What is sudafed

What is sudafed DEFAULT

What is Sudafed and what is it used for?

If you have a stuffy nose or sinus pain, finding relief from these symptoms is likely at the top of your mind. Sudafed is a popular decongestant that you may unintentionally pass up in local drugstores since it’s kept behind the pharmacy counter. This article gives an overview of Sudafed, its uses, dosages, side effects, and why it sometimes requires a prescription. 

What is Sudafed?

Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is a medication that treats a stuffy nose, sinus pain, and sinus pressure. These symptoms are often a result of a cold or the flu, but allergies and respiratory illnesses can also cause them as well.

Sudafed is a brand-name medication that’s manufactured by McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a Johnson & Johnson company. It belongs to a class of stimulant drugs called amphetamines. Amphetamines are derived from the ephedra plant, which has been used for centuries to treat congestion, asthma, and many other ailments. 

What is Sudafed used for?

Sudafed can be used to treat symptoms of the cold and flu, allergies, hay fever, and sinusitis. It relieves sinus congestion by constricting blood vessels in the sinuses, which reduces inflammation. It’s important to know that Sudafed only treats symptoms, not the underlying health condition. 

Sudafed dosages

Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is available for purchase behind the pharmacy counter in immediate- and extended-release tablets and as a liquid solution for children. Note: Sudafed PE (phenylephrine) is available for purchase over-the-counter in different dosages. The table below includes standard doses of Sudafed—not Sudafed PE: 

How much Sudafed should I take?
2 tablets taken every 4-6 hours (maximum 8 tablets in 24 hours)1 tablet taken every 4-6 hours (maximum 4 tablets in 24 hours)Taken only if recommended by a doctor

These dosages may vary depending on the strength and form of Sudafed you’re taking. A medical professional can help you determine how much Sudafed you should take.   

Sudafed can start working within 30 minutes. Immediate-release forms of Sudafed can begin to wear off after four to six hours. Extended-release versions of Sudafed last longer, so you don’t have to take it as frequently. 


Do not rely on Sudafed for long-term use. If your symptoms don’t go away after seven days of using Sudafed, a doctor can advise you on what to do next. 

Furthermore, Sudafed isn’t right for everyone. “The indications for Sudafed say that it isn’t safe for use in children under 2 years old, and should only be used with a doctor’s guidance from age 2 to 6,” says Dr. Maria Vila, DO, a medical advisor foreMediHealth. “Other patients who should not use Sudafed are pregnant women during the first trimester.” Sudafed should only be used during the second or third trimester if approved by your OB-GYN. 

Women who are breastfeeding should ask a doctor before taking Sudafed, as it passes to breast milk and may cause a decrease in milk production.


There are also some negative drug-drug interactions to be aware of before taking Sudafed. “The final group of patients who should not use Sudafed, regardless of their age, are patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure, patients with heart disease, patients taking MAO inhibitors, and patients with angle-closure glaucoma,” Dr. Vila says.

Taking Sudafed at the same time as other medications may decrease its efficacy or worsen side effects. If you’re taking any of the following medications, you should talk to your doctor before you take Sudafed: 

What are the side effects of Sudafed?

Here are some common side effects you can expect when taking Sudafed: 

  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness 
  • Loss of appetite   

Sudafed may cause more serious side effects. You should seek medical attention if you experience hallucinations, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, or trouble breathing.  

Although it’s rare, Sudafed may also cause allergic reactions that can be life-threatening. Allergic reactions can cause difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling of the face, throat, or mouth. You should seek immediate medical attention if you believe you’re experiencing an allergic reaction.    

Sudafed vs. Sudafed PE

The differences between Sudafed and Sudafed PE aren’t easy for pharmacy customers to decipher. Both products treat congestion from allergies, colds, and sinus infections. They work similarly by reducing inflammation to alleviate sinus pressure. They even share similar side effects. 

The main difference between Sudafed and Sudafed PE is their active ingredients. The active ingredient in Sudafed is pseudoephedrine, whereas the active ingredient in Sudafed PE is phenylephrine. Because of this, Sudafed and Sudafed PE are available in different forms and strengths. Sudafed also lasts longer and may be more effective than Sudafed PE.

Another difference is the availability of these products. You can easily find and purchase Sudafed PE and other products containing phenylephrine over the counter. However, in 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned over-the-counter (OTC) sales of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine with the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. Medications like Sudafed now have to be kept behind the pharmacy counter and may require a prescription to purchase.

