Ephedrine psychosis Academic Article uri icon


  • Ephedrine has both alpha-and beta-adrenergic activity, and both direct and indirect effects on receptors. Its stimulatory effects on the central nervous system are more prolonged, though less potent, than those of adrenalin. It raises blood pressure both by increasing cardiac output and inducing peripheral vasoconstriction. It is still commonly used as a bronchodilator. However, since prolonged use leads to decreased effectiveness, patients tend to increase the dose themselves. The clinical picture of ephedrine psychosis resembles that induced by amphetamines: primarily a paranoid psychosis with delusions of persecution and auditory and visual hallucinations in a setting of unclouded consciousness. We present a 57-year-old woman who had been taking a usual dose of ephedrine for bronchial asthma (50 mg 3 times a day) for more than 30 years. When her husband died she developed …

publication date

  • September 1, 1994