The Pseudo Drug


PMS always come intruding my life a week before my period, with a vengeful manner. It’s not just about the mood swings. It went full force in making the entire body sore and throbbing with headache for 2 days prior my menstruation. 

It was a monthly issue I was trying to manage.e Exercising, stretching and everything else I can adopt to fight it. But at some point I lost, and crazy hormones win. I thought I was having a mild sore throat, and ear infection with just normal headache. It turns out it was my sinusitis that came back.

Foraging the entire of medicine cabinets and no signs of availability to  a single of Rhinos SR capsule. I searched other drawers, and it leaves me with only 2 tablets of Rhinofed —the lighter version of it.

I soon ask my house assistant to purchase the specific patent drug at the local pharmacy. She came home empty-handed saying they were running out of stock on those two brands. I was slightly skeptical, since the pharmacy was too big and loaded to not have it on sale. 

The next hour, I called other pharmacy that was just a little further up from my neighborhood. I remember being replied “Do you have the prescription, Mam?”. Never occurred to me those meds need any prescription all these years, it wasn’t exactly OTC, but there weren’t any harm that I was aware of, in purchasing it. This wasn’t exactly a situation of needing a feeling-good substance like the-dopamine-junkie-diary   , I was in pain.

My headache did not come any easier. So, I leveled up my effort in taking a walk the next day to the nearest clinic in sought of doctor’s help. He prescribed me (finally) with one brand that is not available at the clinic’s pharmacy also. Another weirdness, but at least the prescription is in my hand.

Soon,in the evening I went to a mall in search to the famous “green” drugstore and come up empty-handed again. Ended up at Watsons and feel an amount surge of relieve to successfully retrieved the drug.

Story of a forbidden drug

Here’s what the pharmacist explained to me ; A lot of people misused the drug for its potent chemical that can lead to specific type of narcotic-like effect, when it is mixed with other substance i.e ; alcohol, even paracetamol,etc.

The drug was branded as Rhinos SR, mine was Rhinofed, other brands that combine it with Loratadine, is Claritin or Clarinase. All mainly served as rhinitis allergic medicine that play a role as antihistamine agent. 

The content, Loratadine treats allergic symptoms that are common such as sneezing, itching, runny nose and a few more. Loratadine runs metabolically in your liver and contribute an effect at its peak in 1-2 hours after taken.

But Loratadine is just a sidekick, with small effect of drowsiness. The real drug the pharmacist are concerning about is Pseudoephedrine HCL.


A Stimulant

As categorized as Amphetamine to create wakefulness, Pseudoephedrine brings your muscle in a state of relax,and destined to shorten the  mucus production, here is how it goes :

“Pseudoephedrine acts on α- and β2-adrenergic receptors, to cause vasoconstriction and relaxation of smooth muscle in the bronchi, respectively.[9][10] α-adrenergic receptors are located on the muscles lining the walls of blood vessels. When these receptors are activated, the muscles contract, causing the blood vessels to constrict (vasoconstriction). The constricted blood vessels now allow less fluid to leave the blood vessels and enter the nose, throat and sinus linings, which results in decreased inflammation of nasal membranes, as well as decreased mucus production.”

As a result, many users consumed it for  the excitement effect, since Pseudoephedrine turns out to be one of the crucial ingredients for the addictive stimulant, Methamphetamine. Athletes  use it notoriously to increase performance at certain high-dose. Others use it for pure fun at the club.

The prolonged use of 4.3-8 hours, the chemicals stayed in our body made Pseudoephedrine more potent. The effect of it can be enhanced with caffeine substance, such as coffee, tea, etc.

A few countries let out a strict keeping behind the counter, and some like Australia set up for pharmacist only to distribute with prescriptions.  

So, what now? Should I dictate the doctor in certain agenda to dash away my torturous sinus symptoms? Or shall I just let it be.

Author: Fraya

A writer and entrepreneur with profound interest in humankind research and insights. An avid coffee drinker and book hoarder. Hours and days spent in Jakarta.

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