By making stores keep it behind the pharmacy counter, the FDA hopes to decrease the illegal use of pseudoephedrine to make methamphetamine (meth) and other drugs. Some states even have limits on how much medication their pharmacies can sell daily.     

You can still buy Sudafed; you’ll just have to buy it from behind the counter. Depending on the state you live in, you might also need a prescription from a doctor to buy Sudafed. If prescribed, you can find coupons for Sudafed on SingleCare.

Recap: Sudafed vs. Sudafed PE
Generic namePseudoephedrinePhenylephrine
FormsLiquid, tablets (immediate-release and  extended-release formula)Tablets, caplets, liquid
Strengths30 mg, 120 mg, 240 mg10 mg
Dosage frequencyImmediate-release: every 4-6 hours
Extended-release: every 12-24 hours, depending on product 
Every 4 hours
OTC or prescription drug?Kept behind the pharmacy counter. A prescription is sometimes required.Available over the counter in pharmacy and drugstore aisles.

Are there alternatives to Sudafed?  

If you’re allergic to Sudafed or have a health condition that prevents you from taking it, there are alternative medications that can help with congestion and sinus pressure. Because these drugs are often found in combination with other drugs (and often do contain Sudafed), ask your pharmacist for help selecting an OTC medication that is appropriate for you, considering any medical conditions or other medications you take. Here’s a list of some popular Sudafed alternatives:

  • Mucinex is an expectorant that helps clear mucus from the sinuses, throat, and lungs. It is available in several formulations, alone and in combination with a cough suppressant or Sudafed. Compare Sudafed and Mucinex here.  
  • Benadrylis an antihistamine that can help relieve cold symptoms; however, drowsiness is a common side effect.
  • Claritin primarily treats allergy symptoms, but it may alleviate some cold symptoms like runny noses. It is a less drowsy antihistamine than Benadryl.
  • Zyrtec is not a decongestant, but it can alleviate allergy symptoms, like watery eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose.
  • Allegrais a non-drowsy antihistamine, like Zyrtec, that treats upper respiratory allergies and allergic asthma.
  • Xyzal is another non-drowsy antihistamine that treats hay fever and hives.

Aside from medications, many people use natural and home remedies to help with their sinus pressure, pain, and congestion. Running a humidifier at home can help with nasal congestion, and so can using a neti pot, which uses a saline solution to clear sinuses. Even staying hydrated can thin the mucus that’s produced by nasal passages.

Sours: https://www.singlecare.com/blog/what-is-sudafed/

SUDAFED® Sinus Congestion

Do not use if you are now taking a prescription monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (certain drugs for depression, psychiatric or emotional conditions, or Parkinson's disease), or for 2 weeks after stopping the MAOI drug. If you do not know if your prescription drug contains an MAOI, ask a doctor or pharmacist before taking this product.

Ask a doctor before use if you have

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • thyroid disease
  • diabetes
  • trouble urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland

When using this product do not exceed recommended dose

Stop use and ask a doctor if

  • nervousness, dizziness, or sleeplessness occur
  • symptoms do not improve within 7 days or occur with a fever

If pregnant or breast-feeding, ask a health professional before use.

Keep out of reach of children. In case of overdose, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away. (1-800-222-1222)

Sours: https://www.sudafed.com/products/sudafed-sinus-congestion
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pronounced as (soo doe e fed' rin)

Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal congestion caused by colds, allergies, and hay fever. It is also used to temporarily relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Pseudoephedrine will relieve symptoms but will not treat the cause of the symptoms or speed recovery. Pseudoephedrine is in a class of medications called nasal decongestants. It works by causing narrowing of the blood vessels in the nasal passages.

Pseudoephedrine comes as a regular tablet, a 12-hour extended-release (long-acting) tablet, a 24-hour extended-release tablet, and a solution (liquid) to be taken by mouth. The regular tablets and liquid are usually taken every 4 to 6 hours. The 12-hour extended-release tablets usually are taken every 12 hours, and you should not take more than two doses in a 24-hour period. The 24-hour extended-release tablets usually are taken once a day, and you should not take more than one dose in a 24-hour period. To help prevent trouble sleeping, take the last dose of the day several hours before bedtime. Follow the directions on the package label or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take pseudoephedrine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor or directed on the label.

