Also known as pseudoephedrine, Sudafed is a decongestant that treats nasal and sinus congestion by shrinking the blood vessels in the nose. It also helps drain fluid from your inner ears which may contribute to this congestion. While effective for many, Sudafed is not without its share of side effects that you should be aware of before taking the medication.
Common Side Effects
The most common side effects are more of a bother than a danger to your health. If your doctor has suggested you take Sudafed to help relieve your cold or allergy symptoms, speak to him if these side effects do not subside. He may have another medication he can recommend. These side effects include the chills, insomnia even if you are drowsy, feeling nervous or restless, and nausea. You may also find that your appetite is almost non-existent, or that your mouth, throat and nose are extremely dry. Ringing in your ears, while aggravating, is common but not serious. Constipation is possible, as is diarrhea. You may also find it difficult to pass urine.
Serious Side Effects
Serious side effects are rare, and should be reported to your doctor immediately. These include heart palpitations, tightness in your chest, hallucinating, seizures, sudden confusion, changes in vision (e.g., blurred or double vision) and a rapid heart rate. If you find yourself bruising or bleeding easily, feeling unusually weak or anxious, waste no time in contacting your physician.
High Blood Pressure
Sudafed may cause your blood pressure to rise. It is important to recognize the signs of elevated blood pressure and report them as soon as possible. They include a sudden and severe headache, problems concentrating, blurred vision, chest pain, seizures and numbness.
Low Blood Pressure
Just as high blood pressure is considered a serious side effect of Sudafed, so too is low blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of low blood pressure include dizziness, loss of concentration, nausea, rapid or shallow breathing, depression, fainting, nausea, fatigue, excessive thirst, and pale, cold and clammy skin.