What Is Pseudoephedrine?
Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal congestion caused by colds, allergies, and hay fever. It is also used to temporarily relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Pseudoephedrine will relieve symptoms but will not treat the cause of the symptoms or speed recovery. Pseudoephedrine is in a class of medications called nasal decongestants. It works by causing narrowing of the blood vessels in the nasal passages.
Due to its central nervous system (CNS) stimulant properties and structural similarity to amphetamine, it is also used for non-medical purposes or substance abuse. The substance is taken as an appetite reducer, an agent which eliminates drowsiness and fatigue, to improve concentration, and as a doping agent. Due to its easier availability, it is sometimes used as a substitute for amphetamine or methamphetamine abuse.
Uses For Pseudoephedrine
This medication is also sometimes used to prevent ear pain and blockage caused by pressure changes during air travel or underwater diving. You have to speak with your doctor or pharmacist for more information. It is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
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Side Effects & Long Term Effects Pseudoephedrine
Pseudoephedrine may cause side effects.  Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stomach pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Pseudoephedrine addiction may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911 as these are the symptoms of a drug overdose.
What Is Pseudoephedrine Made From?
Pseudoephedrine (PSE) and ephedrine (E) are alkaloids derived from various species of Ephedra spp. of the Ephedraceae family. The most common source of their extraction is Ephedra sinica, also known as Ma Huang. The history of the use of Ephedra products in medicine is very long; they have been used in China for over 5000 years and in the Middle East for over 2000 years in the treatment of bronchial asthma, fever, coughs and colds, hay fever, edema, bronchitis, urticaria, chronic hypotension, and rheumatism. Nowadays, they are also used as stimulants, the so-called energizers, and as agents reducing appetite, and body weight and increasing energy consumption. They are popular with bodybuilders, athletes, schoolchildren, and students. 
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How Is Pseudoephedrine Misused?
Pseudoephedrine is also used as a key ingredient in the production of the illicit drug methamphetamine. To curb the production of methamphetamine, pharmacies and other retail stores are legally required to keep logs of purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine; individuals may only purchase a limited amount of those products on a single day.
Pseudoephedrine is most dangerous when it is used in the manufacture of methamphetamines.
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant occasionally used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. However, methamphetamine is also a frequently abused, highly addictive drug that can be manufactured from “over-the-counter” (OTC) cold/allergy medicines.
Dangers Of Meth
- The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 353 000 people in the USA aged 12 years or older abuse methamphetamine annually.
- The cost of methamphetamine abuse in the USA was estimated at $23.4 billion in 2005 including costs for health care, incarceration and parole supervision, clandestine laboratory site cleanups, property damage, drug arrests, hospital costs, custodial care for children, lost productivity, lower quality of life and premature death.
- There were an estimated 6 million crimes committed by methamphetamine abusers in 2004.
- In 2011, more than 10 000 illicit methamphetamine laboratories were found in the USA. Each laboratory creates environmental hazards that necessitate expensive and timely cleanup.
- From 1998 to 2012, a Missouri program processed 16 000 methamphetamine laboratory incidents accounting for 280 tons of hazardous waste.
- In 2011, the Tennessee Meth Initiative for Child Advocacy Centers supported 369 endangered children rescued from methamphetamine sites. 
Is Pseudoephedrine Addictive?
The conversion of pseudoephedrine into methamphetamine is the most common way for people to get high in Pseudoephedrine addiction. The personal and societal effects of methamphetamine abuse are well documented. The ease of accessibility to methamphetamine and the quality of the “high” it produces makes the drug highly desired by its abusers. Over time, many methamphetamine users will also become methamphetamine cooks, where pseudoephedrine in over-the-counter cold products is converted to methamphetamine through a simple, albeit extremely dangerous, process.
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Pseudoephedrine Addiction Symptoms
Due to restrictions arising from easy conversion to methamphetamine (the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 bans over-the-counter (OTC) sales of cold medicines that contain ingredients, such as pseudoephedrine, commonly used to make methamphetamine).
If a person demonstrates changes in mood, finances, or appearance, it may be a sign of drug abuse. Chronic Pseudoephedrine addiction can lead to health changes or even chronic illness. Even over-the-counter medications can lead to deadly overdoses.
If you suspect someone who is abusing the prescription drug or other OTC medications, check the criteria for Pseudoephedrine addiction. Substance use disorders are defined as a pattern of use that results in marked distress and/or impairment, with two or more of the following symptoms over the course of a 12-month period:
- Using the substance in larger amounts or over a longer period of time than intended
- Unsuccessful attempts or persistent desire to reduce the use
- Too much time spent on obtaining, using, and/or recovering from the effects of the substance
- A strong craving for the substance
- Significant interference with roles at work, school, or home
- Continued use despite recurrent social or interpersonal consequences
- Reducing or giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of the substance use
- Substance use in situations in which it may be physically hazardous
- Substance use despite recurrent or persistent physical or psychological consequences
- Tolerance of the substance
- Withdrawal from the substance 
How Is Pseudoephedrine Used Illegally?
Pseudoephedrine is also a substrate (precursor) used in the production of amphetamine or methamphetamine drugs. Time can only tell whether legal restrictions on the sale of this drug will reduce the scale of the problem associated with its misuse.
If substance use has become an issue in your life, it is essential to seek treatment immediately. There are many types of treatment that exist to help those addicted to substances, many of which can be accessed by scheduling an assessment with one’s provider of choice.
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Pseudoephedrine Addiction Treatment
If you are addicted to prescription drugs such as Pseudoephedrine, your first step in recovery should be medical detox in a safe and medically supervised setting. We Level Up detox & substance abuse treatment center medically assist clients in clearing their systems of addictive substances. In addition, a comprehensive team prescribing medications can alleviate your withdrawal pains while monitoring your health 24 hours. Thus, assuring both your safety and comfort.
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We Level Up residential care program slowly and effectively introduces the individual into an atmosphere of therapeutic growth, marked by Master’s level therapists, clinicians, group counselors, psychiatrists, and a community of like-minded individuals with the same aim: to attain sobriety and live a great life.
Clients in residential therapy programs will live comfortably within the facility during this crucial and fragile time. This supportive environment is designed to give clients 24-hour care for sobriety, removing temptations for relapse and applying an air of recovery into every component of the treatment timeline.
We Level Up finds that when clients are living in a supportive community, especially during their early recovery process, they can truly focus on what matters most: their recovery. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life with a safe drug addiction treatment.
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 Pseudoephedrine – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health
 Pseudoephedrine—Benefits and Risks – National Center for Biotechnology Information
 The advent of a new pseudoephedrine product to combat methamphetamine abuse – National Center for Biotechnology Information
 Adapted from American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5®). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2013.