What Factors Affect Pseudoephedrine Dosage?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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The factors that most influence pseudoephedrine dosage are patient response and age. Dosing directions also depend on whether the drug is a standard or extended release (ER) formula. Generally, people shouldn’t take this medication for long periods, unless they are under a doctor’s care. Additionally, certain medical conditions or other medicines could either contraindicate or change pseudoephedrine dosage.

Patients typically obtain pseudoephedrine directly from their pharmacist. For regular strength versions of the drug, adults can take one to two pills, or 30-60 milligrams (mg), every four to six hours. The lesser dose of 30 mg is recommended if patients plan to use the drug every four hours.

An alternative to the regular release formula is an extended release form of the drug. The ER pseudoephedrine dosage is very different. Patients will use one 120 mg pill every 12 hours. At no time should adults exceed 240 mg a day. Some companies also market an ER elixir, and package directions should be followed to determine the right amount to take.


Doctors now strongly caution parents that pseudoephedrine and other cold medicines may be dangerous for children under the age of 12. Nevertheless, child formulas are still available. Older children ages six to 12 should receive 30 mg every six hours, and shouldn’t have more than 120 mg per day. Kids who are two to five should get 15 mg every six hours, with a maximum daily pseudoephedrine dosage of 60 mg. The sustained release elixir raises the milligram amount of each dose, but extends the time between them to 12 hours.

An individual’s response to the medicine is important in determining the appropriate pseudoephedrine dosage. This medication is similar to a stimulant and it can cause people to lose sleep or feel nervous or shaky. When these symptoms arise, halving the dose could be of help. Avoiding taking this drug at bedtime might promote better sleep.

Patients also have to determine if the drug is effective. The medication doesn’t always work well for extreme congestion, and it only provides temporary relief. Since most people take pseudoephedrine under their own guidance, it’s a good idea to weigh its side effects and benefits. Sometimes a stronger medication prescribed by a physician is a better alternative or, occasionally, patients are more comfortable with non-drug methods, like nasal rinses, to relieve congestion.

Certain medical conditions or other drugs could contraindicate or influence pseudoephedrine dosage. Patients with heart problems, enlargement of the prostate gland or diabetes need a doctor’s guidance before using this medication. Taking pseudoephedrine with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) may create severe drug interactions and should be avoided.

Other chronic conditions or medications might require dosage adjustments, and individuals with health issues are encouraged to get medical help before they use this drug. Patients are also cautioned to avoid using more than one medication that contains pseudoephedrine, such as two formulas for cold, congestion or flu. This can lead to accidentally exceeding the maximum daily dose.


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