Don't let decongestants squeeze your heart

As many over-the-counter decongestants get a new ingredient, you might want to look for alternatives.

During cough and cold season, millions of Americans reach for an over-the-counter decongestant to clear a stuffy nose. Some read the warning label: "Do not use this product if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, or difficulty in urination due to enlargement of the prostate gland unless directed by a doctor." Few heed it.

But it might be good to pay attention to the warning. Many of your favorite decongestants are no longer so easily available on pharmacy shelves. Others are getting an ingredient makeover.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »