Pseudoephedrine enhances performance in 1500-m runners

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Feb;38(2):329-33. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000183201.79330.9c.


Pseudoephedrine is an over-the-counter drug to relieve nasal and sinus congestion. Although it has been suggested that pseudoephedrine could be a stimulant and ergogenic aid, pseudoephedrine was recently removed from the banned substance list by the International Olympic Committee and placed on the monitoring program (from January 2004). It was felt that evidence was lacking for an ergogenic effect, although few studies have investigated the effects of pseudoephedrine on exercise performance. This study, therefore, aimed to investigate the effects of pseudoephedrine on 1500-m running performance.

Methods: In a double-blind, randomized crossover design, seven male athletes completed two 1500-m running trials on an outdoor track after having completed a familiarization trial. All trials were 7 d apart. After a 12-h overnight fast, subjects reported to the laboratory and received a standardized breakfast (energy asymptotically equal to 500 kcal 50% CHO). Subjects were given either 2.5 bw pseudoephedrine or 2.5 bw maltodextrins (placebo) in gelatin capsules 70 min before the start of the warm-up, which started 20 min before they ran 1500 m all-out. Pre- and postexercise blood samples were collected and analyzed for lactate and glucose concentrations, partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) and carbon dioxide (PCO2), and percent oxygen saturation.

Results: Pseudoephedrine significantly decreased time to completion of 1500-m time trials in the present study by 2.1% (from 279.65 +/- 4.36 s with placebo to 273.86 +/- 4.36 s with pseudoephedrine) with no reported side effects. No changes in the measured blood parameters were found, suggesting a central effect of pseudoephedrine rather than a metabolic effect.

Conclusion: The finding was that 2.5 bw pseudoephedrine ingested 90 min preexercise improves 1500-m running performance.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Doping in Sports
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Ephedrine / administration & dosage
  • Ephedrine / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Ephedrine