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About pseudoephedrine - Brand names: Sudafed, Galpseud, Boots Decongestant, Care Decongestant

Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant that helps you breathe more easily if your nose is stuffy or blocked (nasal congestion). This happens when blood vessels in the cavities in your nose (sinuses) become swollen.

Pseudoephedrine works by reducing this swelling and that helps mucus and air flow more freely.

You can get a blocked or stuffy nose when you have:

You can buy pseudoephedrine from pharmacies. It comes as tablets and a liquid that you swallow. You can buy these from a pharmacy in a pack of 12 tablets or 100ml of liquid.

If you need more than this, you'll need a prescription from a doctor.

Pseudoephedrine also comes mixed with other medicines to treat the symptoms of coughs, colds and allergies. These include Benadryl Allergy Relief, Benylin Day & Night and Boots Chesty Cough & Congestion Relief.

Galpseud Plus Linctus is another pseudoephedrine mixture but it comes in a 500ml bottle so you will need a prescription.

Pseudoephedrine mixed with other medicines comes as tablets, capsules and a liquid that you swallow.

Key facts

  • Pseudoephedrine usually starts to work in 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Common side effects include feeling sick, headaches and a dry mouth.
  • Only use pseudoephedrine for a short time, usually less than 7 days. Using it for longer than this could cause side effects.
  • Pseudoephedrine can raise your blood pressure and your heart rate so it's best not to take it if you have heart problems.
  • Try to reduce how much caffeine (such as coffee, tea, cola and chocolate) you have. It can increase your heart rate, and you may get side effects such as feeling shaky.

Page last reviewed: 2 November 2022
Next review due: 2 November 2025