First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Decongestants
Decongestants may help shrink swollen tissues in the nose, sinuses, throat, and the space behind the eardrum (middle ear). This may relieve pressure, pain, and stuffiness (congestion).
Decongestants can be taken by mouth as a pill or liquid (oral) or used as nose drops, sprays, or gels. The oral kind provides longer relief but may cause more side effects than the ones that are used in the nose. Sprays and drops provide rapid but temporary relief.
To know if an over-the-counter medicine contains a decongestant, check the label for the active ingredient. Examples of decongestants are:
In some states, any medicine that contains pseudoephedrine is kept behind the pharmacist's counter so you will need to ask the pharmacist for it. In other states, you have to have a prescription from your doctor to buy medicine containing pseudoephedrine.
For more information about medicine safety, see Over-the-Counter Medicine Precautions and Quick Tips: Giving Over-the-Counter Medicines to Children.
Current as ofMarch 27, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineDonald R. Mintz, MD, FRCSC - Otolaryngology
Current as of:
March 27, 2018
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD, FRCSC - Otolaryngology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
4420 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
1515 SW Cary Parkway
REX Healthcare of Cary, Suite 200
Cary, NC 27511
1059 Beaver Creek Commons Drive
Apex, NC 27502
115 Kildaire Park Drive
Cary, NC 27518
UNC REX Healthcare4420 Lake Boone TrailRaleigh, NC 27607, USA919-784-3100
Chosen for Excellence
Co-Worker & Physician Login
UNC Health Talk
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.