Can you help us improve NHS Choices?

Take part in our survey to share your views

Ephedrine nasal drops

  • Overview


Information specific to: Ephedrine nasal drops.

About Ephedrine nasal drops and how it works

This medicine helps relieve nasal congestion. The main ingredient ephedrine, works by narrowing blood vessels in the nose, which helps reduce nasal congestion and eases breathing.

This medicine is available in the form of drops that are put into the nose.

This medicine must not be used continuously for more than seven days. Using this medicine for longer than this can lead to a sudden increase in nasal congestion when you stop using it.

Consult your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse during treatment with this medicine.

Before using Ephedrine nasal drops

This medicine may not be suitable for everyone and some people must never take it. Check the leaflet that comes with your medicine to make sure that the medicine is suitable before taking it.

Always get advice from a healthcare professional before having this medicine if:

  • you are allergic or sensitive to or have had a reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine
  • this medicine is for a child under 12 years of age
  • you are elderly
  • you have heart and circulation problems
  • peripheral vascular disease
  • you have high blood pressure
  • you are in a state of hyperexcitability
  • you have an overactive thyroid gland
  • you have phaeochromocytoma
  • you have closed angle glaucoma
  • you have urinary retention
  • you have recently had nasal or sinus surgery
  • you have asthma
  • you have kidney problems
  • you have diabetes
  • you have an enlarged prostate gland

Medicines interactions

If you are taking or using more than one medicine they may interact with each other. Before using this medicine consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking or have recently taken any other medicines including vitamins, supplements and herbal or complementary preparations.

The following medicines may interact with this medicine:

  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors - do not use this medicine if you are currently taking these medicines or have taken them within the last 14 days
  • anti-arrhythmics
  • beta-blockers
  • quinidine
  • adrenergic neurone blockers
  • cardiac glycosides such as digoxin or digitoxin
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • ergotamine
  • methysergide
  • sympathomimetics including other decongestants
  • oxytocin
  • doxapram
  • rasagiline
  • selegiline
  • dexamethasone
  • halogenated or volatile anaesthetics
  • thyroid hormones
  • appetite suppressants and amphetamine-like psychostimulants
  • medicines that lower blood pressure
  • reserpine
  • guanethidine
  • methyldopa
  • caffeine
  • antipyschotics
  • theophyline

Possible side effects of Ephedrine nasal drops

Most medicines can cause some side-effects but not everyone having the same medicine will get the same side-effects.

The following side-effects have been associated with people having ephedrine:

  • high blood glucose levels
  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • low blood levels of potassium
  • anxiety
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • tremors
  • headache
  • tolerance or dependence
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • dilatation of the pupils
  • palpitations
  • heart rhythm problems
  • high blood pressure
  • vasodilatation with lowering of blood pressure
  • flushing
  • impaired circulation to the extremities
  • breathing difficulties
  • nausea
  • thirst
  • dry mouth
  • loss of appetite
  • vomiting
  • increased salivation
  • sweating
  • dermatitis
  • goose pimples
  • muscular weakness
  • urinary difficulties in men with an enlarged prostate gland
  • urinary retention
  • irritation, pain, and dryness in the nose
  • rebound congestion and runny nose

If you experience other side effects or have any other worrying symptoms while you are using this medicine, seek medical advice.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding

If you are pregnant, or are breast-feeding, you should seek medical advice before having this medicine.

Other important information

Make sure that you read the leaflet that comes with your medicine to check what dose you should use and if there is anything that you need to do if you use more than the recommended dose. If you are in any doubt about whether this medicine is suitable for you, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

This medicine is available in two different strengths: 0.5% and 1%.

Take care the dropper does not touch the nose or any surface when you put the drops into your nose. This is because you may contaminate the remaining contents of the bottle.

Keep this medicine away from your eyes.

Each bottle of this medicine must be used only by one person.

Do not freeze this medicine.

You must dispose of the bottle and any remaining contents two months after opening it. It is a good idea to make a note of the date when you first opened it.

Keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children.

Content provided by Datapharm

Printable guides available for this medicine: