Ephedrine is a medication used for relieving congestion due to the cold, flu, hay fever and allergies. It is used to treat symptoms of bronchial asthma such as shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Apart from that, ephedrine is used for orthostatic hypotension, myasthenia gravis, menstrual problems (dysmenorrhea), narcolepsy (sleep disorder) and problems with urination such as incontinence or enuresis.
Ephedrine is taken orally, usually one capsule or tablet on every 4 hours or as ordered by your physician. Dose for adults shouldn’t be over 150mg per day and for children 75 mg per day. Take ephedrine regularly and if you skip a dose do not take two doses at once. Ephedrine should not be taken in combination dietary supplements containing ephedrine/ephedra/ma huang because they are the same medication.
Ephedrine should not be used for extended period of time or in higher doses than prescribed because you may develop addiction. This can additionally increase the risk of adverse effects and ephedrine will lose its effect. This problem can be solved by temporarily discontinuing the drug.
Ephedrine Side Effects
Common side effects of the ephedrine include nervousness or anxiety, dizziness, loss of appetite, headache, weakness, nausea, and trouble sleeping. If these ephedrine adverse effects occur, persist or become bothersome consult your doctor.
Seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following severe side effect when using ephedrine: allergic reaction (rash, hives, trouble breathing and swelling of the lips, tongue, mouth or face), chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeat, difficulty urinating, vomiting, tremor, sweating, hallucinations, seizures, severe dizziness, rapid weight loss, weakness on one side of the body, confusion, mood swings, vision problems, fever or slurred speech.
You should not use ephedrine if you suffer from any of the following health problems: severe high blood pressure, severe heart blood vessel disease (stroke or TIA), heart problems (arrhythmia or chest pain), diabetes, hyperthyroidism, rapid heart beat, glaucoma, psychoneurosis, kidney problems or problems with prostate. You shouldn’t take ephedrine if you are allergic to this drug. Before using ephedrine, you should notify your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Some medicines interact with ephedrine. Caffeine, epinephrine, mehylphenidate and pseudoephedrine should not be taken along with ephedrine. MAO inhibitors must be stopped at least two week before taking ephedrine. Beta-blockers such as metoprolol and propranolol may increase side effects of ephedrine. Other medications that interact with ephedrine include:blood pressure medications, tricyclic antidepressants, rauwolfia derivates (e.g., reserpine) and certain herbal remedies such as ma huang or St John’s wort.