Pseudoephedrine comes alone and in combination with other medications. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on which product is best for your symptoms. Check nonprescription cough and cold product labels carefully before using 2 or more products at the same time. These products may contain the same active ingredient(s) and taking them together could cause you to receive an overdose. This is especially important if you will be giving cough and cold medications to a child.

Nonprescription cough and cold combination products, including products that contain pseudoephedrine, can cause serious side effects or death in young children. Do not give nonprescription pseudoephedrine products to children younger than 4 years of age. If you give these products to children 4-11 years of age, use caution and follow the package directions carefully. Do not give pseudoephedrine extended-release tablets to children younger than 12 years of age.

If you are giving pseudoephedrine or a combination product that contains pseudoephedrine to a child, read the package label carefully to be sure that it is the right product for a child of that age. Do not give pseudoephedrine products that are made for adults to children.

Before you give a pseudoephedrine product to a child, check the package label to find out how much medication the child should receive. Give the dose that matches the child's age on the chart. Ask the child's doctor if you don't know how much medication to give the child.

If you are taking the liquid, do not use a household spoon to measure your dose. Use the measuring spoon or cup that came with the medication or use a spoon made especially for measuring medication.

If your symptoms do not get better within 7 days or if you have a fever, stop taking pseudoephedrine and call your doctor.

Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not break, crush, or chew them.

This medication is also sometimes used to prevent ear pain and blockage caused by pressure changes during air travel or underwater diving. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Before taking pseudoephedrine,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to pseudoephedrine, any other medications, or any of the inactive ingredients in the pseudoephedrine product you plan to take. Check the package label for a list of the ingredients.
  • do not take pseudoephedrine if you are taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate), or if you have stopped taking one of these medications within the past 2 weeks.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention medications for diet or appetite control, asthma, colds, or high blood pressure.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, glaucoma (a condition in which increased pressure in the eye can lead to gradual loss of vision), diabetes, difficulty urinating (due to an enlarged prostate gland), or thyroid or heart disease. If you plan to take the 24-hour extended-release tablets, tell your doctor if you have had a narrowing or blockage of your digestive system.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking pseudoephedrine, call your doctor.
  • if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking pseudoephedrine.

Foods and drinks that contain large amounts of caffeine can make the side effects of pseudoephedrine worse.

This medication is usually taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take pseudoephedrine regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).

Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.

If you are taking the 24-hour extended-release tablets, you may notice something that looks like a tablet in your stool. This is just the empty tablet shell, and this does not mean that you did not get your complete dose of medication.

Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about pseudoephedrine.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

  • Afrinol®
  • Cenafed®
  • Children's Sudafed Nasal Decongestant®
  • Congestaclear®
  • Efidac®
  • Myfedrine®
  • Pseudocot®
  • Ridafed®
  • Silfedrine®
  • Sudafed 12/24 Hour®
  • Sudafed Congestion®
  • Sudodrin®
  • SudoGest®
  • Sudrine®
  • Superfed®
  • Suphedrin®
  • Allegra-D® (as a combination product containing Fexofenadine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • AccuHist DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Advil Allergy Sinus® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Advil Cold and Sinus® (containing Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Alavert Allergy and Sinus D-12® (containing Loratadine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Aldex GS® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Aldex GS DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Aleve-D Sinus and Cold® (containing Naproxen, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Allergy Relief D® (containing Cetirizine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Ambifed® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Ambifed DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Biodec DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • BP 8® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Brofed® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Bromdex® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Bromfed® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Bromfed DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Bromhist DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Bromphenex DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Bromuphed® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Bromuphed PD® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Brotapp® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Brotapp-DM Cold and Cough® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Brovex PSB® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Brovex PSB DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Brovex SR® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Carbofed DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Certuss-D® (containing Chlophedianol, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Cetiri-D® (containing Cetirizine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Children's Advil Cold® (containing Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Children's Motrin Cold® (containing Ibuprofen, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Chlorfed A SR® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Clarinex-D® (containing Desloratadine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Claritin-D® (containing Loratadine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Coldamine® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Methscopolamine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Coldmist DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Coldmist LA® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Colfed A® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Corzall® (containing Carbetapentane, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Dallergy PSE® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Methscopolamine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Deconamine® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Deconomed SR® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Defen LA® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Dimetane DX® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Drixoral® (containing Dexbrompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Drymax® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Methscopolamine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Dynahist ER® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • EndaCof-DC® (containing Codeine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • EndaCof-PD® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Entex PSE® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Exall D® (containing Carbetapentane, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • ExeFen DMX® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • ExeFen IR® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Guaidex TR® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Methscopolamine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Hexafed® (containing Dexchlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Histacol DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Guaifenesin, Dexchlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Histex® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Lodrane® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • LoHist-D® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • LoHist-PD® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • LoHist-PSB® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • LoHist-PSB-DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Lortuss DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Doxylamine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Lortuss EX® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Lortuss LQ® (containing Doxylamine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Medent DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Medent LD® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Mintex® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Mucinex D® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Myphetane Dx® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Nalex® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Nasatab LA® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Neutrahist® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Notuss-NXD® (containing Chlorcyclizine, Codeine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Pediahist DM® (containing Brompheniramine, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Polyvent® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Pseudodine® (containing Pseudoephedrine, Triprolidine)
  • Relcof PSE® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Methscopolamine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Respa 1st® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Respaire® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Respivent D® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Methscopolamine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Rezira® (containing Hydrocodone, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Rondamine DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Rondec® (containing Brompheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Rondec DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Ru-Tuss DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Semprex-D® (containing Acrivastine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Suclor® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Sudafed 12 Hour Pressure/Pain® (containing Naproxen, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Sudafed Triple Action® (containing Acetaminophen, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Sudahist® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Sudatex DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Sudatrate® (containing Methscopolamine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Tekral® (containing Diphenhydramine, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Tenar DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Tenar PSE® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Theraflu Max-D Severe Cold and Flu® (containing Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Touro CC® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Touro LA® (containing Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Triacin® (containing Pseudoephedrine, Triprolidine)
  • Trikof D® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Trispec PSE® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Tussafed LA® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Tylenol Sinus Severe Congestion Daytime® (containing Acetaminophen, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Vanacof® (containing Chlophedianol, Dexchlorpheniramine, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Vanacof DX® (containing Chlophedianol, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Viravan P® (containing Pseudoephedrine, Pyrilamine)§
  • Viravan PDM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Pseudoephedrine, Pyrilamine)§
  • Z-Cof DM® (containing Dextromethorphan, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)§
  • Zodryl DEC® (containing Codeine, Guaifenesin, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Zutripro® (containing Chlorpheniramine, Hydrocodone, Pseudoephedrine)
  • Zymine DRX® (containing Pseudoephedrine, Triprolidine)§
  • Zyrtec-D® (containing Cetirizine, Pseudoephedrine)
Last Revised - 02/15/2018

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Sours: https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682619.html
What are Sinuses? - Sudafed®

Sudafed: What You Need to Know

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If you’re stuffed up and looking for relief, Sudafed is one medication that could help. Sudafed helps relieve nasal and sinus congestion and pressure due to the common cold, hay fever, or upper respiratory allergies.

Here’s what you need to know to use this drug safely to relieve your congestion.

About Sudafed

The main active ingredient in Sudafed is called pseudoephedrine (PSE). It’s a nasal decongestant. PSE relieves congestion by making the blood vessels in your nasal passages narrower. This opens up your nasal passages and allows your sinuses to drain. As a result, your nasal passages are clearer and you breathe more easily.

Most forms of Sudafed only contain pseudoephedrine. But one form, called Sudafed 12 Hour Pressure + Pain, also contains the active drug naproxen sodium. Any additional side effects, interactions, or warnings caused by naproxen sodium are not covered in this article.

Sudafed PE products don’t contain pseudoephedrine. Instead, they contain a different active ingredient called phenylephrine.


All forms of Sudafed are taken by mouth. Sudafed Congestion, Sudafed 12 Hour, Sudafed 24 Hour, and Sudafed 12 Hour Pressure + Pain come as caplets, tablets, or extended-release tablets. Children’s Sudafed comes in liquid form in grape and berry flavors.

Below are dosage instructions for the different kinds of Sudafed. You can also find this information on the medication’s package.

Sudafed Congestion

  • Adults and children 12 years and older: Take two tablets every four to six hours. Do not take more than eight tablets every 24 hours.
  • Children ages 6–11 years: Take one tablet every four to six hours. Do not take more than four tablets every 24 hours.
  • Children younger than 6 years: Do not use this medication for children younger than 6 years.

