France’s National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products(ANSM) has warned against using oral nasal decongestant medicines. According to ANSM, these medicines contain pseudoephedrine which can increase the risk of strokes or heart attacks. Pseudoephedrine is found in other medicines, including Actifed Rhume, Doliruhm Paracetamol, and Humex Rhume, among others. While some are available without a prescription in oral tablet form, others require a prescription for use as a nasal spray.
Pseudoephedrine functions by narrowing blood vessels in the nasal area to alleviate congestion, but it can also affect blood vessels elsewhere in the body, potentially leading to increased blood pressure and heart rate. ANSM’s director, Christelle Ratignier-Carbonneil, emphasized the seriousness of the warning, stating, “The message is clear. Do not use them. We do not risk getting a stroke for a stuffy nose.”
The French medicines agency has indicated that there is an ongoing European-level review of these medicines, and they advise individuals to consider alternative approaches for nasal congestion relief. These recommendations include using salt water spray to humidify the nose, sleeping with the head elevated, staying hydrated, and ensuring proper ventilation in living spaces.
What Are The Better Alternatives For Nasal Spray?
- Try using saline nasal rinses that involve flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution. This helps to clear mucus and reduce congestion. You can use a pre-made saline solution or make your own with distilled water and salt.
- Another method for treating nasal congestion is steam inhalation. Steam from a bowl of hot water can help relieve congestion momentarily. It thins mucus and helps to moisturize nasal passages. To intensify the impact, you can add a few drops of essential oils, such as peppermint or eucalyptus.
- By adding more humidity to your living or sleeping area, a humidifier helps lessen congestion and keep your nasal passages from drying out.
- Reducing congestion can be achieved by consuming lots of water to be well-hydrated and to keep mucus thin and easy to release.
- Consuming hot and spicy foods can temporarily relieve congestion by promoting mucus drainage and reducing inflammation.
- Adhesive strips called nasal strips are placed on the outside of the nose. They facilitate easier breathing by physically widening the nasal airways.
- A neti pot is a device used for nasal irrigation. It allows you to pour a saline solution into one nostril, which then flows out through the other nostril, clearing mucus and congestion.
- Applying a menthol-based topical vapor rub to the chest, throat, or under the nostrils can provide relief from congestion, especially at night.
- Sleeping with your head elevated, either by using extra pillows or by using an adjustable bed, can help reduce nighttime nasal congestion.
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