There was a time not long ago where a simple cold was treated with a simple walk to the local pharmacy. A walk into a CVS or a Walgreens resulted in quick treatment using an over the counter medication such as Sudafed. Today it seems that it might be easier to go to the doctor than pick up an over the counter product. We can all thank the smart, demented chemists who figured out how to take an over the counter drug and make it an illegal one. The general population has to suffer for the actions of a few. To treat a nasal congestion with Sudafed (#Sudafed) you might need a prescription, be over 21 and you can only get one box of medication at a time. I will now explain how this came to be.
There are several types of over the counter medications such as Sudafed on the market today. These products have the main active ingredient in common in the form of Ephedrine or Pseudoephedrine. The version you buy will vary in terms of the main ingredients used. For our purposes, we will focus on the active ingredient in Sudafed, pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine is a nasal decongestant which temporarily relieves sinus pressure and sinus or nasal congestion. The congestion is usually due to the common cold, hay fever and other upper respiratory allergies. It does so by shrinking blood vessels in the nasal passages. Dilated blood vessels can cause that stuffy nose feeling. In concentrated form, pseudoephedrine is also a powerful stimulant. So how does this affect meth?
Methamphetamine (meth, ice, speed, crank, stove top) is produced by using ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. What is the main ingredient in Sudafed? You got it, pseudoephedrine. There is a 2 day process to make meth but it requires the removal of pseudoephedrine from the tablets of cold medicine that contain it. As you can see, anyone with a kitchen could become a meth producer just by buying a few packages of Sudafed. Hence, the new restriction on being able to buy any over the counter nasal decongestant. The stimulant is very addictive but takes a physical toll on your body.
There is an important thing to consider when buying an over the counter medication. You are not a doctor regardless of how many websites you search for symptoms. Always ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cough or cold medicine. Pseudoephedrine or other decongestants are mixed with other active ingredients to create combination drugs. So you can understand of how too much of anything is not a good thing.
The side effects include redness or swelling, fever that gets worse or lasts more than 3 days or difficulty swallowing. You can also have nervousness, dizziness and stomach bleeding. The most common signs of stomach bleeding include vomiting blood, bloody or black stools, feeling faint or have stomach pain that doesn’t get better. One last side effect which most people don’t pay attention to is if your nasal congestion lasts more than 7 days. At this point, go see a doctor. Pseudoephedrine can also pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby.
Comparing Sudafed To Sudafed PE
Walking down the nasal decongestant aisle will result in seeing a lot of variations of the same product. The brand name product will have additional letters listed. As an example, Sudafed PE is a combination drug with four active ingredients. First, start with phenylephrine for nasal decongestant. Add guaifenesin, which is an expectorant, dextromethophan HBr, a cough suppressant and finally acetaminophen which is a pain reliever. All four of these ingredients make Sudafed PE.
The Sudafed PE side effects will vary due to the combination of active ingredients. As more ingredients are used to make a combination over the counter drug, one can expect more side effects. Consider the fact that more ingredients also means more drug interactions with other medications. A case in point are MAO inhibitors which is a class of antidepressants. Using both of these drugs at the same time can cause very serious side effects.
Have you found over the counter medications to work?