Decongestant drugs

A decongestant is a type of medication that helps clear up congestion.

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Decongestants work by narrowing those blood vessels, decreasing swelling and inflammation. This allows more air to flow through, as well as mucus to drain. Often much-needed relief for cold and flu symptoms. Decongestants are considered relatively effective for minor congestion from allergies, viruses, and other illnesses.

If your illness has become an infection, however, they probably will not work as well. You may need antibiotics to treat the infection before decongestants will work to clear the congestion. In addition to oral medication, decongestants also come in the form of nasal sprays and liquid medicine.

You can also buy generic forms of pseudoephedrine, and it is in numerous combination cold and flu products. In addition to being used as a decongestant, this drug is also used to prevent ear problems due to pressure changes when flying or SCUBA diving.

While pseudoephedrine is technically an over-the-counter medication, it faces certain limitations on its availability because it has been used to make methamphetamines.

That means:. It's also used in many combination cold and flu products. In addition, it is in some hemorrhoid treatments because of its ability to constrict blood vessels. Phenylephrine hasn't been used to make illegal drugs like pseudoephedrine has, so it's available on store shelves. There are no limits on how much you can buy at one time.

Afrin and several other brands of nasal sprays contain the drug oxymetazoline. Generic forms are also available. Along with congestion, it's used to relieve nasal discomfort from colds and seasonal allergies. Do not give decongestants to children under 6 years old. Talk to your child's pediatrician before giving them to children between the ages of 6 and You should always talk to your doctor about any medications you are currently taking and the possible interactions that can occur with introducing a decongestant or any medication, for that mattereven if it is available over the counter.

decongestant drugs

If you're pregnant, trying to becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking decongestants. Most decongestants are safe to use three to four times a day, but extended release formulations are used once or twice a day. Follow the advice of your doctor and read label instructions in order to ensure safe and accurate dosing.

If you're using a combination product that contains a decongestant and a painkiller, check the label before taking additional drugs to ensure you're not doubling up on active ingredients. Your doctor and pharmacist can help you determine which drugs can be safely combined.

Nasal sprays work faster than oral decongestants. However, be aware that using them for longer than recommended can actually make your congestion worse. Decongestants may cause mild side effects. Note that stroke and intracranial bleeding may also occur with decongestant use.

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Chemically speaking, decongestants are related to adrenaline, which your body's natural decongestant as well as a stimulant. Caffeine may enhance the stimulant effect and worsen side effects related to stimulants, such as nervousness and trouble sleeping. Looking to avoid getting the flu?

Our free guide has everything you need to stay healthy this season. Sign up and get yours today.Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records. Available for Android and iOS devices. Subscribe to Drugs.

Decongestants: OTC Relief for Congestion

This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information - verify here. Skip to Content. Nasal Decongestant Brands We have 30 labels with the same name. Kroger Company L. Perrigo Company L. International, Inc. Major Pharmaceuticals Marc Glassman, Inc.

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Explore Apps. About About Drugs. All rights reserved.Written by C. Fookes, BPharm on Aug 3, Decongestants are medicines that relieve congestion by reducing swelling, inflammation and mucus formation within the nasal passages or the eye.

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They have no other effect on symptoms such as a runny nose or sneezing. Decongestants may be taken orally to help relieve congestion that is affecting the nose, sinuses, and eyes or sprayed directly in the nose or instilled in the eye for a more local effect.

The inside of the nose is lined with small blood vessels. Blood flow is increased to these blood vessels when our immune system detects the presence of an allergen such as a virus or pollen. This causes swelling within the blood vessels which can block the nasal passageway, making nasal inhalation difficult.

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Most decongestants work by activating alpha-adrenergic receptors either by binding directly to them or stimulating the release of norepinephrine, a chemical transmitter. Activation of these receptors causes vasoconstriction a narrowing of the blood vessels within that area.

This decreases blood flow and helps to shrink swollen tissue, relieving congestion.

decongestant drugs

They are often used in combination with antihistamines. Decongestants are available as nose drops or nasal sprays, eye drops, and as tablets, capsules, and syrup. Decongestants are typically used for conditions associated with nasal or eye congestion, such as:. Decongestants only provide short-term relief from congestion and do not cure the underlying cause or condition. Decongestants differ by their duration of action, their formulation availability and their propensity for side effects.

Federal regulations require that pseudoephedrine is sold behind the pharmacy or service counter because it can be used illegally to manufacture methamphetamine. Nasal decongestants are usually either short-acting 3 to 4 hourssuch as levmetamfetamine or phenylephrineor long-acting 8 to 12 hours such as xylometazoline and oxymetazoline.

Topical decongestants such as xylometazoline or oxymetazoline have a more rapid onset of action and stronger effect than oral decongestants. They are less likely to cause side effects although there have been rare reports of seizures in children. There are surprisingly few good quality studies that have investigated the effectiveness of decongestants or reported on adverse effects.

Most studies excluded children, therefore, most experts recommend not giving decongestants to children under the age of 12 because their effectiveness and risk of side effects is unknown. Some decongestants such as pseudoephedrine have been associated with heart-related side effects such as elevated blood pressure, palpitationstachycardia. Because decongestants act on alpha adrenoreceptors which are also located in other areas of the body, they may increase intraocular pressure in the eye and aggravate urinary obstruction.

