Q. Is there a limit of how long you should take a daily decongestant medicine?

A. Decongestants are commonly used to treat symptoms such as stuffy noses and sinus pressure that are caused by common cold viruses, bacteria, and allergies. In general, decongestants are considered safe if taken as directed on a short-term or as-needed basis. Prolonged daily use, however, may lead to higher chances of experiencing side effects. Side effects include but are not limited to nervousness, dizziness, insomnia, disruption of normal heart rhythm, increases in blood pressure, and if using nasal spray decongestants, rebound nasal congestion. In addition, decongestants can interfere with other medications. If you experience side effects after taking decongestants or if your congestion lasts longer than two weeks, call your physician. You may need further evaluation. Don’t be afraid to ask your physician if he or she thinks it is safe for you to take decongestants.

Justin Cooke, M.D.

Signal Mountain Health & Wellness Center

2600 Taft Highway

Signal Mountain, TN 37377

(423) 886-2004