Search info


Is it safe to take decongestants if I have blood pressure?


Decongestants can temporarily relieve nasal congestion, but also slightly raise blood pressure during their usage - especially with decongestants containing the ingredient pseudoephedrine. Due to these small spikes in blood pressure, consult your physician if you have high blood pressure and wish to use decongestants.

Decongestant uses

Nasal congestion has many different root causes, including colds, flu and allergies. You can take decongestants orally (by mouth) or as nasal sprays or drops. Most oral decongestants contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine - an ingredient that is more likely to cause small spikes in blood pressure. These products, such as Sudafed®, are more likely than nasal varieties to cause an increase in blood pressure, since they're more readily absorbed into the bloodstream. Common nasal decongestant sprays include products such as oxymetazoline (Afrin®) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine®). Phenylephrine is now replacing pseudoephedrine in many over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, but can still cause an increase in blood pressure when taken orally.

Elevated blood pressure

Blood pressure elevations caused by oral decongestants are often very mild, but they can be a problem if your blood pressure is high or uncontrolled. If you have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before taking an oral decongestant. He or she may recommend that you take a regular (short-acting) form of pseudoephedrine rather than extended-release products. Or that you should avoid oral decongestants and use a nasal decongestant instead.

Back to Ask a Pharmacist


Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

Balance Rewards for Healthy Choices

20 Points
20 Points

Now you can track your blood pressure and blood glucose.

Start earning points Go Arrow