Is taking a few ephedrine a day okay for allergies?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Is taking a couple of ephedrine a day okay for allergies? It seems to clear my head from allergies.

Expert Answer

Taking ephedrine daily for allergies may provide brief relief, but could be very problematic. Ephedrine has been linked to serious side effects. Due to this fact, it is not widely available; ephedra-containing products were banned by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) years ago. This makes me wonder if you are actually taking pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, or another agent that is more common. Regardless, we generally recommend that you not take these agents for more than 3-5 days in a row to avoid the risk of developing rebound congestion. This is when your congestion returns and is usually worse than before you started taking the medication. Ephedrine can cause rebound congestion, have adverse effects on your heart, or cause restlessness (a stimulant effect). Your risk for these adverse effects would increase with certain conditions, like heart conditions, high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, and age. If your allergies continue to bother you, there are other safer medications you can take. The best option will depend on your past medical history and any other conditions you may have.