Propylhexedrine is an amphetamine-like stimulant drug that is used mainly intra-nasally, as a decongestant. It is known by various trade names around the world. Due to its stimulant properties, propylhexedrine has been used as a drug of abuse, although its abuse potential is lower than that of other amphetamines.
Due to its anorectic properties, propylhexedrine was previously available as an oral tablet used for weight loss. It has been withdrawn from the market in most countries due to the addictive properties of the drug. It is still available, however, as an inhaler in some countries.
Nasal congestion is caused by vasodilation of the blood vessels in the nose, throat and sinuses. This causes irritation and inflammation and a feeling of stuffiness, which can be as a result of allergies such as hay fever or illnesses like colds. Propylhexedrine works by causing vasoconstriction of the blood vessels and, therefore, relief from the stuffiness.
Propylhexedrine should be used only for the short term, as one of its main side effects is rhinitis medicamentosa, or rebound nasal congestion. It should not be used for more than three days in a row, as rebound nasal congestion can result five to seven days after starting use of the inhaler. Rebound nasal congestion is probably caused by a negative feedback system, which, on stopping the inhaler, causes more vasodilation and further blockage of the nasal passages. People often try to use more propylhexedrine or use it more frequently to combat the problem, which actually worsens it.
Abuse of propylhexedrine has been practiced in various ways, including inhalation, injection and oral use. Some cases of ingestion of the cotton innards of the inhaler have been reported. This is an extremely dangerous practice, as the cotton can cause gastrointestinal blockages and internal infection. In addition to these mechanical adverse effects, abuse of the drug itself has potentially dangerous effects, such as addiction, tachycardia, convulsions and serious heart problems.
The use of propylhexedrine inhalers can reduce congestion related to sinusitis, allergy or colds. Most inhalers contain menthol and lavender in combination with the drug, which enhances the decongestant effect. Inhalers should not be shared, as this can promote the spread of infection. If any adverse effects are experienced, or if there are concomitant diseases or medicines being used, advice should be sought from a doctor or pharmacist before using the product.