Pseudoephedrine: Uses, How to Take & Side Effects

Updated in December 2023

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant mediation that is often recommended for the treatment of colds, flus, nasal congestion, runny nose and sinusitis. It can also be used for allergies, as it is often a component of anti-histamines and analgesics. 

This medication acts directly on the receptors present on the nasal muscosa. It triggers constriction of these blood vessels to treat congestion and get rid of accumulated discharge. 

Pseudoephedrine is often an ingredient in many medications, and can be found in pill or syrup form. 

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Common uses

Pseudoephedrine is often indicated for the relief of symptoms from the flu, cold, sinusitis, nasal congestion, nasal obstruction and runny nose. It can also be used to treat allergies when it is added to an anti-histamine medication.

How to take it

Pseudoephedrine may vary depending on the medication it is added to. It is important to follow the instructions as outlined on the packaging.

Side effects 

Side effects from pseudoephedrine use are rare, however some patients may report arrhythmias, restlessness, anxiety, severe allergic reactions, insomnia, stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, dry mouth, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness, skin swelling, itching, urinary retention, hallucinations and skin wounds. 


Pseudoephedrine should not be used by people who have arrhythmias, cardiovascular disease, arterial hypertention and renal failure. It should be avoided by anyone with an allergy to any of its components. Pseudoephedrine should not be used by children. 

Although it is contraindicated, this medication can be used during pregnancy if approved by your doctor. 

Pseudoephedrine treatment should not last longer than 7 days.