Using nasal decongestants regularly and for longer than three to five days has been associated with rebound congestion.Decongestant medications are used to provide relief from a stuffy nose congestion or runny nose rhinorrhea.

These symptoms are usually produced due to allergic responses or upper respiratory infections. When congestion or rhinorrhea occur, oral or nasal spray delivery of decongestant medications can provide some relief. Pseudoephedrine hydrochloride and pseudoephedrine are over-the-counter medications that have potent activity as decongestants. This activity produces vasoconstriction blood vessels become smaller in the lining of the upper respiratory tract. This, in turn, decreases the production of fluids and mucus by the cells lining the nose, throat and sinuses.

The most notable formulation of this medication is Sudafed. Phenylephrine is marketed as a substitute for pseudoephedrine. The proposed method of action is also by production of an adrenaline response.

However, due to more selective targeting of the drug, it is proposed to avoid some common adverse reactions associated with pseudoephedrine. Although phenylephrine was approved in by the FDA, controversial studies in and two others in found insufficient activity for phenylephrine as a decongestant to distinguish it from a placebo.

Oxymetazoline is available over the counter in nasal spray and eye drop formulations. Oxymetazoline works quickly, and by acting directly on the affected areas, it typically has fewer side effects than oral decongestion medications. The method of action is also by modifying adrenaline responses, thereby producing vasoconstriction.

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Decongestant medications are used to provide relief from a stuffy nose or runny nose. This activity produces vasoconstriction in the lining of the upper respiratory tract. Bob Goat is a health and fitness writer.

His research experience includes embryology, immunodiagnostics, genetic engineering and stem cells with expertise in gene and protein expression modification and embryonic development. He has had work published in academic journals, presented research at several national and international conferences and received numerous awards. He has a Ph. Monitor the health of your community here.

More Articles. Diseases and Injuries. Written by Dr. Bob Goat. If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately. Resources Substitution of phenylephrine for pseudoephedrine as a nasal decongeststant. About the Author.Drug information provided by: IBM Micromedex. The FDA, supported by results of a research program, requested that manufacturers voluntarily discontinue marketing products that contain PPA and that consumers work with their healthcare providers to select alternative products.

Antihistamine and decongestant combinations are used to treat the nasal congestion stuffy nosesneezing, and runny nose caused by colds and hay fever. Antihistamines work by preventing the effects of a substance called histamine, which is produced by the body. Histamine can cause itching, sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. Antihistamines contained in these combinations are:. The decongestants, such as phenylephrine, and pseudoephedrine, produce a narrowing of blood vessels.

This leads to clearing of nasal congestion, but it may also cause an increase in blood pressure in patients who have high blood pressure. Some of these combinations are available only with your doctor's prescription. Others are available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper dose of the medicine for your medical condition.

Do not give any over-the-counter OTC cough and cold medicine to a baby or child under 2 years of age. Using these medicines in very young children might cause serious or possibly life-threatening side effects.

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Make an appointment. Visit now. Explore now.Decongestants are medicines that help relieve a congested stuffy nose. Most decongestants come in pill or liquid form. When you buy them at the store without a prescription, they are called over-the-counter OTC medicines. Decongestant nose sprays and drops are also available over the counter. Your body can become dependent on them. If you become dependent on these medicines, your nose may feel even more stuffed up when you quit using them.

Pseudoephedrine is safe and effective when taken as directed. But some people use OTC pseudoephedrine illegally. Meth is an illegal and dangerous street drug. To help keep people from making meth, OTC medicines that contain pseudoephedrine are sold behind the counter. Additional restrictions include:.

High Blood Pressure and Cold Medicine Don't Mix

Some states have more requirements for medicines containing pseudoephedrine. I see patients everyday who have cold symptoms. When your body detects a virus, the flu, sinusitis, or allergies, it sends extra blood to the blood vessels in the nose to fight the problem.

This leads to swelling of the blood vessels and tissue in your nose. It makes you feel stuffy. It can be hard to breathe through your nose. It will tell you how much medicine to take and how often to take it.

If you have any questions, call your doctor. If using a liquid decongestant, use the measuring spoon that came with the medicine. This spoon is the right size for the dose you need. If you need to go to the doctor, take this list with you.Offer is good through April Decongestants, a common ingredient in cold and flu drugs, constrict blood vessels to help relieve congestion. Decongestants may also interfere with the effectiveness of prescribed blood pressure medication, the American Heart Association says.

Taler, a professor of medicine and physician in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Mayo Clinic, cautions. Oftentimes, however, it's not obvious what pills and syrups contain decongestants. If pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are listed as ingredients, the medicine contains a decongestant, Taler says.

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So what can you turn to? Taler points to guaifenesin Mucinex as an option if you need to thin and clear mucus. And dextromethorphan Robitussin can be used to suppress coughs.

decongestant drugs

But Ian K. Smith, a physician and wellness author, suggests that with all the combination therapies and confusing trade and generic names, it's a good idea to make a quick call to your doctor's office, to make sure you're in the clear — both for blood pressure and other side effects. And be sure to pay attention to dosing instructions, as many cold and flu medicines reduce alertness. Smith stresses the importance of hand hygiene during cold and flu season, as well as exercise and a healthy diet.

Rest and plenty of fluids also help kick a cold, Taler says. Members can take a free confidential hearing test by phone. You are leaving AARP. Please return to AARP. Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive. In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly receive communications related to AARP volunteering.

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