Medical News Today: Cold medicine for hypertension: What to know

Decongestants are drugs that help to alleviate the symptoms of a blocked nose. However, these drugs can pose a risk to a person with hypertension, heart disease, or other cardiovascular disorders.

Decongestants work by constricting blood vessels in the sinuses. However, they also constrict blood vessels elsewhere in the body. This results in increased blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. Decongestants may also interact with blood pressure medications, causing them to be less effective.

Decongestants are available over-the-counter at pharmacies. They are available to buy on their own or as an ingredient in multi-symptom cold and flu medications. People who buy medicines to target multiple symptoms should, therefore, read medication labels carefully.

There are several different types of decongestants. The following types are the most likely to cause issues in people with hypertension:

  • ephedrine
  • naphazoline
  • pseudoephedrine
  • oxymetazoline
  • phenylephrine

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