General Information on Sudafed

Sudafed Versus Sudafed PE

Sudafed PE contains a different (but similar) decongestant that was made in order to help people avoid the hassle of the "behind the counter" rule for regular Sudafed. This article applies to regular Sudafed only.

How Does the Drug Work?

Sudafed is part of a class of drugs called decongestants. Specifically, it works by stimulating certain receptors known as alpha-adrenergic receptors. In the lining of the nose and sinuses, this action causes the blood vessels to constrict, allowing less fluid to leave the blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. This helps to relieve nasal and sinus congestion.

When and How to Take Sudafed

General considerations include the following:
  • This medication comes in immediate-release tablets (Sudafed), extended-release tablets (Sudafed 12 Hour or 24 Hour), and a liquid (Children's Sudafed Liquid). The instructions for use vary with each different product.
  • Do not break, chew, cut, or crush the extended-release tablets, as this will cause the medication to be released too quickly.
  • You can take it with food or on an empty stomach. If the medication seems to bother your stomach, try taking it with a little food.
  • Because there are a few different versions of this medicine available, be sure to follow the instructions for your particular product.
  • Some people find that this drug interferes with their ability to fall asleep. If you experience this problem, try taking your last dose earlier in the day.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as directed.
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Sudafed Medication Information

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