What are nasal decongestants?
Decongestants are used to treat nasal congestion. Nasal decongestants are applied to nasal passages to reduce congestion and discomfort due to allergies and the common cold. Decongestants cause blood vessels in the nasal passages to shrink (vasoconstrict). Vasoconstriction reduces nasal congestion by preventing fluid from draining from blood vessels into the tissues lining the nasal passages.
Examples of nasal decongestants include:
Short-acting nasal decongestants
- ephedrine (Not available in the U.S.)
- levmetamfetamine or L-desoxyephedrine (Vicks Vapo Inhaler)
- naphazoline (Privine)
- phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine, Little Noses Decongestant Nose Drops, 4-Way Fast Acting)
- propylhexedrine (Benzedrex Inhaler)
Long-acting decongestants (8 to 12 hours)
- xylometazoline (Triaminic Decongestant Spray Nasal & Sinus Congestion)
- oxymetazoline (Afrin, Vicks Sinex, Zicam Nasal Gel)
What are the side effects of nasal decongestants?
Side effects of nasal decongestants include:
- Local irritation
- Rebound congestion (Rhinitis medicamentosa)
- High blood pressure
- Fast heartbeat
- Dizziness, and
- tremors may also occur.
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