Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in various cold, sinus, and allergy medications. It comes most commonly as either pseudoephedrine sulfate or pseudoephedrine HCl (short for hydrochloride). There are no important differences between the two forms.
The medication is most often used for the treatment of nasal congestion due to allergies or the common cold. It can also be used to relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Pseudoephedrine works by stimulating alpha-adrenergic receptors in the lining of the nose and sinuses, an action that causes the blood vessels to constrict, allowing less fluid to leave the blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. This helps to relieve nasal and sinus congestion.
Pseudoephedrine comes in several different forms, including immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, and a liquid. These products are all available without a prescription, but they are kept behind the pharmacy counter. You will need to show identification to buy pseudoephedrine, and you will be limited to a certain amount of the medication per month.
(Click Pseudoephedrine for more information about pseudoephedrine, to learn more about the effects of this medicine, and to find out what you should discuss with your healthcare provider before using this product.)