EPHEDRINE

GENERIC NAME(S): EPHEDRINE HCL

Ephedrine belongs to a class of medications called sympathomimetics. Ephedrine is used for temporary relief of shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing due to bronchial asthma. Ephedrine may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Ephedrine is a decongestant and bronchodilator. It works by reducing swelling and constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages and widening the lung airways, allowing you to breathe more easily.

Indications:

  • Allergic reactions- bronchial asthma
  • Pressor agent during spinal anesthesia when hypotension occurs
  • Central nervous system stimulant in narcolepsy and depressive state in myasthenia gravis

Contraindications:

  • Allergic reaction to ephedrine sulfate
  • dizziness
  • nausea,
  • nervousness,
  • shakiness (tremor), 
  • trouble sleeping,
  • loss of appetite, or 
  • headache 

Seek immediate medical attention if any of these very serious side effects occur:

  • chest pain,
  • dizziness/fainting,
  • fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat,
  • severe/pounding headache,
  • severe mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, hallucinations),
  • seizure,
  • swelling ankles/feet,
  • tiredness,
  • slurred speech,
  • signs of kidney problems (such as change in the amount of urine, painful urination), 
  • weakness on one side of the body.

Precautions

  • Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
  • Should not be used with certain medical conditions: heart problems (e.g., chest pain, irregular heartbeat, heart attack).
  • Can affect the heart rhythm: QT prolongation can rarely cause serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away. The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation.
  • This drug may make you dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.
  • Increase blood sugar levels, causing or worsening diabetes.

Pregnancy Risk: Category C, Risk cannot be ruled out

This medication passes into breast milk and could have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Therefore, breast-feeding is not recommended while using this drug. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

 

Interactions

Some products that may interact with this drug include: alpha blockers (e.g., prazosin, terazosin), digoxin, drugs for diabetes, drugs for seizures (e.g., carbamazepine, phenytoin), dexamethasone, ergot medications (e.g., ergotamine, bromocriptine), ginseng, MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine), medication for blood pressure (e.g., clonidine, guanethidine, methyldopa, reserpine, beta blockers such as propranolol and metoprolol), adrenaline-like drugs (e.g., epinephrine, norepinephrine, pseudoephedrine), caffeine/other stimulants (e.g., amphetamine, methylphenidate), drugs that change the amount of acid in the urine (e.g., acetazolamide, citrates, sodium bicarbonate).

Avoid caffeine because it may increase your blood pressure. Caffeine can be found in nonprescription diet medications, soft drinks, coffee, and tea.

Symptoms of overdose may include:

  • very rapid heartbeat
  • fever
  • loss of consciousness
  • coma

Notes: If your doctor has prescribed this medication, do not share it with others.

Missed Dose: If your doctor has prescribed this medication and you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your usual dosing schedule. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Storage: Refer to storage information printed on the package. If you have any questions about storage, ask your pharmacist.

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