Decongestants are available as over-the-counter (OTC), nasal sprays, oral tablets and as steroid nasal sprays. OTC nasal-delivery decongestants may be long or short-acting, work faster than oral decongestants and are usually non-drowsy. Nasal corticosteroid sprays are used in conjunction with allergic reactions that cause nasal inflammation. It’s important to understand that there are disadvantages to both kinds of decongestants.
Brooksville, Florida — September 6, 2012
Although decongestants can help make you feel better, it’s important to recognize that they also have some disadvantages including rebound congestion, aggravated sinusitis, and other side effects.
Nasal decongestant sprays are generally safe, but some patients may experience short-term stinging, irritation or sinus dryness. The most common side effect of these medications, however, is rebound congestion. Pharmaceutical manufacturer MCR American Pharmaceuticals describes rebound congestion as the lack of response to OTC nasal spray decongestants after several days of use resulting in repeated and more frequent use of the product to relieve the congestion. MCR American Pharmaceuticals warns that nasal decongestants should not be used for longer than three days. Steroidal nasal sprays, however, do not have rebound effects and can be used for years.
Rebound congestion typically resolves itself after being off of the offending medication for several days, but if dependency continues, it can cause permanent damage to the sinus membranes. This condition is called rhinitis medicamentosa, and it includes severe nasal dryness, stuffiness and even regular nose bleeds.
Next, Most decongestants have various side effects including fatigue, nosebleeds, throat irritation, and cough. Most decongestants should never be used in infants or children less than four years old and some physicians only recommend using them on children over the age of 14. MCR American Pharmaceuticals explains that children using decongestants such as nasal decongestants are open to central nervous system risks such as rapid heart rates, loss of consciousness, convulsions and death.
Lastly, MCR American Pharmaceuticals points out that corticosteroids can help relieve swelling in the nose and sinuses and reduce mucus. Many patients have taken such medication for years with little or no reactions. Because doses are small and absorbed mainly by the nose, systematic absorption is minimal. Nasal and throat irritation, nosebleed and cough are seen at the same frequency as for OTC nasal decongestants, according to MCR American Pharmaceuticals.
While nasal decongestants are a convenient way of relieving annoying stuffiness, they're not for everyone. Consult your physician before using a nasal spray if you have a chronic medical condition, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, emphysema or thyroid disease. Nasal decongestants may also exacerbate headaches or even cause strokes in patients taking some antidepressants, diet pills or anti-migraine drugs. Read medication labels carefully and discuss your medication list with a health practitioner if you're concerned about potential drug contraindications.
Established in 1991, MCR American Pharmaceuticals is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the marketing and development along with sales and distribution of the highest quality pharmaceuticals. MCR American Pharmaceuticals’ products are now marketed throughout the United States and sold directly to the general public as well as medical offices, wholesalers, distributors and local pharmacies.
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