Sudafed 12 Hour

  • Adults and children 12 years and older. Take one tablet every 12 hours. Do not take more than two tablets every 24 hours. Do not crush or chew the caplets.
  • Children younger than 12 years. Do not use this medication for children younger than 12 years.

Sudafed 24 Hour

  • Adults and children 12 years and older. Take one tablet every 24 hours. Do not take more than one tablet every 24 hours. Do not crush or chew the tablets.
  • Children younger than 12 years. Do not use this medication for children younger than 12 years.

Sudafed 12 Hour Pressure + Pain

  • Adults and children 12 years and older. Take one caplet every 12 hours. Do not take more than two caplets every 24 hours. Do not crush or chew the caplets.
  • Children younger than 12 years. Do not use this medication for children younger than 12 years

Children’s Sudafed

  • Children ages 6–11 years. Give 2 teaspoons every four to six hours. Do not give more than four doses every 24 hours.
  • Children ages 4–5 years. Give 1 teaspoon every four to six hours. Do not give more than four doses every 24 hours.
  • Children younger than 4 years. Do not use this medication for children younger than 4 years.

Side effects

Like most drugs, Sudafed may cause side effects. Some of these side effects may go away as your body gets used to the medication. If any of these side effects are a problem for you or if they don’t go away, call your doctor.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Sudafed can include:

  • weakness or dizziness
  • restlessness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • insomnia

Serious side effects

The rare but serious side effects of Sudafed can include:

  • very fast heart rate
  • trouble breathing
  • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • psychosis (mental changes that cause you to lose touch with reality)
  • heart problems, such as chest pain, increased blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat
  • heart attack or stroke

Drug interactions

Sudafed may interact with other medications you’re taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor to see if Sudafed interacts with any medications you’re currently taking.

You should not take the following drugs with Sudafed:

  • dihydroergotamine
  • rasagiline
  • selegiline

Also, before taking Sudafed, be sure to tell your doctor if you take any of the following medications:

  • blood pressure or heart medications
  • asthma medications
  • migraine medications
  • antidepressants
  • over-the-counter herbal remedies, such as St. John’s Wort


There are a few warnings you should keep in mind if you take Sudafed.

Conditions of concern

Sudafed is safe for many people. However, you should avoid it if you have certain health conditions, which may get worse if you take Sudafed. Before using Sudafed, be sure to tell your doctor if you have:

Other warnings

There are concerns of misuse with Sudafed because it can be used to make illegal methamphetamine, a very addictive stimulant. However, Sudafed itself is not addictive.

There are also no warnings against drinking alcohol while taking Sudafed. However, in rare cases, alcohol may increase certain side effects of Sudafed, such as dizziness.

If you’ve taken Sudafed for a week and your symptoms don’t go away or get better, call your doctor. Also call if you have a high fever.

In case of overdose

Symptoms of an overdose of Sudafed can include:

  • fast heart rate
  • dizziness
  • anxiety or restlessness
  • increased blood pressure (likely without symptoms)
  • seizures

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Prescription status and restrictions

In most states, Sudafed is available over the counter (OTC). However, some locations in the United States require a prescription. The states of Oregon and Mississippi, as well as some cities in Missouri and Tennessee, all require a prescription for Sudafed.

The reason for these prescription requirements is that PSE, the main ingredient in Sudafed, is used to make illegal methamphetamine. Also called crystal meth, methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug. These requirements help prevent people from buying Sudafed to make this drug.

Efforts to prevent people from using PSE to make methamphetamine also restrict the sale of Sudafed. A piece of legislation called the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act (CMEA) was passed in 2006. It requires you to present a photo ID to buy products that contain pseudoephedrine. It also limits the amount of these products you can buy.

In addition, it requires pharmacies to sell any products that contain PSE behind the counter. That means you can’t buy Sudafed on the shelf at your local drugstore like other OTC medications. You have to get Sudafed from the pharmacy. You also have to show your photo ID to the pharmacist, who is required to track your purchases of products that contain PSE.

Sours: https://www.healthline.com/health/allergies/sudafed

Is sudafed what

Pseudoephedrine (including Sudafed)

1. About pseudoephedrine

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that relieves a stuffy or blocked nose (nasal congestion).

Nasal congestion is caused when blood vessels in the cavities in your nose (sinuses) become swollen.

