Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
What Is Ephedrine?
Ephedrine is a central nervous system stimulant used to treat breathing problems (as a bronchodilator), nasal congestion (as a decongestant), low blood pressure problems (orthostatic hypotension), or myasthenia gravis. Ephedrine is also used to treat narcolepsy, menstrual problems (dysmenorrhea), or urine-control problems. Ephedrine is available in generic form.
What Are Side Effects of Ephedrine?
Common side effects of Ephedrine usually occur with larger doses and include:
- spinning sensation (vertigo),
- loss of appetite,
- trouble sleeping (insomnia),
- fast heart rate,
- weight loss, and
- difficult or painful urination.
Dosage for Ephedrine
The dosage of Ephedrine is based on the patient's medical condition and response to therapy. For prescription Ephedrine, do not exceed 150 mg per day in adults or 75 mg per day in children.
What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact with Ephedrine?
Ephedrine may interact with other adrenalin-like drugs, MAO inhibitors, beta-blockers, blood pressure medicine, tricyclic antidepressants, diuretics (water pills), digoxin, atropine, theophylline, oxytocin, or St John's wort. Tell your doctor all medications you are taking.
Ephedrine During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Ephedrine should be used only when prescribed during pregnancy. It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Due to the potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding while using this drug is not recommended.
Our Ephedrine Side Effects Drug Center provides a comprehensive view of available drug information on the potential side effects when taking this medication.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
With large doses of ephedrine sulfate most patients will experience nervousness, insomnia, vertigo, headache, tachycardia, palpitation and sweating. Some patients have nausea, vomiting and anorexia. Vesical sphincter spasm may occur and result in difficult and painful urination. Urinary retention may develop in males with prostatism.
Drug Abuse And Dependence
Prolonged abuse of Ephedrine Sulfate Injection, USP can lead to symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. When this occurs, patients exhibit such physical signs as tachycardia, poor nutrition and hygiene, fever, cold sweat and dilated pupils.
Some measure of tolerance may develop with prolonged or excessive use but addiction does not occur. Temporary cessation of medication and subsequent readministration restores its effectiveness.
Read the entire FDA prescribing information for Ephedrine (Ephedrine)