Table of contents

  • Brand Names
  • Drug Combinations
  • Chemistry
  • Pharmacologic Category
  • Mechanism of Action
  • Therapeutic Use
  • Unlabeled Use
  • Pregnancy and Lactation Implications
  • Contraindications
  • Warnings and Precautions
  • Adverse Reactions
  • Toxicological Effects
  • Genes that may be involved
  • Drug Interactions
  • Nutrition/Nutraceutical Interactions
  • Dosage
  • Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics
  • Special Considerations

Brand Names


Belgium: Endrine; Bulgaria: Ephedrine; Cyprus: Ephedrine; Czech Republic: Ephedrin; France: Ephedrine; Germany: Caniphedrin; Greece: Ephedrine, Neo Rhinovit, Rhinolex; Hungary: Epherit; Ireland: Ephedrine; Italy: Efedri C; Malta: Ephedrine; Netherlands: Efedrine; Poland: Efrinol, Ephedrinum; Portugal: Efedrina, Spinefe; Romania: Efedrina, Ephedrine; Slovakia: Ephedrin; Spain: Efedrina; Sweden: Efedrin; UK: Ephedrine.

North America

Canada: Ephedrine, Formula S/E.

Latin America

Argentina: Efedrina, Muchan; Brazil: Efedrin, Efedrina, Unifedrine; Mexico: Tendrin.


Japan: Ephedrin, Ephedrine.

Drug combinations

Ephedrine and Antipyrine

Ephedrine and Benzoid Acid

Ephedrine and Chlorphenamine

Ephedrine and Codeine

Ephedrine and Dextromethorphan

Ephedrine and Lidocaine

Ephedrine and Naphazoline

Ephedrine and Procaine

Ephedrine and Pyrilamine

Ephedrine and Resorcine

Ephedrine and Theophylline

Ephedrine, Benzocaine, and Phenazone

Ephedrine, Butobarbital, and Theophylline

Ephedrine, Caffeine, and Theophylline

Ephedrine, Chloramphenicol, and Tripelennamine

Ephedrine, Chlorobutanol, and Tyrothricin

Ephedrine, Chlorpheniramine, and Dexamethasone

Ephedrine, Chlorpheniramine, and Dextromethorphan

Ephedrine, Isoflupredone, and Naphazoline

Ephedrine, Naphazoline, and Prednisolone

Ephedrine, Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan, and Doxylamine

Ephedrine, Antipyrine, Diphenhydramine, and Nitrofurazone

Ephedrine, Bromhexine, Dextromethorphan, and Diphenhydramine

Ephedrine, Carbetapentane, Chlorpheniramine, and Phenylephrine

Ephedrine, Chlorpheniramine, Dextromethorphan, and Guaifenesin

Other Ephedrine combinations: Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C); Crataegus spp.; Cuprum* acetate; Drosera spp.; Ipecac Syrup; Rutoside; Selenicereus grandiflorus; Strophanthus gratus*


Ephedrine: C~10~H~15~NO. Mw: 165.23. Benzenemethanol, α-[1-(methylamino)ethyl]-, [R-(R*,S*)]-. CAS-299-42-3 ((-)-ephedrine); CAS-50906-05-3 (hemihydrate).

Ephedrine Sulfate: (C~10~H~15~NO)~2~ H~2~SO~4~. Mw: 428.54. Benzenemethanol, α-[1-(methylamino)ethyl]-, [R-(R*,S*)]-, sulfate (2:1). CAS-134-72-5.

Pharmacologic Category

Sympathomimetic (Adrenergic) Agents; α- and β-Adrenergic Agonists. (ATC-Code: C01CA26; R01AA03; R01AB05; R03CA02; S01FB02).

Mechanism of action

A sympathomimetic agent which occurs naturally in plants of the genus Ephedra. Releases tissue stores of epinephrine and thereby produces α- and β-adrenergic stimulation.

Therapeutic use

Ephedrine, in fixed combination with expectorants, bronchodilators, or sedatives, is used orally as a bronchodilator in the symptomatic treatment of mild bronchial asthma and reversible bronchospasm which may occur in association with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and COPD. Used parenterally to produce cardiac stimulation and vasoconstriction as an adjunct to correcting hemodynamic imbalances in the treatment of shock which persists after adequate fluid volume replacement. Ephedrine has also been used orally to treat mild orthostatic hypotension. Has been used to treat hypotension occurring during spinal anesthesia. Has been used parenterally to provide temporary support of ventricular rate in the treatment of bradycardia and syncopal episodes caused by atrioventricular nodal block. Has been used orally to relieve dysmenorrhea by decreasing uterine contractions but is not reliable as a uterine relaxant and may have an excitatory effect on the uterus in some patients. Has also been used to treat urinary incontinence and enuresis.

Pregnancy and lactiation implications

Unknown whether ephedrine can cause fetal harm or affect reproduction capacity when administered to pregnant women. Should therefore be used during pregnancy only when clearly needed. Parenteral ephedrine should not be used in obstetric patients when maternal systolic/diastolic blood pressure exceeds >130/80 mm Hg. Use in nursing women not recommended due to risk for infants.

Unlabeled use

Ephedrine has been used orally for the management of peripheral edema secondary to diabetic neuropathy in some type 1 diabetic patients. Due to its anorexigenic effects, ephedrine alone or combined with caffeine has been used for self-medication in the management of exogenous obesity.


Hypersensitivity to ephedrine or any component of the formulation. Cardiac arrhythmias. Angle-closure glaucoma. Other sympathomimetic agents.

Warnings and precautions

May cause hypertension and tachycardia. Long-term use may cause anxiety and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. Use with caution in cardiovascular disease such as coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, hypertension, and in patients receiving digitalis; also in diabetes mellitus, prostatic hyperplasia and/or urinary stricture, history of seizure disorder, thyroid dysfunction, unstable vasomotor symptoms. Use with extreme caution in patients taking MAOIs. Caution also in the elderly (crosses the blood-brain barrier and may cause confusion). Blood volume depletion should be corrected before I.V./I.M. therapy is instituted. Avoid as a bronchodilator. Dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids have been associated with serious adverse cardiac effects. Some preparations may contain the dye tartrazine (FD&C yellow No. 5); possible allergic reactions in susceptible individuals (e.g. those sensitive to aspirin). Tolerance may develop.



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