How do I use decongestants safely?

To get the best results from decongestants and use them safely:

  • Don't take them if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, enlarged prostate, or an overactive thyroid.
  • Use nasal sprays or drops when you need instant congestion relief.
  • Don't use decongestant nasal sprays or drops for more than 3 or 4 days.
  • Use oral decongestants when you need symptom relief for more than a few days.
  • Avoid taking decongestants before bed.
  • Avoid other stimulants such as caffeinated coffee, teas, colas, diet pills, or "pep" pills while you're taking decongestants.
  • If you're taking beta-blockers, a blood pressure medication, talk with your doctor before using decongestants.
  • Talk with your doctor before taking any medications if you're pregnant, nursing, or plan to become pregnant.

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