GENERIC NAME: EPHEDRINE - INJECTABLE (eh-FED-rin)
WARNING: This drug should not be used in combination with other stimulant products (e.g., caffeine), other cough-and-cold products, or as a dietary supplement for the purpose of weight loss or body building. Doing so may increase your risk of unlikely but potentially fatal side effects including: stroke, heart attack, seizures, or severe mental disorders (see Side Effects section and Precautions section). Exceeding recommended ephedrine doses increases your risk of the side effects noted above. For detailed information, consult your pharmacist.
USES: Ephedrine injection is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat low blood pressure (hypotension) during certain surgical procedures, severe allergic-type reactions (e.g., bronchospasm or bronchial asthma), certain heart rhythm problems (e.g., Stokes-Adams syndrome), narcolepsy, and myasthenia gravis.
HOW TO USE: Inject this medication into a vein (IV), into a muscle (IM), or under the skin (SC-subcutaneously) as directed by the doctor. When given IV, the dose is injected slowly and may be repeated in 5 to 10 minutes, if necessary. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Do not exceed 150 mg (adults) or 3 mg per kg (children) in 24 hours. When used for an extended period, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well. Before using, check this product visually for particles or discoloration. If either is present, do not use the liquid. Learn how to store and discard needles and medical supplies safely. Consult your pharmacist.
SIDE EFFECTS: Nervousness, dizziness, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, or trouble sleeping may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor promptly. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these serious side effects occur: chest pain, unusually fast or irregular heartbeat, vomiting, tremor/shakiness, sweating, severe weight loss, difficult or painful urination, stomach pain. Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: severe mental/mood changes, fever, trouble breathing, one-sided weakness, confusion, vision problems, slurred speech. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
PRECAUTIONS: This medication is not recommended for use if you have the following medical conditions: glaucoma (closed-angle type), certain psychiatric conditions (e.g., psychoneurosis). Tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: heart problems (e.g., arrhythmias, chest pain), blood vessel problems (e.g., stroke or TIA), diabetes, over-active thyroid (hyperthyroidism), prostate problems, high blood pressure (hypertension), kidney problems, dehydration, any allergies. This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Due to the potential risk to the infant, breast-feeding while using this drug is not recommended.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: This drug is not recommended for use with other adrenalin-like drugs (e.g., caffeine, epinephrine, methylphenidate, pseudoephedrine). Also, avoid taking any MAO inhibitors (e.g., furazolidone, isocarboxazid, linezolid, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, selegiline, tranylcypromine) for at least 2 weeks before or after using this drug. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details. Tell your doctor of all prescription and nonprescription medication you may use, especially: beta-blockers (e.g., metoprolol, propranolol), other blood pressure medicine (e.g., guanethidine, methyldopa, reserpine, or alpha-blockers such as prazosin and terazosin), tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline, desipramine), "water pills" (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide), digoxin, atropine, theophylline, oxytocin, certain anesthetics used in surgery (e.g., cyclopropane, halothane), certain herbal/natural medications (e.g., ma huang, St John's wort). Check the labels on all your medicines (e.g., cough-and-cold products, diet aids, natural products) because they may contain ingredients that could increase your heart rate or blood pressure. The use of ephedrine with these products is not recommended. Do not start or stop any medicine without doctor or pharmacist approval.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call the US national poison hotline at 1-800-222-1222. Canadian residents should call their local poison control center directly. Symptoms of overdose may include: seizures, cold sweats, vision problems (dilated pupils).
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others; it is against the law. Laboratory and/or medical tests (e.g., blood pressure) will be performed to monitor your progress.
MISSED DOSE: Not applicable.
STORAGE: Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) away from light.
Related Disease Conditions
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low blood pressure, also referred to as hypotension, is blood pressure that is so low that it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. Some of the symptoms of low blood pressure include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting if not enough blood is getting to the brain. Diseases and medications can also cause low blood pressure. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidneys; the organs do not function normally and may be permanently damaged.
Myasthenia gravis, a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease. Varying degrees of weakness of the voluntary muscles of the body are the main characteristics. A defect in the transmission of nerve impulses of the muscles is the cause of myasthenia gravis. Myasthenic crisis is when the muscles that control breathing weaken, which requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include weakness of the eye muscles, facial expression, and difficulty swallowing. Treatment of myasthenia gravis includes medical therapies to control the symptoms of the disease.
Causes of narcolepsy, a chronic disease of the central nervous system, have not been fully determined. Some theories include abnormalities in hypocretin neurons in the brain or an autoimmune disorder. Symptoms of narcolepsy include excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep paralysis, cataplexy, hypnagogic hallucinations, disturbed nocturnal sleep, and automatic behavior. Diagnosis of narcolepsy is based on a clinical evaluation, specific questionnaires, sleep logs or diaries, and the results of sleep laboratory tests. Treatments of narcolepsy symptoms include medication and lifestyle changes.
Asthma: Over the Counter Treatment
Patients who have infrequent, mild bouts of asthma attacks may use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat their asthma symptoms. OTC asthma medicines are limited to epinephrine and ephedrine. These OTC drugs are best used with the guidance of a physician, as there may be side effects and the drugs may not be very effective.
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