Oral Decongestants- How it helps, Common Side-Effects and Precautions

oral decongestants
Nasal spray, medical mask and stethoscope on gray textured background

What are oral Decongestants?

Decongestant is a medicine that reduces swelling of the nasal passages. It works by constricting blood vessels in your nose, making it easier for you to breathe through them, and helps minimize stuffiness or congestion. Oral decongestants can be used as needed when symptoms occur. They’re usually taken once daily at bedtime. Some people may need more than one type of medication before they find relief from their colds.

What is the mechanism of action of decongestants?

Decongestants cause vasoconstriction of small blood vessels in the nose and sinuses, making it harder for mucous membranes to swell. This causes the body to release less fluid into the airways, reducing the number of excess secretions present. As a result, fewer fluids collect in the lungs, causing coughing fits. In addition, decongestants relax muscles throughout the respiratory tract allowing for improved breathing.

What are some oral decongestants?

Oral decongestants are available over-the-counter without a prescription. These products contain an active ingredient called pseudoephedrine which helps reduce swelling in the lining of the nose and sinuses. There are many different brands on store shelves, including Sudafed®, Claritin® D, Zyrtec®, Allegra®, DayQuil®, Vicks Sinex®, etc. There are several types of decongestants sold at drugstores today. All are designed to relieve nasal congestion caused by colds and allergies. Most of them come as liquids or tablets with instructions telling how much fluid should be put under each nostril twice daily until relief occurs. You will find pills labeled “nasal” or “sinus.”

When choosing one type of medication over another, ask yourself if you want quick relief or long-lasting results. Also, consider whether you prefer milder or stronger medicines. The best way to choose among these options is to read package directions carefully before taking any medicine. If they say take two drops per nostril three times a day, follow those directions strictly. Never use more than what’s recommended. Do not stop taking this product suddenly because you feel better; instead, gradually wean off the dosage over time.

How does oral decongestant compare to OTC antihistamines?

Both oral decongestants and OTC antihistamine medications help ease allergy-related sneezing and itching. However, there are differences between the two classes of drugs. For example, both medicines provide temporary relief from allergic reactions, but only oral decongestants offer lasting comfort.

What are the common side effects of decongestants?

Decongestant medications can be used to treat the symptoms of stuffy nose, runny or blocked nose, and other nasal congestion. They work by constricting blood vessels in your nose so that mucus drains more quickly from your sinuses into your throat, where it is coughed up. The most common side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting. Some people
may also have a rash around their eyes after using these drugs.

What happens if you take too much decongestant?

Oral decongestants can make you sleepy. It’s important to know when to quit taking them. Ask your doctor about stopping the dose slowly instead of abruptly. Taking too much decongestion medication could lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, seizures, coma, or death.

Who should not take oral decongestants?

Anyone who has had a seizure within 24 hours before beginning treatment should consult their physician before starting therapy. Anyone with severe liver disease should avoid all forms of decongestants due to the potential for hepatotoxicity. In addition, anyone with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, especially those with underlying cardiovascular conditions, should check with their physicians before initiating treatment.


Decongestants are a boon when you are suffering from a blockage. They provide instant relief and help you to manage your daily chores. Having a decongestant handy will save you from a tiring day.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here