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Can decongestants help get rid of a cough?

Gerard W. Frank, MD
Pulmonary Disease
Decongestants work by opening up the nasal passages and reducing inflammation. Sometimes a decongestant will help with a cough. However, decongestants can increase blood pressure, so doctors are reluctant to recommend them for patients who have hypertension (high blood pressure).

There are many decongestants on the market (Sudafed and Actifed, for example). Further, antihistamine medications that have a 'D' at the end of name, such as Allegra-D and Claritin-D, contain decongestants as well.
Decongestants do not work well to get rid of a cough. Decongestants are more typically used to relieve a stuffy nose.

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