What are the side effects of ephedrine?

Ephedrine is often found in cough syrups and cold or allergy medications
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Remember: All drugs, including the misuse of prescribed medication, can pose serious health risks, up to and including possible death.

Ephedrine is a stimulant that is commonly used in over the counter cough, cold, allergy or hay fever medicines an as well as in prescription asthma and allergy medicines.

Taking ephedrine increases energy and enhances mood (users report feeling more confident and happy).

Learn more about taking over the counter medicine.

The side effects of ephedrine

It’s good to be aware of the side effects of ephedrine.

  • It can cause loss of appetite and low blood pressure
  • It can become addictive after chronic use
  • Large doses may cause nervousness, insomnia, headache and sweating
  • Long-term recreational misuse has been linked to strokes and heart attack

Risk of addiction

Ephedrine acts on the dopamine and serotonin receptors in your brain so you can become dependent on it. You may develop tolerance so you need to take more to get the same effect.

Supports and Services

  • Drugs.ie: Online information and support for drug and alcohol use. Includes a national directory of drug and alcohol services
  • HSE Drugs, Alcohol, HIV and Sexual Health Helpline: Freephone 1800 459 459.
  • The Club Drug Clinic offers advice, support and detoxification for GHB (Liquid Ecstasy, G) and other chemsex and club drugs is an integrated person centred specialist addiction service: Tel 016488600
  • Rialto Community Drug Team
  • Find a local service through the National Directory for Drug and Alcohol Services at Drugs.ie
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