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Ephedrine Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to ephedrine: parenteral injection

Side effects include:

Parenteral ephedrine: Nervousness, insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, tension, tremor, weakness, dizziness, vertigo, headache, confusion, delirium, hallucination, pallor, respiratory difficulty, hypertension (resulting in cerebral hemorrhage), tachycardia, palpitation, sweating, nausea, vomiting, anorexia, vesical sphincter spasm (resulting in difficult and painful urination), urinary retention (particularly in males with prostatism), precordial pain, cardiac arrhythmias.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to ephedrine: compounding powder, injectable solution, intravenous solution, oral capsule

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects associated with large doses of ephedrine have included nervousness, insomnia, vertigo, and headache. Seizure, anxiety, and tremors have also been reported.[Ref]


Cardiovascular side effects associated with large doses of ephedrine have included tachycardia and palpitation. Precordial pain and arrhythmias have been reported following administration of ephedrine injection. Hypertension, stroke, and myocardial infarction have also been reported.[Ref]


Other side effects associated with large doses of ephedrine have included sweating.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea, vomiting, and anorexia.[Ref]


Urinary retention has mainly been reported in male patients with prostatism.[Ref]

Genitourinary side effects have included dysuria and urinary retention.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects associated with prolonged abuse of ephedrine have included symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. Suicide and psychotic episodes have also been reported.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Ephedrine Sulfate (ephedrine)." Bedford Laboratories, Bedford, OH.

2. Wooltorton E, Sibbald B "Ephedra/ephedrine: cardiovascular and CNS effects." CMAJ 166 (2002): 633

Not all side effects for ephedrine may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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