Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in many allergy, cold, and sinus medications. It comes most commonly as either pseudoephedrine hydrochloride or pseudoephedrine sulfate (there are no important differences between the two). The drug is useful for relieving nasal congestion due to allergies or the common cold and for treating sinus congestion and pressure.
Pseudoephedrine products come in several different forms, including immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, and a liquid. You do not need a prescription to buy pseudoephedrine in most states. However, any medication containing pseudoephedrine is required to be 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.
As with any medicine, pseudoephedrine can cause side effects. However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience bothersome side effects. Some people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider. Potential side effects include insomnia, heart palpitations, nervousness, and a rapid heart rate.
(Click Pseudoephedrine for more information about this medication, to find out how it works, and for some general warnings and precautions.)