Need to Know (5)

Pseudoephedrine abuse is not something to be taken lightly. Even if it is just used one or two times, this drug can have negative health consequences. You should never take more than the recommended dose. And, if you think you have a problem, it’s important to speak to someone about your struggle. You don’t have to fight substance dependence and addiction on your own. Hope and help are available for you through treatment and recovery. With help from those who understand your needs as you recover, you can find your way to a life of total freedom from drug abuse. You deserve to live in liberty and peace. We want to make sure you are able to do just that. If you’ve been looking for helpful California treatment programs, rest assured that the search is over. Just, give us a call today to begin your journey to recovery.

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**Originally posted on December 20, 2018. Updated on March 15, 2019.


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What is pseudoephedrine explained? ›

Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal congestion caused by colds, allergies, and hay fever. It is also used to temporarily relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Pseudoephedrine will relieve symptoms but will not treat the cause of the symptoms or speed recovery.

What are three 3 teaching points for the pseudoephedrine? ›

For patients taking pseudoephedrine extended-release capsules:
  • Swallow the capsule whole. However, if the capsule is too large to swallow, you may mix the contents of the capsule with jam or jelly and swallow without chewing.
  • Do not crush or chew before swallowing.
Feb 1, 2023

What are the requirements for pseudoephedrine? ›

Daily purchase limits of 3.6 grams (approximately a 15-day supply) per day and 9 grams per 30-day period. To purchase you must present a government–issued identification and sign a logbook, usually electronic, which can be accessible by law enforcement at any time.

What drug class is pseudoephedrine? ›

Pseudoephedrine (PSE) is a sympathomimetic drug of the phenethylamine and amphetamine chemical classes.

What is pseudoephedrine best for? ›

Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, sinusitis, and hay fever and other respiratory allergies. It is also used to relieve ear congestion caused by ear inflammation or infection.

What is an example of pseudoephedrine? ›

Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) Other brand names: Galpseud, Boots Decongestant, Care Decongestant.

What can you not mix with pseudoephedrine? ›

Pseudoephedrine can interact with medications that affect the brain. These include tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), some types of headache medications, and caffeine. It's best to avoid interactions with pseudoephedrine. If needed, your healthcare provider can help suggest safer alternatives.

What is the risk of pseudoephedrine? ›

Pseudoephedrine-containing medicines have a known risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular ischaemic events (side effects involving ischaemia in the heart and brain), including stroke and heart attack. Restrictions and warnings are already included in the medicines' product information to reduce these risks.

What are side effects of pseudoephedrine? ›

Common side effects
  • Feeling or being sick. Try taking pseudoephedrine with or after a meal or snack. ...
  • Headaches. Make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. ...
  • A dry mouth. Chew sugar-free gum or suck sugar-free sweets.
  • Feeling restless, nervous or shaky. ...
  • Difficulty sleeping.

Does pseudoephedrine raise blood pressure? ›

One pseudoephedrine side effect is a possible increase in blood pressure. In general, this increase is minimal in people with controlled high blood pressure. But prior studies found a small percent of people had marked increases in blood pressure.

Why pseudoephedrine is banned? ›

Pseudoephedrine can be misused as an ingredient for the illicit manufacture of methamphetamines. In 2005, the FDA created the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act, which banned over-the-counter sales of cold medicines that included the ingredient pseudoephedrine, requiring them to be sold behind the counter.

How long do you have to wait to take pseudoephedrine? ›

Always leave at least 4 hours between doses. Do not take 2 doses to make up for a missed one.

Is mucinex a pseudoephedrine? ›

Mucinex D (guaifenesin / pseudoephedrine) contains guaifenesin and pseudoephedrine to help with stuffy nose and chest congestion. In particular, pseudoephedrine often works within 30 minutes after taking.

How long does pseudoephedrine last? ›

The decongestant effect of pseudoephedrine is noticeable within 30 minutes of oral administration and reaches a peak within one to two hours. One immediate-release tablet of pseudoephedrine lasts anywhere from three to eight hours. Single doses of 60mg pseudoephedrine are effective at relieving congestion.

Is pseudoephedrine a strong stimulant? ›

Pseudoephedrine (PSE) is a drug with a long history of medical use; it is helpful in treating symptoms of the common cold and flu, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis. Due to its central nervous system (CNS) stimulant properties and structural similarity to amphetamine, it is also used for non-medical purposes.

Is pseudoephedrine good for sleep? ›

No. If possible, try to avoid taking medications like Sudafed before bed. They can make it harder to fall asleep. By taking them earlier in the day — or at least a few hours before bed — they're less likely to cause insomnia.

