What is pseudoephedrine, 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?

Sudafed, Nexafed, Zephrex-D

Is pseudoephedrine available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for pseudoephedrine?


What are the uses for pseudoephedrine?

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

What is the dosage for pseudoephedrine?

  • 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?

  • 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 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?

What preparations of pseudoephedrine are available?
  • Tablet (immediate-release): 30, 60 mg; Tablet (extended-release): 120, 240 mg

Latest Cold and Flu News

Daily Health News

Trending on MedicineNet

Medically Reviewed on 8/21/2019



FDA Prescribing Information.