Pseudoephedrine (pseudoephedrine hydrochloride – HCI – pseudoephedrine sulfate)

What is pseudoephedrine?

Pseudoephedrine is a nasal decongestant active ingredient available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that relieve a stuffy nose or sinus pressure due to the common cold or other ailments. Pseudoephedrine can be the only active ingredient in a nasal decongestant medicine or it can be found in medicines that not only relieve a stuffy nose, but other symptoms as well such as allergies, headache, or cough.

What is pseudoephedrine used to treat?

  • Sinus pressure
  • Nasal congestion
Common brands containing pseudoephedrine:
  • Advil®
  • Alavert®
  • Aleve®
  • Claritin®
  • Mucinex®
  • Sudafed®
  • Triaminic®
  • TYLENOL®
  • ZYRTEC-D®
  • Store Brands (ex. Walmart’s “Equate” store brand or CVS Health store brand)

How much pseudoephedrine can you take?

Different types of products containing this active ingredient have different strengths. That’s why it is always important to read and follow the Drug Facts label. Most medicines warn against use of an active ingredient for longer than 7-10 days. Stop use and ask a doctor if symptoms persist.

Safety guide for pseudoephedrine

Pseudoephedrine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label. Be sure to never use more medicine than what is recommended on the Drug Facts label.

Ask a healthcare provider before use if:

  • You have high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, or trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland.
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do not use if:

  • You are currently taking a prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or if you stopped taking an MAOI less than two weeks ago.
  • You are taking a prescription drug for depression, a psychiatric or emotional condition, or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Do not give a medicine containing pseudoephedrine to a child under the age of 4.

Stop use and ask a doctor if:

  • You get nervous, dizzy, or are unable to sleep.
  • Your symptoms do not improve within seven days or are accompanied by a fever.
  • You take too much. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.

What are the possible side effects of pseudoephedrine?

  • Restlessness or excitability (especially in children)
  • Nervousness
  • Trouble sleeping