Decongestants cause the blood vessels to narrow, which increases blood pressure. In addition, these drugs may reduce the effectiveness of some of the medicines used to treat hypertension. Decongestants are available over-the-counter. They are a common ingredient in many cold and flu remedies. Patients with high blood pressure should avoid taking anything with pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, naphazoline, ephedrine, or oxymetazoline.
Several over-the-counter cold and cough medicines do not affect blood pressure. Individuals can ask their pharmacist for help with finding these. Patients with hypertension may want to consider non-drug remedies for easing congestion and cold symptoms too. For example, using a saline nasal spray or an antihistamine could provide relief. Patients might want to try gargling with salt water or drinking hot tea. A doctor should examine individuals who have experienced congestion or cold symptoms for more than ten days.
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