This can happen when you have:

You can buy pseudoephedrine from pharmacies and supermarkets. It comes as tablets and a liquid that you swallow.

You can buy these from a pharmacy in pack sizes of 12 tablets or 100ml oral liquid.

If you need more than this, you'll need a prescription from a doctor.

Pseudoephedrine also comes mixed with other medicines to treat the symptoms of coughs, colds and allergies.

It comes as tablets, capsules and a liquid that you swallow.

2. Key facts

  • Pseudoephedrine usually starts to work in 15 to 30 minutes
  • Common side effects include feeling sick, headaches, a dry mouth, a fast or irregular heartbeat, or increased blood pressure. It might also make you feel restless, nervous or shaky.
  • Pseudoephedrine is also called by the brand names Sudafed or Galpseud Linctus.
  • When it's mixed with other medicines, it can also be called Benadryl Allergy Relief, Benylin Day & Night, Boots Chesty Cough & Congestion Relief, Multi-Action Actifed Tablets, or Galpseud Plus Linctus (you'll need a prescription for this because it comes in a 500ml bottle).

3. Who can and cannot take pseudoephedrine

Pseudoephedrine can be taken by most adults and children over the age of 12 years old.

You can sometimes give pseudoephedrine to children over 6 years with a stuffy nose, depending on their age and symptoms. Ask a pharmacist for advice.


Do not give pseudoephedrine to children under 6 years. This includes cough and cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Always check the label.

Pseudoephedrine is not suitable for some people. Tell a pharmacist or doctor if you have:

4. How and when to take it

The usual dose depends on the medicine you're taking.

The instructions will be different depending on the type of treatment you buy and the other medicines it's mixed with.


If you have bought pseudoephedrine or any medicine containing pseudoephedrine from a pharmacy or supermarket, follow the instructions that come with the packet or ask a pharmacist for advice.

The usual dose of pseudoephedrine is 60mg tablets or as a liquid containing 30mg in 5ml.

Adults and children aged 12 to 17 years: take one 60mg tablet or two 5ml spoon (10ml) of liquid up to 4 times a day.

Children aged 6 to 11 years: take half a tablet (30mg) or one 5ml spoon of liquid up to 4 times a day.

How to take it

You can take pseudoephedrine tablets and liquid with or without food. Always take the tablets with a glass of water.

Liquid medicines containing pseudoephedrine come with a plastic syringe or spoon to help you measure out the right dose.

If you do not have a syringe or spoon, ask a pharmacist for one. Do not use a kitchen teaspoon as you will not get the right amount.

What if I forget to take it?

If you forget to take a dose, take the next dose when you need it.

Always leave at least 4 hours between doses.

Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What if I take too much?

Urgent advice: Call 111 for advice now if:

  • you take too much pseudoephedrine

Taking too much pseudoephedrine can be dangerous.

It can make you restless or your heartbeat fast, and make you feel sick or vomit. You may also have difficulty peeing.

Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.

If you need to go to A&E, do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.

Take the pseudoephedrine packet or leaflet inside it, plus any remaining medicine, with you.

7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Pseudoephedrine is not recommended in pregnancy because it can reduce the blood flow in the placenta and to the baby.

Pseudoephedrine and breastfeeding

Pseudoephedrine is not recommended to take while you're breastfeeding.

It passes into breast milk, but only in small amounts that are not harmful to the baby.

Pseudoephedrine can reduce the amount of milk you make, especially if you have not been breastfeeding for long.

If you're taking pseudoephedrine mixed with other medicines, you must check with a pharmacist or doctor whether it's safe to breastfeed.

Non-urgent advice: Talk to a pharmacist or doctor if you're:

  • trying to get pregnant
  • pregnant
  • breastfeeding

8. Cautions with other medicines

Some medicines and pseudoephedrine interfere with each other and increase the chances of you having side effects.

Check with a pharmacist or doctor if you're taking:

  • antidepressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • digoxin, a medicine for heart failure
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline
  • ergot alkaloids, such as ergotamine (for migraine)

Pseudoephedrine is sometimes mixed with painkillers, such as cough and cold remedies.

Before taking any other medicines, check the label to see if they contain aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen.

Ask a pharmacist if you're not sure.

Mixing pseudoephedrine with herbal remedies and supplements

There's very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements with pseudoephedrine.


Tell a doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.

9. Common questions

Sours: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/pseudoephedrine/


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