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Generic Name: pseudoephedrine (SOO-doe-e-FED-rin)
Brand Name: Examples include Nexafed and Sudafed

Sudafed is used for:

Relieving nasal congestion due to colds, flu, hay fever, and other allergies. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

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

Do NOT use Sudafed if:

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

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

Slideshow: OTC Medication Use In Pregnancy: Wise or Worrisome?

Before using Sudafed:

Some medical conditions may interact with Sudafed. 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 (eg, irregular heartbeat), diabetes, glaucoma or increased pressure in the eye, trouble urinating, an enlarged prostate or other prostate problems, adrenal gland problems, high blood pressure, seizures, stroke, blood vessel problems, trouble sleeping, or thyroid problems

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

  • Digoxin or droxidopa because the risk of irregular heartbeat or heart attack may be increased
  • Beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), furazolidone, linezolid, MAOIs (eg, phenelzine), tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline), or urinary alkalinizers (eg, sodium bicarbonate) because they may increase the risk of Sudafed's side effects
  • Bromocriptine because the risk of its side effects may be increased by Sudafed
  • Guanadrel, guanethidine, mecamylamine, methyldopa, or reserpine because their effectiveness may be decreased by Sudafed

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Sudafed 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 Sudafed:

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

  • Take Sudafed by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Take Sudafed with enough water to be sure that you swallow it completely. Swallow Sudafed immediately after you place it in your mouth.
  • If you miss a dose of Sudafed and are taking it regularly, 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 Sudafed.

Important safety information:

  • Sudafed may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use Sudafed with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Check with your doctor before you drink alcohol while you are using Sudafed.
  • If your symptoms do not get better within 7 days, if they get worse, or if they occur along with a fever, check with your doctor.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or take for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, ask your pharmacist or doctor about the best time of the day to take Sudafed.
  • Do not take diet or appetite control medicines while you are taking Sudafed without checking with your doctor.
  • Sudafed is a decongestant. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has a decongestant in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Sudafed may interfere with certain lab tests. Be sure your doctor and lab personnel know that you are taking Sudafed.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take Sudafed before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Diabetes patients - Sudafed may affect your blood sugar. Check blood sugar levels closely. Ask your doctor before you change the dose of your diabetes medicine.
  • Use Sudafed with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Sudafed should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 6 years old without first checking with the child's doctor; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using Sudafed while you are pregnant. It is not known if Sudafed is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Sudafed.

Possible side effects of Sudafed:

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; headache; nausea; restlessness; trouble sleeping; upset stomach.

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

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); difficulty urinating or inability to urinate; fast or irregular heartbeat; nervousness; severe or persistent dizziness; severe or persistent trouble sleeping.

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.

Proper storage of Sudafed:

Store Sudafed 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 Sudafed out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Sudafed, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Sudafed 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 Sudafed 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 Sudafed. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to Sudafed. 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 Sudafed.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
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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