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What should I know before taking a decongestant?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

If you have an enlarged prostate, decongestants may prevent you from completely emptying your bladder.

If you have cardiovascular disease, peripheral vascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or thyroid disease, a decongestant may not be a good option for you.

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or may be pregnant, decongestants may not be a good option for you. It is not known if they are safe for pregnant women.

Children under age 12 should not take sustained-release pseudoephedrine. Children under age 6 should not take 0.1% solution tetrahydrozoline. Children under age 2 should not take 0.05% solution tetrahydrozoline.

Some decongestants contain sulfites, and should be avoided if you have an allergy to them.

If you are breastfeeding, a decongestant may not be a good option for you. It is not known if this drug can be passed into breast milk.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.