Ephedrine Side Effects

November 7th, 2012 by Maggie Heart

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.

Some medical conditions may interact with ephedrine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of heart problems, diabetes, glaucoma, an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems, adrenal gland problems, high blood pressure, seizures, stroke, blood vessel problems, an overactive thyroid, or severe asthma

Some medicines may interact with ephedrine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), cocaine, indomethacin, methyldopa, MAO inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), linezolid, oxytocic medicines (eg, oxytocin), rauwolfia derivatives (eg, reserpine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), or ergot alkaloids (eg, dihydroergotamine) because the actions and side effects of ephedrine may be increased
  • Bromocriptine, catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors (eg, entacapone), or digoxin because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased
  • Guanadrel, guanethidine, mecamylamine, methyldopa, or reserpine because its effectiveness may be decreased by ephedrine

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if ephedrine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most common side effects persist longer than one hours or become worse:

  • Dizziness; headache; nausea; nervousness; tremor; loss of appetite; restlessness; sleeplessness; stomach irritation.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these severe side effects occur:

  • Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); difficulty urinating.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur.