Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in many different medications. It comes most commonly as either pseudoephedrine sulfate or pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (there are no important differences between the two). Pseudoephedrine is especially useful for the following uses:
- Relieving nasal congestion due to allergies (such as hay fever) or the common cold
- Relieving sinus congestion and pressure.
Pseudoephedrine works by stimulating certain receptors known as alpha-adrenergic receptors. In the lining of the nose and sinuses, this action 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.
The medication comes in several different forms, including immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, and a liquid. The instructions for use vary with each different product. Although pseudoephedrine products are available over the counter, they are actually kept behind the pharmacy counter. You will need to show identification to buy pseudoephedrine.
(Click Pseudoephedrine for more information about this drug, including the side effects that may occur with treatment.)