Doctor Explains Seizure After Taking Decongestant Medicine 2023


An 84-year-old Arab man took over-the-counter cough suppressants, which may have caused a potentially fatal seizure. He was admitted to the hospital because he couldn’t control his urine, and his loved ones said he seemed disoriented all the time.

The man had taken some OTC decongestants, a medication used for temporary treatment of cold, flu, and a stuffy nose, hours before he arrived at the hospital in a life-threatening situation. A seizure struck him as he waited for medical help.

What are seizures?

Seizures are a temporary disruption of normal brain function caused by electrical activity. People who suffer from epilepsy often experience them. They have been linked to instances of interrupted respiration. Long periods of inactivity increase the likelihood of a fatal event by lowering blood oxygen levels. Too much time spent waiting can cause dangerously low blood oxygen levels, which can be fatal.

In the same vein, the doctors explained that the patient had no preexisting medical issues that could have triggered the fit in the Journal of Medical Case Reports1. They eventually determined that the caffeine and pseudoephedrine in the cold remedies were to blame.

The usage of pseudoephedrine-containing drugs is currently under investigation due to concerns that they may cause blood vessel spasms and contractions, cutting off blood supply to the brain. A stroke is a real possibility.

Previous research has linked the same with an increased risk of such events among those with cardiovascular disease or hypertension. Although patient information leaflets included with medicines include warnings about the potential risks of such drugs, such effects are usually minor and harmless.

Pseudoephedrine is commonly found in a variety of over-the-counter and prescription drugs for the treatment of coughs, allergies, and the common cold.

How do you tell if someone is having a seizure?

The following are symptoms that may accompany a seizure, also known as a fit:

  • Stiffness
  • Collapsing
  • Uncontrolled shaking and jerking
  • Loss of awareness
  • Staring blankly into space
  • Strange sensations in the stomach, unusual smells, taste
  • Passing out and not remembering what happened
  • Tingling feelings in the arms or legs

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