Ephedrine/ guaifenesin

Generic Name: ephedrine/guaifenesin (eh-FED-rin/gwye-FEN-ah-sin)
Brand Name: Primatene Asthma

Ephedrine/ guaifenesin is used for:

Relieving congestion, cough, and throat and airway irritation due to colds, flu, or hay fever. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Ephedrine/guaifenesin is a decongestant and expectorant combination. It works by constricting blood vessels, reducing swelling in the nasal passages, and thinning and loosening mucus in the airway. This allows you to breathe more easily and makes coughs more productive.

Do NOT use ephedrine/ guaifenesin if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in ephedrine/guaifenesin
  • you have severe high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, or other severe heart problems (eg, heart blood vessel disease)
  • you have taken furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, phenelzine) within the last 14 days

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

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Before using ephedrine/ guaifenesin:

Some medical conditions may interact with ephedrine/guaifenesin. 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 fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
  • if you have a history of adrenal gland problems (eg, tumor), heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart blood vessel problems, stroke, glaucoma, an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems, seizures, or an overactive thyroid
  • if you have chronic cough

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with ephedrine/guaifenesin. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibitors (eg, tolcapone), furazolidone, indomethacin, MAO inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because the risk of side effects from ephedrine/guaifenesin may be increased
  • Digoxin or droxidopa because the risk of irregular heartbeat or heart attack may be increased
  • Bromocriptine because the risk of side effects may be increased by ephedrine/guaifenesin
  • Guanethidine, guanadrel, mecamylamine, methyldopa, or reserpine because their effectiveness may be decreased by ephedrine/guaifenesin

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if ephedrine/guaifenesin 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.

How to use ephedrine/ guaifenesin:

Use ephedrine/guaifenesin as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Ephedrine/guaifenesin may be taken with or without food.
  • Take ephedrine/guaifenesin with a full glass of water unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • If you miss a dose of ephedrine/guaifenesin, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use ephedrine/guaifenesin.

Important safety information:

  • Ephedrine/guaifenesin may cause dizziness. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to ephedrine/guaifenesin. Using ephedrine/guaifenesin alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Do not take appetite suppressants while you are taking ephedrine/guaifenesin without checking with your doctor.
  • Ephedrine/guaifenesin contains ephedrine. Before you begin taking any new prescription or nonprescription medicine, read the ingredients to see if it also contains ephedrine. If it does or if you are uncertain, contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Do NOT exceed the recommended dose or take ephedrine/guaifenesin for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If your symptoms do not improve within 5 to 7 days or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Ephedrine/guaifenesin may interfere with certain lab test results. Make sure that all of your doctors and laboratory personnel know that you are taking ephedrine/guaifenesin.
  • Before you have any medical or dental treatments, emergency care, or surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using ephedrine/guaifenesin.
  • Use ephedrine/guaifenesin with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Caution is advised when using ephedrine/guaifenesin in CHILDREN because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant while taking ephedrine/guaifenesin, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using ephedrine/guaifenesin during pregnancy. It is unknown if ephedrine/guaifenesin is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking ephedrine/guaifenesin.

Possible side effects of ephedrine/ guaifenesin:

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 or become bothersome:

Dizziness; excitability; headache; nausea; nervousness or anxiety; trouble sleeping; weakness.

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; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; tremor.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include blurred vision; confusion; hallucinations; seizures; severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or headache; severe drowsiness; unusually fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; vomiting.

Proper storage of ephedrine/guaifenesin:

Store ephedrine/guaifenesin at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep ephedrine/guaifenesin out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about ephedrine/guaifenesin, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ephedrine/guaifenesin is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take ephedrine/guaifenesin or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about ephedrine/guaifenesin. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to ephedrine/guaifenesin. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using ephedrine/guaifenesin.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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