Pseudoephedrine may be better known as the decongestant agent in products like Sudafed, but it's also an amphetamine class chemical. There have been cases of off-label use, such as by long-distance truckers to stay alert and athletes to enhance their performance. It can also be used to manufacture meth, and this has led to its distribution being restricted.
Of course, being an amphetamine-class chemical, there's a good chance it will light up the amphetamines panel of a basic 5-panel drug test, which means you need to ask yourself a few questions: How likely is it to cause a false positive? How long does pseudoephedrine stay in your system? Is there a way to pass a drug test anyway?
How likely is it that pseudoephedrine will be detected on a drug test?
Being an over-the-counter substance, albeit a tightly controlled one, pseudoephedrine is not commonly targeted in drug tests, not even extended ones. If you're a competing athlete, however, you may well be tested, because pseudoephedrine is well known as a performance-enhancing drug.
The main danger comes from pseudoephedrine triggering a false positive on the amphetamines panel of an immunoassay testing device. This happens because these devices look for certain chemical structures rather than specific compounds. When a drug like pseudoephedrine shares this basic structure, it becomes detected as an amphetamine.
So, does this happen all the time? It really depends on the quality and design of the testing device, so there is no way to know for sure. If you do test positive for amphetamines because you took pseudoephedrine, you should certainly insist on a more accurate GC-MS analysis to dispute the result.
How long does pseudoephedrine stay in your system?
Pseudoephedrine has a half-life of about 12 hours, so after three or four days there should be little or none left in your system. Maybe you'll need a little longer if you took it at very high doses.
Going through a weeklong detox program is a great way to clean your system prior to a drug test. Unless you've been a heavy weed or coke user as well, this should be enough to enable you to confidently take a urine drug test, especially if you follow the included suggestions for diet and lifestyle changes.
How can you avoid a false positive in the first place?
Let's say you would rather avoid the awkward questions and suspicions that may arise from getting a false positive for amphetamines, even if you manage to get the result cleared after a GC-MS analysis.
One way to achieve this would be to use a detox drink a couple of hours before your anticipated testing time. Before you order one, however, decide if you need a standard drink or a stronger version based on your weight and level of use. After using your drink as directed on the packaging, your urinary system will rapidly flush itself. By the time you come to give an actual urine sample, there should only be low levels of pseudoephedrine in it.