does pseudoephedrine keep you awake

Does pseudoephedrine keep you awake?

Nasal congestion is one uncomfortable and irritating experience to have and usually occurs when one has cold or sinus infection. Pseudoephedrine is one  of the drugs that can be used to relive nasal blockage or congestion.

Keep reading to find out and get to know whether it affects sleep as well as other important information about pseudoephedrine

What is pseudoephedrine?

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that is used to give temporary relief to a stuffy nose and sinus pain caused by infection (like the common cold, flu) or other breathing illnesses (such as hay fever, allergies, bronchitis).

It works by narrowing the blood vessels to decrease swelling and congestion. Pseudoephedrine is also called by the brand names Sudafed or Galpseud Linctus.

How does it work?

It works by narrowing the blood vessels to decrease swelling and congestion. Nasal congestion can be caused by dilated blood vessels. Pseudoephedrine usually starts to work in 15 to 30 minutes after being administered.

Where can I get one?

You can buy pseudoephedrine from pharmacies and supermarkets. It comes as tablets and a liquid that you swallow. It also comes mixed with other medicines to treat the symptoms of coughs, colds and allergies.

Which kinds of people are not allowed to take pseudoephedrine?

Children under the age of 6 cannot take pseudoephedrine.

Who can take pseudoephedrine?

Pseudoephedrine can be taken by most adults and children over the age of 12 years old.

Can pseudoephedrine keep you awake?

One downside of pseudoephedrine is that it can cause insomnia or keep you awake. It can even cause restless legs syndrome, a disorder that often interferes with a person’s ability to fall asleep. If you are suffering from a cold, taking medication containing pseudoephedrine can keep you up all night. 

What should I do before taking this medicine?

It is best to avoid using pseudoephedrine within 2 weeks if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate). This is because a dangerous drug interaction could occur leading to severe side effects including hypertensive crisis.

In case you are allergic to pseudoephedrine, make sure to avoid using it. 

Consult a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take pseudoephedrine if you have the following

  • Heart disease or high blood pressure;
  • Diabetes
  • A thyroid disorder

How and when to take pseudoephedrine?

Use pseudoephedrine exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

  • The usual dose of pseudoephedrine is 60mg tablets or as a liquid containing 30mg in 5ml.
  • Adults and children aged 12 to 17 years: take one 60mg tablet or two 5ml spoons (10ml) of liquid up to 4 times a day.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 years: take half a tablet (30mg) or one 5ml spoon of liquid up to 4 times a day.

You can take pseudoephedrine tablets and liquid with or without food. Make sure to take the tablets with a glass of water (do not use cold water). Do not give pseudoephedrine to a child younger than 6 years old

What will happen if I miss a dose?

If you are taking the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take a double dose to make up for missing a dose. 

What happens if I overdose on pseudoephedrine?

An overdose of pseudoephedrine can be dangerous. Taking an overdose of pseudoephedrine can make you restless, increase the rate at which your heart beats and make you feel sick or vomit. You may also have difficulty peeing

Seek immediate medical attention if you overdose on pseudoephedrine.

What should I avoid when taking pseudoephedrine?

Avoid taking pseudoephedrine if you also take diet pills, caffeine pills, or other stimulants (such as ADHD medications). Taking a stimulant together with a decongestant can increase your risk of unpleasant side effects.

What are the side effects of pseudoephedrine?

Below are some of the side effects of pseudoephedrine.

  • Fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeat;
  • Severe dizziness or anxiety;
  • Easy bruising or bleeding, unusual weakness, fever, chills, body aches, flu symptoms; or
  • Dangerously high blood pressure (which can cause severe headache, blurred vision, ringing in your ears, anxiety, confusion, chest pain, trouble breathing, uneven heart rate, seizure).
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Warmth, tingling, or redness under your skin;
  • Feeling restless or excited (mostly in children)
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Skin rash or itching

How to store pseudoephedrine?

Pseudoephedrine is best stored in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Do not use freezing as a method to store pseudoephedrine

It should be kept out of the reach of children

The takeaway from this article

Pseudoephedrine may result in insomnia and the doctor or pharmacist would guide you appropriately on the administration of this drug. It may even result in restless legs syndrome, a disorder that often interferes with a person’s ability to fall asleep.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Author at

Dr. Abel Daartey is a pharmacist by profession, a teacher, and a mentor by nature. He enjoys reading scientific journals and articles and publications in neuroscience and related topics. He aims at churning out content that educates the public and health care providers in meeting the healthcare needs of the populace.

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