How will decongestants interact with other kinds of drugs?

Before taking any new medication, let your doctor know what other drugs and supplements - both prescription and over-the-counter medications - you take.

The following medications can make decongestant side effects worse:


  • antibiotics and antifungal medications
  • antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs such as Parnate and Nardil) and tricyclic antidepressants or TCAs, in general
  • blood pressure or heart medications, such as beta-blockers, guanethidine, methyldopa, and rauwolfia
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as indomethacin for arthritis

Nasal decongestants can alter the effects of the following types of medications:

  • anti-Parkinson agents, such as bromocriptine mesylate
  • blood pressure or heart medications, such as beta-blockers
  • caffeine products such as coffee, tea, or colas
  • insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents, used for elevated blood glucose and diabetes
  • antipsychotic drugs in general
  • theophylline taken for respiratory problems
  • urinary acidifiers or alkalinizers taken for bladder problems

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