Ephedrine increases noradrenaline release and has a vasoconstrictive effect. Administered locally it causes, by vasoconstriction, nasal decongestion and is present in many formulations for ENT uses. Its use gives only a transitory relief of the nasal congestion. It also has mydriatic effect and can be used in ophthalmic solution. Even administered locally, it can be absorbed and give general adverse effects such as palpitations and insomnia which reflects its psychostimulant effect.
Pseudoephedrine, isomer of ephedrine, and norephedrine called also phenylpropanolamine, have similarities with ephedrine and are used as decongestants either by nasal route or by oral route, often combined with a H1 antihistamine.