Over the Counter Medical Treatments
Decongestants: Pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine are two decongestants that help with breathing and decongesting the nasal passageway. They have undesirable side effects such as a sense of speeding oneself up and hyperactivity. They can also increase blood pressure and make it very difficult to sleep at night. They are not recommended in most ENT practices.
Antihistamines: Over the counter Claritin is an excellent antihistamine with very minimal side effects. Zyrtec is also an excellent antihistamine, however, about 10% of patients will get some sedation with it.
Aspirin and Ibuprophen: These should not be taken by anyone who has a true allergic nasal polyposis because of the aspirin-allergic triad. People who have aspirin insensitivity also have nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis and asthma.
Afrin: Afrin is a very addictive nasal spry and should not be used. This is called rhinitis medicamentosa and should be avoided. We find that people who are addicted to this usually have a deviated nasal septum and / or severe allergies that originally necessitated the use of this type of spray.
Mucolytics: The best known drug in this category that is available over the counter is Mucinex. We recommend plain Mucinex. Taking two pills in the morning and two pills in the evening to break up any thick, tenacious mucus. This is effective from whatever the source; chronic sinusitis or acute sinusitis. The mucolytic will simply break up the mucus so that the body’s defense mechanisms can help to sweep away the thick, tenacious mucus. While we do recommend this as an over the counter medication, we do not recommend any of the Mucinex preparations with a decongestive component.
Cromolyn Sodium: This is an over the counter nasal spray which is a mast cell inhibitor and an excellent preparation for allergies. It must be taken prophylactically on a daily basis during the allergy season to help control allergies.
Back to top