Meth’s Chemical Cousin Normally Poses No Risk

Although pseudoephedrine, the primary active ingredient in Sudafed, is a chemical cousin of methamphetamine and other amphetamines, its effects are quite different. So, don’t let fears of drug addiction keep you from taking care of that winter cold.

Pseudoephedrine is used to relieve nasal or sinus congestion caused by the common cold, sinusitis, hay fever and allergies. It is also used to relieve ear congestion caused by ear inflammation or infection.

Other over-the-counter products containing it include Cenafed, Chlor-Trimeton Non-Drowsy Decongestant, Drixoral Non-Drowsy Formula, Efidac / 24 and PediaCare Infants’ Oral Decongestant Drops.

Some side effects, such as nervousness, restlessness and trouble sleeping are similar to the effects of amphetamines, but it does not produce a “high” or any pleasurable effects.


Overdoses can be quite serious. Complications of overdoses include convulsions, hallucinations, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and difficulty in breathing.