First Time User? Enroll now.
COVID-19: Vaccine information and additional resources | Medicaid: The program is changing and you must take steps to keep your UNC Health providers
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.
Here are some precautions to take when using decongestants.
Current as of:
December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Adam Husney MD - Family MedicineE. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineDonald R. Mintz MD - Otolaryngology
Current as of: December 17, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz MD - Otolaryngology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.