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Ephedrine hydrochloride oral

Updated 2 Feb 2023 | Other adrenoceptor agonists


Oral formulations of ephedrine hydrochloride

Drugs List

  • ephedrine 15mg tablets
  • ephedrine 30mg tablets
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Reversible airways obstruction

    Unlicensed Uses

    Neuropathic oedema




    15 to 60 mg three times a day.

    Oral liquid
    16 mg three to four times a day.

    Neuropathic Oedema
    30 to 60 mg three times a day.


    Dosage should be substantially reduced. Initial therapy should be 50% of adult dose.



    Children ages 6 to 12 years
    30 mg three times daily.

    Children aged 1 to 5 years
    15 mg three times daily.

    Children under 1 year
    Not recommended.

    Oral liquid

    Children over 4 years
    8 mg three times daily.

    Children aged 2 to 4 years
    4 mg three times daily.

    Children aged 6 months to 2 years
    2 mg three times daily.

    Children under 6 months
    Not recommended.


    Children under 6 months
    Within 2 weeks of discontinuing MAOIs

    Precautions and Warnings

    Benign prostatic hyperplasia
    Cardiac arrhythmias
    Diabetes mellitus
    Glucose-galactose malabsorption syndrome
    Hereditary fructose intolerance
    Ischaemic heart disease
    Lactose intolerance
    Narrow angle glaucoma
    Renal impairment

    Not all available brands are licensed for all age groups
    Presentations with sorbitol unsuitable in hereditary fructose intolerance
    Some formulations contain lactose
    Tolerance and dependence may occur

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Ephedrine hydrochloride is contraindicated in pregnancy.

    Ephedrine-like drugs are teratogenic in some animal species, but human teratogenicity has not been established.

    Significant increases in foetal heart rate and beat-to-beat variability may occur, but these effects may be the result of normal reflexes following hypotension-associated bradycardia. The presence of ephedrine in the foetal circulation is probably a major cause of the foetal heart rate changes.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Ephedrine hydrochloride is contraindicated in breastfeeding.

    Ephedrine hydrochloride is excreted in breast milk. Irritability and sleep disturbances have been reported in the infant.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at

    Side Effects

    Cold extremities
    Dry mouth
    Myocardial infarction
    Urinary retention


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: July 2014

    Reference Sources

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Joint Formulary Committee. British National Formulary (online) London: BMJ Group and Pharmaceutical Press [Accessed on 2.07.14].

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London

    Martindale: The Complete Drug Reference, 37th edition (2011) ed. Sweetman, S. Pharmaceutical Press, London.

    Paediatric Formulary Committee. BNF for Children (online) London: BMJ Group, Pharmaceutical Press, and RCPCH Publications [Accessed on 2.07.14].

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Cam Mixture. Cambridge Healthcare Supplies Ltd. Revised January 2014.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Ephedrine Hydrochloride 15 mg and 30 mg tablets. Wockhardt UK Ltd. Revised March 2007.

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