Decongestants are medications that are prescribed to ease blocked or stuffy nose caused by hay fever or other allergies. They are quite helpful for nasal congestion caused by a variety of conditions. Most commonly, decongestants are advised for a cold, hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and sinusitis.
Most decongestants are available as nasal drops or sprays, and as syrups, tablets or capsules. Decongestant nasal sprays or drops should not be used for more than seven days. They are not suitable to children below 6 years of age.
Decongestants available in the UK include:
- Ipratropium bromide
Most decongestants are available over-the-counter from local as well as online pharmacy such as Pharmacy Outlet. Also, they are available in a combination with painkiller such as paracetamol.
The working of decongestants
Nasal congestion is often caused by swelling of the membranes of the lining of the nose. Decongestants constrict the swollen blood vessels in your nose, throat and sinuses. Swelling of the membranes makes your nose feel blocked. Decongestant nasal drops or sprays have an instant effect to clear nasal blockage. Oral tablets may take some time to work, as they have to get absorbed in the gut to exhibit their effect.
Decongestants should be used only for five or seven days at a time. If you use them for more than prescribed duration, you are more likely to experience severe congestion. Hence, it is imperative that you ask a GP about how much and how long you should use a decongestant.
Are there are any side effect?
Most people use decongestants with a very few, or no, side effects. Common ones include nasal burning, nasal irritation, sore throat and dryness. Oral decongestants may cause restlessness, anxiety and sleeping troubles.
People with heart problems, high blood pressure, kidney problems, diabetes and glaucoma should avoid using decongestants.
Can I buy decongestants?
You can buy nasal and oral decongestants from a local or online pharmacy such as Pharmacy Outlet. They are available in many different brand names. It is imperative that you see your GP before using any decongestant to unblock your nose.