Know the facts and connect with support to help you address known or suspected substance use with your child.

    Pseudoephedrine is a stimulant found in over-the-counter decongestant medications. Medically, it is used to treat congestion associated with allergies, hay fever, sinus irritation, and the common cold. Pseudoephedrine is also used as a key ingredient in the production of the illicit drug methamphetamine.[1]

    Understand the risks

    Pseudoephedrine may cause side effects such as restlessness, nausea, vomiting, headache, nervousness, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, stomach pain, difficulty breathing, and fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat.

    To curb production of methamphetamine, pharmacies and other retail stores are legally required to keep logs of purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine; individuals may only purchase a limited amount of those products on a single day.

    Identify & address use

    Signs of use include nausea, nervousness, headache, difficulty sleeping, stomach pain, and fast, pounding or irregular heartbeat. If you’re concerned your child may be misusing pseudoephedrine or other substances, the following can help you address the behavior more effectively.

    Spot the Signs of Teen or Young Adult Substance Use

    A few simple tips and guidelines can go a long way toward spotting issues with drug use earlier rather than later.
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    What Do I Do if My Child is Using Drugs?

    It can be scary if your child is using drugs or alcohol, and it's important to confront it. We're here to give you tips and strategies on how to do it.
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    Last Updated

    June 2020

    [1]“Pseudoephedrine.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 7 Nov. 2018, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682619.html.
    Additional Sources:
    NIDA. “Over-the-Counter Medicines.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1 Dec. 2017, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/over-counter-medicines. Accessed 19 Dec. 2018.

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