Jitteriness

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Question

Are there any over-the-counter cold or allergy products that do not make you feel jittery?

Answer

Jitteriness is among the many potential side effects from a wide range of over-the-counter (OTC) and behind-the-counter (BTC) cold and allergy products. BTC refers to those products that do not require a physician's prescription but that do require distribution from the pharmacy counter and for which the patient must sign and show identification and proof of age.

Any remedy containing pseudoephedrine (a BTC decongestant used to clear a stuffy nose) has the potential to cause jitteriness. An alternative ingredient is phenylephrine (OTC), which may cause less of that jittery feeling. However, some people find a remedy containing phenylephrine to be less effective than pseudoephedrine. Some researchers say a nasal spray containing phenylephrine may work better than an oral remedy, but decongestant nasal sprays should only be used for a few days at a time and not more often than recommended on the product labels.

Be sure to carefully read the label of any OTC medication, and take note of the possible side effects and cautions for use, especially if you take other medications or have other conditions such as high blood pressure. Remember that your pharmacist is a great source of information, so consult your pharmacist for alternative OTC treatments.

Learn more about nasal congestion in our Health Library.

View decongestants available on Walgreens.com.

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