Pseudoephedrine vs. Speed

What's the Difference?

Pseudoephedrine and Speed are both stimulant drugs that have similar effects on the body, but they differ in their chemical composition and legal status. Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant commonly found in over-the-counter cold and allergy medications. It works by constricting blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing congestion. On the other hand, Speed, also known as amphetamine, is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that increases alertness, energy, and focus. It is a controlled substance and is often abused for its euphoric effects. While both drugs can increase heart rate and blood pressure, Speed is much more potent and has a higher potential for addiction and abuse.


Chemical FormulaC10H15NOC9H13N
Medical UsesTreats nasal congestionUsed for ADHD and narcolepsy
Street NamesN/AIce, Crystal, Meth, Go-fast
Legal StatusOver-the-counter (OTC)Illegal
Side EffectsIncreased heart rate, insomniaIncreased heart rate, paranoia
Addictive PotentialLowHigh

Further Detail


Pseudoephedrine and Speed are both substances that have stimulant effects on the central nervous system. While they share some similarities, it is important to understand the key differences between these two substances. This article aims to compare the attributes of Pseudoephedrine and Speed, shedding light on their chemical composition, medical uses, potential for abuse, side effects, and legal status.

Chemical Composition

Pseudoephedrine, also known as PSE, is a sympathomimetic drug that belongs to the class of phenethylamine compounds. It is a decongestant commonly used to relieve nasal congestion caused by allergies or the common cold. Pseudoephedrine is structurally similar to ephedrine, another sympathomimetic drug, but with a slight difference in its chemical structure.

Speed, on the other hand, refers to a group of drugs known as amphetamines. Amphetamines are synthetic stimulant drugs that stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. The most common form of amphetamine is dextroamphetamine, which is often prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

Medical Uses

Pseudoephedrine is primarily used as a nasal decongestant due to its ability to shrink blood vessels in the nasal passages, reducing swelling and congestion. It is available over-the-counter in many countries and is commonly found in cold and allergy medications. Pseudoephedrine is not intended for long-term use and should be used according to the recommended dosage to avoid potential side effects.

Speed, on the other hand, has limited medical uses and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States due to its high potential for abuse. It is occasionally prescribed for certain medical conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy, but its use is closely monitored due to the risk of dependence and addiction.

Potential for Abuse

While Pseudoephedrine can be misused recreationally, its potential for abuse is relatively low compared to Speed. Pseudoephedrine abuse typically involves taking higher doses than recommended to experience a stimulant effect. However, the effects are generally milder compared to Speed, and the risk of addiction is lower.

Speed, on the other hand, is a highly potent stimulant that is commonly abused for its euphoric and energizing effects. It can be taken orally, inhaled, or injected, and its abuse can lead to a range of physical and psychological health problems. Chronic use of Speed can result in addiction, cardiovascular issues, psychosis, and other serious complications.

Side Effects

Both Pseudoephedrine and Speed can cause side effects, although the severity and frequency may differ. Common side effects of Pseudoephedrine include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, restlessness, insomnia, and dry mouth. These effects are usually mild and temporary, subsiding as the drug is metabolized by the body.

Speed, on the other hand, can produce more pronounced and potentially dangerous side effects. These may include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, and even seizures. The intensity of these side effects is often related to the dose and frequency of Speed use.

Legal Status

The legal status of Pseudoephedrine varies from country to country. In many places, it is available over-the-counter but may be subject to purchase restrictions due to its potential use in the illicit production of methamphetamine. Some countries require individuals to provide identification and sign a logbook when purchasing Pseudoephedrine-containing products.

Speed, on the other hand, is classified as a controlled substance in most countries due to its high potential for abuse and addiction. Possession, distribution, or production of Speed without a valid prescription is illegal and can result in criminal charges.


In conclusion, while Pseudoephedrine and Speed are both stimulant substances, they differ significantly in their chemical composition, medical uses, potential for abuse, side effects, and legal status. Pseudoephedrine is primarily used as a nasal decongestant and has a lower potential for abuse compared to Speed. Speed, on the other hand, is a powerful amphetamine with limited medical uses and a high risk of addiction and serious side effects. It is crucial to use these substances responsibly and as directed by healthcare professionals to minimize the potential risks associated with their use.

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