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Clinical data
  • C
Routes of
Nasal inhaler
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
  • Unscheduled (US Federal)
    Schedule varies (US States)
    Schedule V (Canada Exempted from the application of the CDSA
Pharmacokinetic data
Elimination half-life?
CAS Number
PubChem CID
E number{{#property:P628}}
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Chemical and physical data
Molar mass155.29 g/mol

Propylhexedrine, also known as hexahydrodesoxyephedrine or dimethylcyclohexaneethanamine, is a sympathomimetic with varied medicinal uses, is an adrenergic compound used mainly to provide temporary symptomatic relief of nasal congestion due to colds, allergies and allergic rhinitis. Being a vasoconstrictor used to decongest nasal mucosa, it is administered by inhalation. Propylhexedrine is most commonly found in over the counter Benzedrex inhalers. Benzedrex was first manufactured by Smith, Kline and French after the Benzedrine inhaler which contained amphetamine, became unavailable after the placement of amphetamines on Schedule II status (highest abuse potential of all legal drugs).

Recreational use

These inhalers have been occasionally used by people for their stimulant effects which are believed by some to be similar to methamphetamine. This is done by removing the cotton rod from the inhaler and performing a cold-water extraction, though occasionally some swallow it. Each cotton contains 250 mg (quarter-gram) of propylhexedrine.

Propylhexedrine is of significantly less risk of being used recreationally than amphetamines. This is primarily because propylhexedrine has limited methods of use, unlike amphetamines. The abuse potential is low enough that neither the DEA nor the WHO consider it a drug of concern, unlike ephedrine or its salts. However, attempts to extract the drug from the nasal inhaler and then inject it have been known. Abuse by injection is dangerous and could result in death, which has been recorded.[1] [2]

It should be noted that, as with similar drugs, using propylhexedrine to keep oneself awake for extended amounts of time can lead to a temporary state of sleep deprivation psychosis during which an individual may experience hallucinations of all kinds as well as extreme paranoia, all common effects associated with sleep deprivation. The effect supposedly is "body tingles", which are simply waves of sensation that flow throughout various parts of the body. Some consider these tingles to be pleasurable, but not euphoric. The most sought-after effect is a general state of well-being and happiness associated with stimulants. However, this effect is not as pronounced as that delivered by more commonly abused stimulants such as methamphetamine or cocaine.

The effects vary from person to person. Many people suffer adverse effects after using the drug, feeling sick and nauseated. It is a vasoconstrictor, so ingestion can cause nausea and serious gastrointestinal issues. As with similar stimulants, it is possible to overdose on the substance.

It is important to note that eating cotton for any reason is not a healthy practice, and though not necessarily fatal, can still lead to gastrointestinal problems.


Propylhexedrine is structurally similar to methamphetamine. The only difference is that the phenyl group of the methamphetamine molecule is swapped with a cyclohexyl group. It is because of this that propylhexedrine is not an amphetamine, nor even a phenethylamine. It is most like methamphetamine in terms that it contains a methyl (CH3) group in positions Rα and RN.

See also


  1. "Proposed Rules". Federal Register. 50 (10): 2226–2227.
  2. Prince v. Ascher,   90 P.3d 1020 (2004)