Antihistaminics and Decongestants
They are one of the commonest drugs used for nasal obstruction, fullness in the sinusesand common colds. If they are used appropriately they are helpful in annoying complaints.
They are used for allergic and vasomotor rhinitis. They do not treat allergy or infection, they just relieve the complaints that they cause. Provide comfort to patients.
When body contacts to an allergic material or during infection a chemical agent called “histamine” is released. Antihistaminics prevent the effects of histamine thus they decrease the effects of the allergy. For the best results these drugs should be taken before allergic reactions begun.
Some antihistaminic cause sedation. They may be a problem in those people working in dangerous jobs. New generation antihistaminics do not cause sedation.
Blood vessels found in nasal and air passages swell causing obstruction in nose, sinuses and chest. This reaction is called “congestion”. There are many blood vessels present in these areas. Histamines cause dilatation of these vessels.
Decongestants cause the reverse and open the air passages.
Decongestant drugs have side effects like causing nervous reactions, difficulty in going sleep, hypertension, increase in heart beats, urination problems. People who have hypertension, heart rythm problems, glaucoma, prostate problems should not use decongestants. Some diet medicine include decongestant therefore they are not taken while taking decongestants.
They have different actions therefore can be used together.
Patients can get benefit from one drug for months even years but if not efficient anymore they should change their drugs.
Everybody reacts to these drugs in different manner, therefore one should recognise his/her body to get these drugs.
Common cold drugs
Drugs used for common cold mostly include decongestants and antihistaminics, but drying agents, aspirin or derivatives, cough supressants are also added into them. Person should choose the best combination fits his/her disease.
Nasal sprays are mainly divided into two groups. Long term usable sprays for “alllergic rhinitis, vasomotor rhinitis or polyps”. Other is decongestant nasal sprays.
Decongestant sprays shrink the blood vessels and open the nose immediately. They are more effective than oral decongestants but their effect can last after a few hours. The blood vessels swell again. This may cause abuse of sprays in a vicious cycle.
This effect occurs in one week for adults but in babies they can be seen in two days. After stopping use these drugs effect can last longer in adults than in babies. To tolerate oral decongestants and nasal corticosteroid sprays may be needed. Therefore we do not advise to use these sprays more than five days.
Decongestant sprays should be chosen for emergency and in short term situations.