Benzedrex® Inhaler Addiction | Propylhexedrine Abuse, Effects

Benzedrex® Inhaler Addiction

Benzedrex® inhalers– initially intended for nasal decongestion– have emerged as a substance of abuse. The inhaler contains propylhexedrine, a stimulant drug that can lead to addiction when misused.

What is Benzedrex®?

Benzedrex® inhalers, known for their nasal decongestant properties, contain propylhexedrine, a synthetic stimulant and nasal decongestant. It is used as a short-term solution for the temporary relief of congestion related to the common cold, hay fever, and upper respiratory allergies. Initially introduced in the mid-20th century, Benzedrex® was developed as a safer alternative to amphetamines, which were commonly used at the time but were becoming increasingly associated with misuse and addiction. The active ingredient, propylhexedrine, was seen as a less addictive option with fewer side effects, making it a seemingly ideal solution for nasal congestion relief. Unlike amphetamines, which were controlled substances with a high potential for abuse, Benzedrex® was easily accessible and marketed as a safe option for everyday use.

What Makes Propylhexedrine Addictive?

The core of its addictive nature lies in its chemical properties. Benzedrex® contains propylhexedrine, a compound structurally similar to amphetamines, which are well-known for their addictive qualities. When ingested in ways not intended for its medical purpose, propylhexedrine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system. It induces feelings of increased energy, alertness, and euphoria, effects similar to those produced by amphetamines. These sensations are typically followed by a sense of well-being and heightened cognitive function.

Why Do People Abuse Benzedrex® Inhalers?

Over time, reports of abuse and misuse of Benzedrex® have become more common. Individuals seeking a stimulant effect similar to that of amphetamines discovered that abusing propylhexedrine could produce euphoric sensations, leading to its misuse. Several factors drive this abuse:

  • Seeking a legal high: One of the primary reasons for the abuse of Benzedrex® inhalers is their legal status. Being an over-the-counter medication, it offers an easily accessible means to achieve a high. This legal availability often leads individuals, especially those who want to avoid illegal drugs, to misuse Benzedrex® as a substitute.
  • Stimulant effects: Benzedrex® contains propylhexedrine, a stimulant similar to amphetamines. When misused, it can cause heightened alertness, increased energy, and a sense of euphoria. These effects are particularly sought after by individuals looking for a boost in mood or energy or an escape from the mundanity or stress of daily life.
  • Experimentation and curiosity: Curiosity and the desire to experiment with different substances can also lead to the abuse of Benzedrex®. Especially among younger individuals or those in certain social circles, experimenting with various legal substances, including over-the-counter medications, is often seen as a rite of passage or a way to explore altered states of consciousness.
  • Self-medication for mental health issues: Some individuals turn to Benzedrex® inhalers to self-medicate for underlying mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or attention-deficit disorders. The temporary relief or boost provided by the inhaler can appeal to those struggling with these conditions, leading to misuse as a coping mechanism.
  • Peer influence and social environment: Peer pressure and the influence of one’s social environment can play a significant role in the misuse of Benzedrex®. If individuals are in a setting where drug use is normalized or encouraged, they may be more likely to experiment with substances like Benzedrex® inhalers.
  • Misconceptions about safety: The false perception of Benzedrex® as a safe alternative to other stimulants contributes significantly to its abuse. Because it is a legal, over-the-counter medication, there’s often a misguided belief that it’s less harmful than illicit drugs, leading to a lower guard against its potential for addiction and adverse health effects.
  • Escapism and psychological relief: For some, the use of Benzedrex® is a form of escapism, a way to temporarily step away from personal problems, stress, or negative emotions. The inhaler’s effects provide a short-term escape, which can be habit-forming, especially for individuals lacking other coping mechanisms.

Benzedrex® Abuse Health Risks and Side Effects

The immediate effects of Benzedrex® abuse, while initially sought for their pleasurable aspects, also come with a range of adverse side effects. Complications from abuse and misuse of Benzedrex® can pose significant health risks, including:

  • Fast or abnormal heart rhythm
  • High blood pressure
  • Neurological impairments such as memory loss and irreversible brain damage
  • Paranoia and psychotic symptoms
  • Mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Dependency and addiction

These complications can be severe, especially with long-term use, and may result in disability or, in severe cases, even death

How to Tell if Someone is Abusing Benzedrex®

Recognizing the signs of Benzedrex® inhaler addiction is often critical for early intervention and treatment. While not an exact science, there are often signs when someone’s life is beginning to be ruled by substance use. Some indicators of addiction to Benzedrex® inhalers may include:

  • Increased tolerance: One of the most telling signs of addiction is an increased tolerance to the effects of Benzedrex®. Over time, users may find that they need to use more of the substance to achieve the same level of euphoria or alertness they once did with smaller amounts. This escalation in use is a clear signal that the body is adapting to the drug, a hallmark of addiction.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: When not using the inhaler, individuals with an addiction may experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include physical symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and sweating, as well as psychological symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and intense cravings for the drug. The presence of withdrawal symptoms indicates physical dependence on Benzedrex®.
  • Continued use despite negative consequences: A significant sign of addiction is the continued use of Benzedrex® despite being fully aware of the negative impacts it has on health, relationships, work, or legal standing. This compulsive use, in the face of adverse outcomes, underscores the powerful grip of addiction on an individual’s decision-making and behavior.
  • Neglect of responsibilities and activities: Individuals addicted to Benzedrex® may start neglecting their responsibilities at home, work, or school. There might be a noticeable decline in performance or attendance, and previously enjoyed activities may no longer hold the same interest.
  • Changes in social circles and behavior: There may be a shift in social circles, with individuals preferring to spend time with others who share similar substance use habits. Behavioral changes such as secrecy, defensiveness about drug use, or unexplained financial problems can also be indicators of addiction.
  • Inability to stop or moderate: A person struggling with Benzedrex® addiction might have made one or more attempts to quit or reduce their use but found themselves unable to do so. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to control or cease use are a clear sign of addiction.

Recognizing these signs in oneself or others can be the first step toward seeking help. Addiction to Benzedrex® inhalers, like any form of substance abuse, is a severe condition that requires professional treatment and support for recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact us today. Let us guide you on your path to recovery. 

Call 888-738-0692.


Treatment for Benzedrex® Inhaler Addiction

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is a complex condition that requires comprehensive treatment, and professional guidance can significantly improve the chances of successful recovery. The treatment for addiction to Benzedrex® typically encompasses several components, focusing on both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction:

  • Detoxification: The initial phase of treatment often involves detoxification, which is the process of allowing the body to rid itself of the substances. Individuals detoxing from addictive substances typically require medical supervision, as withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and, in some cases, pose health risks.
  • Counseling and therapy: Psychological treatment is a cornerstone of addiction recovery, which helps individuals understand their addiction, develop coping strategies, and address underlying any co-occurring issues. Individuals commonly access these resources through inpatient addiction treatment or specialized outpatient programs. These treatment programs often offer therapy through individual therapy, family therapy, and group therapy for a comprehensive approach. 
  • Support groups: Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or other peer-led groups can provide ongoing support and a sense of community. These groups allow individuals to share experiences, learn from others facing similar challenges, and foster a support network crucial for long-term recovery.
  • Aftercare and relapse prevention: Recovery from addiction is a long-term process. Aftercare programs and relapse prevention strategies are essential in maintaining lasting sobriety. These can include ongoing counseling, support group meetings, and lifestyle changes to support a drug-free lifestyle.
  • Holistic treatments: Some addiction treatment programs also incorporate holistic approaches, such as mindfulness, yoga, and nutritional counseling, to support overall well-being and address the multifaceted nature of addiction.

Why Choose Wellness Retreat Recovery Center?

At Wellness Retreat Recovery Center, we understand that the journey to recovery is deeply personal and often complex. Here’s why our center stands out as a choice for those seeking help with Benzedrex® inhaler addiction:

  • Expert Staff: Our team of professionals is experienced in treating various forms of addiction. Each client receives an individualized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.
  • Holistic Approach: We believe in treating the whole person, not just the addiction. Our programs integrate traditional therapies with holistic approaches to support overall well-being.
  • Luxury Bay Area Rehab: Our facility offers a tranquil and comfortable environment conducive to healing and reflection. The serene setting contributes to a sense of peace and helps facilitate the recovery process.
  • Aftercare Support: We are committed to the long-term success of our patients. Our center provides ongoing support and resources to help maintain sobriety and manage recovery even after leaving our facility.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Recognizing that many individuals with substance abuse issues also struggle with mental health disorders, we offer dual diagnosis treatment. This approach ensures that addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions are treated simultaneously, providing a more effective and holistic path to recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Benzedrex® addiction, acknowledging the problem is the first step towards recovery. Contact us at Wellness Retreat Recovery Center to learn how we can help you or your loved one on the road to recovery. You’re not alone in this journey.

Call 888-738-0692.



  1. Wesson DR. Propylhexdrine. Drug Alcohol Depend. 1986 Jun;17(2-3):273-8. doi: 10.1016/0376-8716(86)90013-x. PMID: 2874970.
  2. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). Benzedrex (propylhexedrine) Drug Safety Communication: FDA Warns of Abuse and Misuse of Nasal Decongestant.
  3. Teja N, Dodge CP, Stanciu CN. Abuse, Toxicology and the Resurgence of Propylhexedrine: A Case Report and Review of Literature. Cureus. 2020 Oct 9;12(10):e10868. doi: 10.7759/cureus.10868. PMID: 33178521; PMCID: PMC7652022.
  4. Jahan AR, Burgess DM. Substance Use Disorder. [Updated 2023 Jul 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  1. Martin D, Le JK. Amphetamine. [Updated 2023 Jul 31]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  2. Farzam K, Faizy RM, Saadabadi A. Stimulants. [Updated 2023 Jul 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-.
  3. Anderson RJ, Garza HR, Garriott JC, Dimaio V. Intravenous prophylhexedrine (Benzedrex®) abuse and sudden death. Am J Med. 1979 Jul;67(1):15-20. doi: 10.1016/0002-9343(79)90063-9. PMID: 37732.
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2021). FDA Warns of Abuse and Misuse of OTC Nasal Decongestant Propylhexedrine Can Lead to Serious Harm. FDA Drug Safety Podcasts.