Written By: Fiona Stockard
Pseudoephedrine Abuse & Addiction Facts and Statistics
Pseudoephedrine addiction is a relatively rare phenomenon. Not many people find themselves addicted to this common nasal decongestant. However, adolescents and young adults sometimes abuse Sudafed to catch a quick buzz. What are pseudoephedrine addiction facts? Do we have pseudoephedrine addiction statistics? How much is known about addiction to this OTC pill?
There aren’t many hard statistics and facts about pseudoephedrine addiction. Most of the information regarding Sudafed addiction relates to how it’s used to manufacture methamphetamine. So, rather than grasp at straws, let’s explore what pseudoephedrine addiction facts and statistics really look like.
Sudafed is a popular brand of pseudoephedrine. It’s an over-the-counter nasal decongestant found in almost every pharmacy. To avoid repetition, the two names are used interchangeably over the course of this article.
Pseudoephedrine Addiction Facts
Find various pseudoephedrine addiction facts below:
- Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant. It can be derived naturally from the Ephedra plant. Today, most manmade pseudoephedrine comes from laboratories. Pseudoephedrine, as its name implies, it shares many properties with its chemical cousin, ephedra.
- As a decongestant medication, Sudafed works by shrinking tissue in the nasal passages. This allows for decreased congestion, as well as draining the sinuses. It can be taken as a pill or used as a topical cream.
- Sudafed abuse occurs when someone takes more than the recommended medical dose. Because Sudafed’s a stimulant, it produces feelings of energy, alertness, and euphoria in users. While these effects are only nominally felt at the recommended medical dose, they’re much stronger when abused.
- The high produced by pseudoephedrine is similar to other stimulants. Common effects, besides those mentioned above, include: increased athletic ability and management of ADD or ADHD symptoms.
- Unpleasant side effects of Sudafed abuse are also common. These include: headache, dizziness, insomnia, muscle weakness, anxiety, heart palpitations, hypertension, and malignant hypertension (hypertension coupled with organ impairment and damage).
- Pseudoephedrine addiction facts are mainly related to how Sudafed is used to manufacture meth. Because of its stimulant properties, pseudoephedrine’s a common ingredient in meth. Once again, other facts about Sudafed addiction are hard to find.
- There are upwards of 100 over-the-counter medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Many states have started monitoring and restricting access to Sudafed. For example, Oklahoma has a real time monitoring system, which tracks purchases of any drug containing pseudoephedrine. A single individual isn’t allowed to buy over 7.3 grams per day. A average box of Sudafed contains 2.4 grams of pseudoephedrine. You do the math.
Pseudoephedrine Addiction Statistics
Find various pseudoephedrine addiction statistics below:
Just like facts about pseudoephedrine addiction are hard to find, so are Sudafed addiction statistics. However, there are some statistics readily available.
- In 2006, decongestants sent between 593 and 2,428 people to the ER. The median average of these numbers is 1,511. So in 2006, pseudoephedrine addiction is thought to have sent just over 1,500 people to the ER.
- Also in 2006, expectorants sent between 887 and 3,363 people to the ER. The median average of these numbers is 2,125. Now, Sudafed isn’t an expectorant, so it wasn’t responsible for these ER visits. Rather, pseudoephedrine is often sold in combination with guaifenesin, which is an expectorant. So, Sudafed contributed to the hospitalization of these people, though it wasn’t the primary cause.
What Do These Pseudoephedrine Addiction Facts and Statistics Mean For You?
The above facts, statistics, and information about pseudoephedrine addiction show that not many people abuse this drug. If Sudafed addiction were more common, there’d be more information. However, as Sudafed is a common OTC medication and produces nasty side effects, pseudoephedrine addiction and abuse are cause for concern – no matter the number, high or low, of people using.
If you or a loved one is abusing pseudoephedrine, Lighthouse Recovery Institute can help.