Will pseudoephedrine keep me awake? ›

Side effects of pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) include anxiety and headache. This medication might also keep you awake at night if you take it too close to bedtime.

Is pseudoephedrine a painkiller? ›

Pseudoephedrine is used for the temporary relief of stuffy nose and sinus pain/pressure caused by infection (such as the common cold, flu) or other breathing illnesses (such as hay fever, allergies, bronchitis). Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant (sympathomimetic).

What is the brand name for pseudoephedrine over-the-counter? ›

Pseudoephedrine also temporarily relieves sinus congestion and pressure. Pseudoephedrine is available under the following different brand names: Sudafed, Nexafed, and Zephrex-D.

What OTC drugs have pseudoephedrine? ›

Description and Brand Names
  • 12 Hour Cold Maximum Strength.
  • Biofed.
  • Cenafed.
  • Chlor-Trimeton Nasal Decongestant.
  • Contac 12-Hour.
  • Dimetapp Decongestant.
  • Efidac 24 Pseudoephedrine.
  • ElixSure Congestion Childrens.
Feb 1, 2023

What is the difference between pseudoephedrine and Sudafed? ›

Sudafed contains pseudoephedrine, while Sudafed PE contains phenylephrine. The drugs are also available in several combinations with other over-the-counter cough and cold medications. These drugs are both nasal decongestants.

Who should avoid pseudoephedrine? ›

Who may not be able to take pseudoephedrine
  • ever had an allergic reaction to pseudoephedrine or any other medicine.
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • heart disease.
  • taken medicines for depression known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) in the last 2 weeks.
  • diabetes.
  • an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism)

What pain reliever can I take with pseudoephedrine? ›

Ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine combination is used to relieve symptoms of cold or flu, including body aches and pains, fever, headache, or stuffy nose. Ibuprofen is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is used in this combination to relieve inflammation, swelling, and pain.

Can you take pseudoephedrine with blood pressure medication? ›

Do not take a decongestant if you have severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure. Names of decongestants include: Pseudoephedrine. Ephedrine.

What does pseudoephedrine do to the brain? ›

Ones containing pseudoephedrine are being reviewed because they may cause vessels supplying the brain to contract or spasm, reducing blood flow. The concern is this could lead to seizures and even a stroke. However, drug regulators stress the likelihood of this happening is extremely low.

Does pseudoephedrine raise heart? ›

Pseudoephedrine was found to cause a statistically significant increase in systolic BP (WMD 0.99 mmHg, 95% CI: 0.08, 1.90) and HR (2.83 beats/minute, 95% CI: 2.03, 3.63) compared with placebo.

Why does pseudoephedrine make me feel weird? ›

Sudafed PE may make you feel unusual nervousness or anxiety. That's because decongestants can have a stimulant effect on your brain. This can make you feel nervous or agitated in some cases. If you feel like your heart is racing, that could also be a sign of anxiety.

Is it OK to take pseudoephedrine every day? ›

Take this medicine only as directed. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer period of time than recommended on the label (usually 7 days), unless otherwise directed by your doctor. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

What is the best decongestant for someone with high blood pressure? ›

Coricidin ® HBP is the #1 selling brand of powerful cold medicine specially formulated for those with high blood pressure. Nasal decongestants in common cold medications may raise one's blood pressure. Nasal decongestants relieve nasal congestion by constricting blood vessels in the nose.

What is the best sinus medicine for high blood pressure? ›

If you have a history of high blood pressure, there are cold medications specifically designed for you. One such medication is Coricidin HBP and doesn't contain a decongestant. Another option for nasal congestion is to use nasal sprays which do not affect blood pressure.
  • Pseudoephedrine.
  • Ephedrine.
  • Phenylephrine.

Does pseudoephedrine affect heart rate? ›

We conclude that pseudoephedrine modestly increases SBP and HR. These effects are greatest in magnitude with immediate-release formulations, higher doses of medication, and short-term medication administration.

Is pseudoephedrine for COVID? ›

Managing Cough and Shortness of Breath

Over-the-counter medications used for upper respiratory infections may help alleviate symptoms. Those medications include guaifenesin (Mucinex), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and dextromethorphan (Robitussin, Delsym).

Is Sudafed still made with pseudoephedrine? ›

The active ingredient in Sudafed is pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant. Sudafed PE is also a nasal decongestant, but it contains phenylephrine. While these active ingredients are slightly different, they work in a similar way.

What is a good natural decongestant? ›

Try rubbing diluted eucalyptus oil on the chest as a decongestant, or inhale eucalyptus or peppermint oil to clear stuffiness. Adding lavender, cedar, or lemon to steam may also soothe nasal passages. Inhaling menthol not only provides relief from nasal congestion, but might help inhibit infection as well.

Does pseudoephedrine help clogged ears? ›

Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, sinusitis, and hay fever and other respiratory allergies. It is also used to relieve ear congestion caused by ear inflammation or infection. Some of these preparations are available only with your doctor's prescription.

Why is my nose always blocked? ›

Some people have noses that are stuffy and run all the time without a known reason. This is called nonallergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis. A polyp, an object such as a small toy stuck in the nose, or a tumor might cause the nose to run from only one side. Sometimes migraine-like headaches can cause a runny nose.

Which nasal decongestant has pseudoephedrine? ›

About pseudoephedrine Brand names: Sudafed, Galpseud, Boots Decongestant, Care Decongestant. Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that helps you breathe more easily if your nose is stuffy or blocked (nasal congestion).

Does pseudoephedrine help with cough? ›

Descriptions. Hydrocodone, pseudoephedrine, and guaifenesin combination is used to relieve cough and nasal congestion (stuffy nose) caused by the common cold.

Why do I feel weird after taking Mucinex? ›

Mucinex DM, when taken as directed, can cause mild side effects such as nausea or constipation. The more serious adverse reactions are rare and caused by taking too much of the medication. The scene: You have chest congestion, so you cough and cough but still get no relief.

Why does my nose feel blocked but no mucus? ›

If you feel that you are blocked up but are not really producing mucus, then this is more indicative of a physical abnormality, such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum. It is quite common for people to complain of having a blocked nose on one side.

How much pseudoephedrine can I take to feel good? ›

Adults and children 12 years of age and older—60 milligrams (mg) every four to six hours. Do not take more than 240 mg in twenty-four hours. Children 6 to 12 years of age—30 mg every four to six hours. Do not take more than 120 mg in twenty-four hours.

Does pseudoephedrine increase anxiety? ›

Nasal Decongestants

For example, the head cold and sinus congestion medication Sudafed® contains the ingredient pseudoephedrine, which can narrow blood vessels and cause physical anxiety symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness, elevated blood pressure and difficulty sleeping.

Is pseudoephedrine a decongestant or antihistamine? ›

It works by blocking the effects of histamine, a substance in the body that causes allergy symptoms. Pseudoephedrine is in a class of medications called decongestants. It works by drying up the nasal passages.

How does pseudoephedrine work as a stimulant? ›

Pseudoephedrine is a sympathomimetic with a mixed mechanism of action, direct and indirect. It indirectly stimulates alpha-adrenergic receptors, causing the release of endogenous norepinephrine (NE) from the granularity of neurons, while it directly stimulates beta-adrenergic receptors [11,12,13].

What is wrong with pseudoephedrine? ›

Pseudoephedrine constricts blood vessels in the nose and sinuses. This shrinks swelling and drains fluids, letting you breathe easier again. Unfortunately, the drug doesn't affect only the head — it tightens blood vessels throughout the body. One pseudoephedrine side effect is a possible increase in blood pressure.

How safe is pseudoephedrine? ›

It's best not to take pseudoephedrine if you have heart problems. Pseudoephedrine works by narrowing the blood vessels in your nose, but it also narrows the blood vessels in other parts of your body. This can increase your blood pressure and your heart rate.

Is pseudoephedrine risky? ›

Pseudoephedrine-containing medicines have a known risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular ischaemic events (side effects involving ischaemia in the heart and brain), including stroke and heart attack. Restrictions and warnings are already included in the medicines' product information to reduce these risks.

Does pseudoephedrine help with COVID? ›

Managing Cough and Shortness of Breath

Over-the-counter medications used for upper respiratory infections may help alleviate symptoms. Those medications include guaifenesin (Mucinex), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), and dextromethorphan (Robitussin, Delsym).

Does pseudoephedrine feel like Adderall? ›

It is a decongestant, and people take it to relieve nasal and sinus congestion. This congestion can be due to allergies or the common cold. The active ingredient in Sudafed is pseudoephedrine. It can be addictive because it is similar to the stimulant amphetamine.

What sinus medicine has the most pseudoephedrine? ›

SUDAFED® Sinus Congestion is a maximum-strength non-drowsy decongestant that temporarily relieves sinus pressure & nasal congestion. Each caplet contains 30 mg of pseudoephedrine HCl, a nasal decongestant.

What is the strongest over-the-counter Sudafed? ›

SUDAFED® Sinus Congestion 12 Hour. Maximum strength non-drowsy decongestant provides long-lasting sinus pressure & congestion relief. These tablets contain 120 mg of pseudoephedrine HCl and provide powerful symptom relief for 12 hours.


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