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What Is Pseudoephedrine Sulfate?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated May 17, 2024
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Pseudoephedrine sulfate is a common ingredient in allergy medications. It is a decongestant that is often available over-the-counter or sometimes a doctor may recommend it to a patient. This medicine may help relieve nasal congestion caused by allergies or colds. It works by shrinking certain blood vessels to allow for sinus drainage.

Since this drug is available in many different strengths and preparations, patients should carefully review the dosage information on each brand. They must be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage or to take it more often than prescribed. Pseudoephedrine sulfate may be available as tablets, capsules, or in cold syrups. It should usually be taken with a full glass of water.

Some side effects may occur while taking pseudoephedrine sulfate, which should be discussed with a doctor if they become severe. Patients may experience dizziness, insomnia, and headaches. Mild stomach upset, loss of appetite, and dry mouth can also occur. Other side effects can include excessive thirst, nervousness, and a sensation of warmth or tingling under the skin. In addition, patients may experience additional side effects if the product they select combines other medicines along with pseudoephedrine sulfate.

More serious side effects can also occur, which require immediate medical attention. A rapid or irregular heartbeat, anxiety, or severe dizziness have been reported. Some patients have experienced flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, chills, and body aches. Others may suffer from elevated blood pressure, which may present with blurred vision, chest pain, and a severe headache, as well as numbness or seizures, rarely. Difficulty urinating, unusual mood changes, and easy bruising or bleeding have also been reported.

Rarely, patients may experience an allergic reaction to pseudoephedrine sulfate. Symptoms indicative of this type of reaction can include a skin rash, excessive itching, and hives. Patients may also experience problems breathing, severe dizziness, and swelling of the face and throat.

Before taking pseudoephedrine sulfate for cold or allergy symptoms, patients should consider their other medical conditions. It may pass into breast milk and harm a nursing infant. Women who are pregnant should avoid this drug whenever possible. Pseudoephedrine sulfate may also be contraindicated for use by those who have a heart or blood vessel disease, liver disease, or glaucoma. Those who have other medical conditions should discuss using over-the-counter medicines with their doctors.

This medicine may interact with other drugs. Patients who are on other medications, supplements, or those who have recently used other drugs should discuss possible interactions with their doctors or pharmacists. Pseudoephedrine sulfate may interact with beta blockers, ephedrine, and any herbal products that contain ephedra. It may also cause a life-threatening reaction if taken within 14 days of using a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Patients must also avoid caffeine pills, diet pills, and alcoholic beverages.

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