pseudoephedrine (Oral, Afrinol, Sudafed)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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What is pseudoephedrine-oral, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?

  • Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant used for reducing nasal congestion caused by allergies or the common cold. Pseudoephedrine causes blood vessels in the nasal passages to shrink (vasoconstrict). Vasoconstriction reduces nasal congestion by preventing fluid from draining from blood vessels into nasal passages. Pseudoephedrine also directly stimulates beta-adrenergic receptors and causes relaxation of bronchioles, as well as increased heart rate and contractility.
  • The FDA approved pseudoephedrine in August 1975.

What brand names are available for pseudoephedrine-oral?

Sudafed, Nexafed, Zephrex-D

Is pseudoephedrine-oral available as a generic drug?

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

Do I need a prescription for pseudoephedrine-oral?

No

What are the uses for pseudoephedrine-oral?

  • Pseudoephedrine is used for treating nasal and sinus congestion caused by the common cold or allergies.

What are the side effects of pseudoephedrine-oral?

Common side effects of pseudoephedrine include:

Pseudoephedrine should not be used by people with severe hypertension or coronary artery disease. It should be used with caution in people with mild to moderate hypertension, cardiac disease, hyperthyroidism, hyperglycemia, benign prostatic hyperplasia, diabetes mellitus, kidney problems, seizure disorder, and glaucoma.

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What is the dosage for pseudoephedrine-oral?

  • The recommended dose is 60 mg every 4 to 6 hours when using immediate release tablets. When using extended release tablets the recommended dose is 120 mg every 12 hours or 240 mg every 24 hours.

Which drugs or supplements interact with pseudoephedrine-oral?

  • Pseudoephedrine should not be combined with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) because such combinations may cause an acute hypertensive episode. Examples of MAOIs include rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Zelapar), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).

Is pseudoephedrine-oral safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • Use of pseudoephedrine by pregnant women has not been adequately evaluated.
  • Pseudoephedrine is secreted in breast milk. However, it is considered safe to use while nursing.

What else should I know about pseudoephedrine-oral?

What preparations of pseudoephedrine-oral are available?

  • Tablet (immediate-release): 30, 60 mg; Tablet (extended-release): 120, 240 mg

REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2016
References
REFERENCE: FDA Prescribing Information.

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