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TE-Nose_diagram.svgA decongestant is a broad class of medications used to relieve nasal congestion.

Generally, they work by reducing swelling of the mucous membranes in the nasal passages.

The effects are not limited to the nose and these medicines can increase hypertension (blood pressure).

These are normally paired with antihistamines to lessen this effect, but they don’t always even each other out.

These agents are usually administered topically (by the intranasal route) or orally.

Examples of oral decongestants include pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine.

Common decongestants include:

  • Ephedrine
  • Levo-methamphetamine
  • Naphazoline
  • Oxymetazoline
  • Phenylephrine
  • Phenylpropanolamine
  • Propylhexedrine
  • Synephrine
  • Tetrahydrozoline
  • Xylometazoline
  • Pseudoephedrine — controlled in some jurisdictions for over the counter use
  • Tramazoline

Decongestants that are uncommon or discontinued include:

  • Cafaminol
  • Cyclopentamine
  • Epinephrine
  • Fenoxazoline
  • Levonordefrin
  • Mephentermine
  • Metizoline
  • Norepinephrine
  • Tuaminoheptane
  • Tymazoline

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