Last Updated on June 26, 2023 by Jimson Lee
Do you suffer from allergies? or the common cold and flu? Read on…
A brief pharmacology crash course on Pseudoephedrine.
Pseudoephedrine is a sympathomimetic amine commonly used as a decongestant for the treatment of nasal and sinus congestion. Pseudoephedrine is often referred to it as Sudafed, the trademark for a common brand of pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.
Sympathomimetic drugs are substances that mimic the effects of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) and the hormone norepinephrine (noradrenaline). Norepinephrine is also considered a neurotransmitter.
Where does all this fit in with Track and Field and Athletics?
There have been reports of abuse of pseudoephedrine for its stimulant properties.
Sports athletes, in particular professional Hockey players for example, have reportedly used pseudoephedrine as a stimulant to increase their state of alertness and awakedness. It is not uncommon to see a hockey player consume a Starbucks coffee and a couple of Sudafeds at 5pm before a 7:30pm night game. I often wonder how they will fall asleep at night!
In Track and Field, first it wasn’t banned. Then it was banned. Now, it isn’t banned.
At the time of this writing, pseudoephedrine is not considered as prohibited substances according to the the IAAF 2007 Prohibited List found here on page 8.
Thanks to the Breaking Bad TV Show…
Because of its conversion into methamphetamine, pseudoephedrine is also subject to restrictions introduced in the UK in 2008 (and elsewhere in Canada, etc) to make it a pharmacy medicine, to a maximum size of 720mg (12 x 60mg) of the drug without a prescription.
Sudafed has come out with an OTC formulation, with phenylephrine (which I haven’t tried yet)
As well, Sudafed spray (Xylometazoline Hydrochloride) works wonders, as the effects can be as quick as 5 minutes.
A brief pharmacology crash course on Antihistamines
An antihistamine is a drug which serves to reduce or eliminate effects initiated by histamine, an endogenous chemical mediator released during allergic reactions, through action at the histamine receptor.
Antihistamines are another story and are not in the IAAF 2007 Prohibited List. They are available in 3 different “generations”.
The 1st Generation are the oldest drugs, relatively inexpensive (compared to the next generation ones) and widely available over-the-counter (OTC). They are effective in the relief of allergic symptoms but may have adverse side effects such as drowsiness.
The 2nd Generation drugs significantly reduces the occurrence of adverse drug reactions compared with first-generation agents but still provide effective relief of allergies.
3rd Generation are derivatives of second-generation drugs intended to have increased efficacy with fewer adverse drug reactions
For my allergies, I’ll try the first generation ones. If I find the side effects to harsh, I’ll experiment with a second or third generation types. Below is a list of the common brand names and the drugs in each generation:
- Advil Sinus: Chlorphenamine/Chlorpheniramine (also BOOTS & Piriton in the UK)
- Benadryl USA and Walgreen’s WAL-DRYL: Diphenhydramine
- Benadryl UK: Acrivastine
- Drixoral: Debrompheniramine
- Rite-Aid Generic and Actifed: Tripolidine
- Sinutab: Phenyltoloxamine
- Claritin: Loratadine (also Bell’s Healthcare in the UK)
- Reactin: Cetirizine (also ALLACAN & Piriteze in the UK)
- Seldane: Terfenadine
- Allegra: Fexofenadine
- Aerius: Desloratadine