Nasal decongestants are medications used to temporarily relieve congestion or runny noses that may be caused by the flu, cold, rhinitis, or sinusitis.
This therapy works by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal mucosa, thereby reducing blood flow, reducing fluid entering the nose, throat and sinuses, reducing inflammation and swelling of the nasal membranes and the production of mucus.
Nasal decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine, can come in the form of nasal sprays, drops, tablets, or syrups and should be used under the guidance of an otolaryngologist, pediatrician, or primary care physician.
What is this for?
Nasal decongestants are suitable for:
- Sinusitis or sinusitis.
Nasal decongestants do not treat these conditions, but they do help temporarily relieve the symptoms of a runny and/or blocked nose.
Nasal decongestants should be used under the direction and guidance of an otolaryngologist, general practitioner, or pediatrician after symptoms have been evaluated and a medical condition has been diagnosed.
Types of nasal decongestants
The main types of nasal decongestants are:
Phenylephrine is a nasal decongestant available as tablets, capsules, syrup, or oral drops.
Because it is an oral decongestant, phenylephrine has a slower onset of action and a greater risk of side effects.
Phenylephrine is often related to other substances such as acetaminophen, chlorpheniramine maleate, or brompheniramine maleate, and can be found as Dimegan D, Laritol D, Sensibit D, Lordinex D, Vafenil, Levoc NF, Legrip Found under names like Plus, Fluenz T, Dolex and more. For example, Cetirax D, Noxpirin Grip, Rinadalt, Gelocatil Flu forte, Bisolgrip Forte, Kerngrip and Gripaben.
Like phenylephrine, pseudoephedrine is an oral nasal decongestant that comes in tablet or syrup form.
Pseudoephedrine is often combined with loratadine, desloratadine, acetaminophen, or triprolidine under the names Tylenol Sinus, Nastizol, Rigotax D, Nastifrin, Frenaler-D, Alercas D, Decidex plus, Predual, Frenadol. Decongestant agents, Gelocatil influenza, etc.
Naphazoline is a nasal decongestant that is applied topically into the nasal passages in the form of nasal drops.
Since it is applied directly to the nasal mucosa, it has a quick onset of action but a short duration of action.
Naphazoline can be found, for example, under the names Gotina, Nafazol, Afazol Grin, Ninazo or its common name such as “naphazoline”.
Oxymetazoline, like naphazoline, is a topical nasal decongestant that is applied directly to the nasal mucosa.
This decongestant is available in the form of drops or nasal spray under the trade names Afrin, Iliadin, Collifrin, Openxy, Utabon, Respir, or as the generic name “oxymetazoline.”
Nasal Decongestants for Children
The most recommended nasal decongestant for children by pediatricians is 0.9% sodium chloride in saline solution, which can be found in the form of nasal drops or spray.
This nasal decongestant contains no vasoconstrictor substances that are contraindicated in children under 6 years of age, but 0.9% sodium chloride helps maintain nasal hygiene by eliminating irritants and allergens.
Additionally, it helps keep secretions flowing and relieves the feeling of congestion. Learn how to use a saline solution to clean your baby’s nose.
Some examples of saline solutions that can be used for nasal irrigation are Rinosoro Jet for children, Sorine for children, Nasoar for children, or Maresis Baby.
Nasal decongestants during pregnancy
The use of nasal decongestants containing vasoconstrictor substances is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless medically indicated.
Therefore, before using a nasal decongestant during pregnancy, it is important to ask your obstetrician to recommend the most appropriate nasal spray, which in most cases is a 0.9% saline solution such as Sorine or Neosoro.
Natural nasal decongestant
Some natural nasal decongestants are:
- Rinse nose with saline solution;
- Inhale with eucalyptus;
- Drink ginger-garlic tea or peppermint tea.
That’s because these home remedies help clear excess phlegm from your nose and sinuses and relieve symptoms of rhinitis, sinusitis, the flu, or cold. See all home remedies for unclogging your nose.
Risks of using nasal decongestants
Nasal decongestants may cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, irritability, headache, or dry mouth.
Additionally, when used in the form of nasal drops or sprays, they can cause irritation, burning, or stinging of the nasal mucosa.
Nasal decongestants in nasal drops or sprays, if used excessively, can also cause rebound nasal congestion, that is, when secretions are found to decrease, the nasal mucosa increases mucus production, causing the discomfort of nasal congestion and even becoming more serious. .
Other side effects of using nasal decongestants include increased blood pressure, heart rate changes, tremors, dizziness, hallucinations, psychosis, seizures, and even stroke.
Nasal decongestants are not recommended for use in children under 6 years of age, or in people with diabetes, glaucoma, high blood pressure, or heart disease.
Additionally, people with circulatory problems, kidney or liver disease, prostate problems, or an overactive thyroid should not use nasal decongestants.
During pregnancy or breastfeeding, these drugs should be used only when medically indicated, after evaluating the benefit of treatment to the woman and the possible risks to the baby.
It is important that an otolaryngologist, general practitioner or pediatrician recommend the use of nasal decongestants after assessing general health.