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Side Effects of Taking Too Much Pseudoephedrine Within 24 Hours

author image Carole Anne Tomlinson
Carole Anne Tomlinson is a registered nurse with experience in rehabilitation, nutrition, chemical dependency, diabetes and health problems related to the elderly. Tomlinson holds a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice and is presently working on her master's degree in nursing. Her screenplays have been viewed by Merchant Ivory, Angela Lansbury and Steven King's associates.
Side Effects of Taking Too Much Pseudoephedrine Within 24 Hours
Doctor speaking with patient in hospital room. Photo Credit: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Pseudoephedrine is an ingredient in many over-the-counter (OTC) medications, but because it is used to make methamphetamine or crystal meth, many stores have taken the precaution of keeping it behind the counter. Many stores require a driver’s license or other photo identification card and a signature to sell pseudoephedrine-containing drugs. Even when used for legitimate reasons, it can cause some health problems.

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Pseudoephedrine is contained many brand-name OTC medicines including Sudafed, 12-hour Cold Maximum Strength, Biofed, Simply Stuffy, Claritin-D, Cenafed, Efidac 24 Pseudoephedrine, Chlor-Trimeton Nasal, Genephed, Contac 12-Hour, ElixSure Congestion Children’s, Dimetapp Decongestant and Pediacare Decongestion Infants among others. Taking an overdose of pseudoephedrine can have, among its side effects, the serious effect of a seizure or convulsion. Any such side effect from an overdose of pseudoephedrine should be reported to a doctor as soon as possible.


Another potential and disconcerting side effect of an overdose of pseudoephedrine is hallucinations. These may take the form of seeing things not really there, hearing things that others don’t hear or having physical sensations of something that does not exist touching you. Again, such side effects should send you to you physician for help.


High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition many people suffer from. If you already have hypertension, pseudoephedrine may increase it. If you do not, you may temporarily experience it. Hypertension causes the heart to work harder to pump more blood to your body more rapidly. It can cause cardiovascular problems including strokes or heart attacks. Contact your physician immediately if your blood pressure goes up.

Other Side Effects

Pseudoephedrine can cause side effects, including digestive upset, headaches, restlessness and weakness. An overdose of pseudoephedrine also may cause other serious symptoms. All of these may require medical attention. They include rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, uncommon excitement, restlessness, uncommon nervousness, difficulties breathing including breath shortness that is continuing or severe and a change in heartbeat speed, fast or slow, that continues or is severe. Taking pseudoephedrine might also make it difficult to sleep and cause dizziness.

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