Nasal decongestants are medicines that can help relieve a blocked nose. Nasal decongestants help relieve nasal congestion by narrowing (constricting) the blood vessels and reducing blood flow and swelling, allowing you to breathe more easily.
Ecamples of nasal decongestants include phenyleprine and pseudoephedrine. These are found in oral formulations. Most of the time, they are combined with antihistamines (another class of drugs used for nasal congestion. We shall look at them later).
Other examples are oxymetazoline and xylometazoline. These are found in nasal drops and sprays.
Medicated nasal Decongestants must not be used in babies younger than 6 months, as rebound congestion may cause breathing difficulty.
Decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, oxymetazoline or xylometazolineshould not be given to children younger than 6 years.
Ask your pharmacist for advice before giving decongestants containing pseudoephedrine, phenylephedrine , oxymetazoline or xylometazoline to children aged 6 to 11 years.
What are the side effects of decongestants?
Commonly occurring side effects include:
burning and stinging in the nose
increased mucus production
rebound congestion if used for more than 4 or 5 days
Don’t use intranasal decongestant spray or drops for longer than 4 or 5 days.
Using a decongestant for longer than 5 days (or at higher than the recommended dose) can worsen your symptoms after you stop using the decongestant (this is ‘rebound congestion’). Your symptoms may take weeks to improve. To avoid rebound congestion, don’t use nasal decongestants for longer than 4 or 5 days, and only use the recommended dose.
If you need a decongestant for longer than 5 days, decongestant tablets containing pseudoephedrine can help to prevent rebound congestion.
to be continued