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Ephedrine

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Ephedrine

OVERDOSE

Symptoms

The principal manifestation of ephedrine sulfate poisoning is convulsions. In acute poisoning the following signs and symptoms may occur: nausea, vomiting, chills, cyanosis, irritability, nervousness, fever, suicidal behavior, tachycardia, dilated pupils, blurred vision, opisthotonos, spasms, convulsions, pulmonary edema, gasping respirations, coma and respiratory failure. Initially, the patient may have hypertension, followed later by hypotension accompanied by anuria.

Treatment

If respirations are shallow or cyanosis is present, artificial respiration should be administered. Vasopressors are contraindicated. In cardiovascular collapse blood pressure should be maintained.

Antidote

For hypertension, 5 mg phentolamine mesylate diluted in saline may be administered slowly intravenously, or 100 mg may be given orally. Convulsions may be controlled by diazepam or paraldehyde. Cool applications and dexamethasone 1 mg/kg, administered slowly intravenously, may control pyrexia.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Allergic reactions to ephedrine sulfate are rare. The hypersensitivity, if known, is a specific contraindication. Patients hypersensitive to other sympathomimetics may also be hypersensitive to ephedrine sulfate.

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/30/2009
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

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