Decongestants - Quick Relief of Nasal Congestion

Decongestants are one of the types of allergy relief drugs. They are used for quick, temporary relief of nasal and sinus congestion. They can cause insomnia, headache, increased blood pressure and irritability.

Pills and liquids

Oral decongestants relieve nasal and sinus congestion caused by hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Many decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Afrinol, Sudafed, others), are available over-the-counter.

A number of oral allergy medications contain a decongestant and an antihistamine. Examples include:

  • Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D)
  • Desloratadine and pseudoephedrine (Clarinex-D)
  • Fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D)
  • Loratadine and pseudoephedrine (Claritin-D)

Nasal sprays and drops

Nasal decongestant sprays and drops relieve nasal and sinus congestion if used only for a short time. Repeated use of these drugs for more than three consecutive days can result in a cycle of recurring or worsening congestion. Examples include:

  • Oxymetazoline (Afrin, Dristan, others)
  • Tetrahydrozoline (Tyzine)

Who Can’t Use Decongestants?

Decongestants are not recommended for pregnant women or for people with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, glaucoma or hyperthyroidism.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.