sudafed (pseudoephedrine)

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    I’ve read that I can’t bring pseudoephedrine to Mexico.  Is there an alternative that I can buy in Mexico?



    To be used for? (I assume it’s for pre-dive decongestant to clear ears?)



    scuba, yes




    eustachian tube dysfunction



    I’m not a dive person, and never recommend pseudoephedrine for anything. Best to ask a local dive shop what they use/recommend. Sorry.



    Pseudoephedrine is banned in Mexico. There are good alternatives. However, if you have eustachian tube malfunction and intend to use a decongestant for diving, you really should discuss this with an ENT who is familiar with dive medicine. Have them consult with DAN.



    I’ve had a couple episodes of relatively severe eustachian tube malfunction. First time was during a dive, and for no apparent reason, and without warning.

    I went to the hyperbaric chamber and clinic on 10th. The doctor gave me two prescriptions and characteristically, an injection. I no longer have notes, but with two days off, I was better than new. Equalizing was literally effortless.

    Upon our return, I saw my internist, and after translating the treatment, he remarked, “interesting, not bad”, but recommended an appointment with an ENT.

    The ENT and I discussed possible causes (at great length, and in great detail), for the malfunction, essentially ruling out everything. He strongly suggested a pseudoephedrine regimen before and during a dive trip.

    My left ear has always been the most troublesome, and was surprised, as I’d followed the regimen during our trip in June, that my right ear was nearly impossible to equalize. I struggled through the first dive, as it was our last dive day, but could not equalize for the second dive.

    When I woke up the next morning, I realized why; I’d come down with a mild cold.

    When we ascended out of CUN, I had a little difficulty equalizing, but not too bad. The trouble came when we began our descent into IAH. I could not equalize. My ears remained equalized to the cabin pressure of about 6,800 feet. By the time we landed, I was essentially deaf, and I hurt.

    About midway through our 2 1/2 hour layover, where we were privileged to watch the prowess and authority of a gaggle of smiling TSA agents rocking back and forth from heel to ball, and fido. When they were sufficiently amused, and fido satiated, allowed 10 people at a time up the escalator, my left ear equalized for about 15 minutes, before I was as plugged up as ever, but in less pain.

    Again, while ascending, my ears cleared, but when we descended into our home port, I became as plugged up as ever, and in a bit more pain than before.

    I hightailed it to the Urgent Care Clinic the next morning, where she diagnosed a raging ear infection. She prescribed an antibiotic for the infection, and prednisone.

    Two days later, the pain was mostly gone, but I remained nearly completely deaf. I made another appointment with the ENT. The clinic authorities, wanting to milk me for as much as they could, insisted on an appointment with the audiologist first. She, (the audiologist) ascertained that I was indeed truthful, suffering from over 90% hearing loss, so was granted an audience with the ENT.

    This particular ENT, by his own admission, takes a pretty aggressive treatment posture. In lay terms, he cut my eardrums and suctioned out the accumulated fluid; a volume that was shocking to him. My hearing returned immediately. I heard a lot of cracking, popping and gurgling, but could hear. He told me that some ENT’s didn’t like to perform this procedure, and told me that in that case the treatment of choice, and the best choice available, was pseudoephedrine, where a patient could expect resolution anywhere from 7 – 14 days.




    ‘ENT ‘ (ear, nose, and throat doc) in Mexico is otorinolaryngologista. Surprisingly, every ordinary man-on-the-street local can pronounce it without a hitch (except me when I try to pronounce it in Spanish – it comes out fine in English, where I have lots of experience pronouncing it, but in Spanish the rolling rhythm throws me off at ‘laryngologista’, which is where I subconsciously begin to wonder where all those extra syllables are coming from, and did already say too many, or too few). Anyway, they fix ears, which is what this thread is all about. (Gordon, call me if you have another problem.)

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