Generic Name: ephedrine
Brand Name: Ephedrine
Drug Class: Alpha/Beta Adrenergic Agonists, Decongestant/Expectorant Combos
What is oral ephedrine, and what is it used for?
Oral ephedrine is an over-the-counter oral drug used as a dietary supplement, and treating nasal congestion and bronchospasm due to asthma.
- Ephedrine directly stimulates alpha and beta-adrenergic receptors and increases the release of norepinephrine.
- Its actions include relaxation of bronchioles, increased heart rate and contractility, and increased blood pressure.
- It also causes blood vessels in the nasal passages to shrink (vasoconstrict). Vasoconstriction reduces nasal congestion by preventing fluid from draining from blood vessels into the lining of the nasal passages.
- Ephedrine is also a central nervous system stimulant used illegally for weight loss and for performance enhancement diet supplements.
What are the side effects of oral ephedrine?
Common side effects include:
Possible serious side effects include:
What is the dosage for oral ephedrine?
- A dose of 12.5 to 25 mg orally every 4 hours, not to exceed 150 mg in 24 hour has be used for treating bronchospasm.
- The dose for treating nasal congestion in adults is 25 to 50 mg every 6 hours.
Which drugs interact with oral ephedrine?
- Ephedrine should not be combined with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Combining MAOIs with ephedrine can cause an acute hypertensive episode. Examples of MAOIs include rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Zelapar), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), and tranylcypromine (Parnate)
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Ephedrine has not been adequately studied in pregnant women or in women who are breastfeeding.
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Oral ephedrine is an over-the-counter oral drug used as a dietary supplement, and treating nasal congestion and bronchospasm due to asthma. On April 14, 2004 the FDA warned that over-the-counter products and supplements containing ephedrine are unsafe and may cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, heart irregularities, seizures, and possibly death. All products containing ephedrine have been removed from the U.S. market.
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