- A drug that shrinks the swollen membranes in the nose and makes it easier to breath. Decongestants can be taken orally or by nasal spray. Decongestant nasal sprays should not be used for more than five days without the doctor's advice, and if so, usually only when accompanied by a nasal steroid. Many decongestant nasal sprays often cause a rebound effect if taken too long. A rebound effect is the worsening of symptoms when a drug is discontinued. This is a result of a tissue dependence on the medication. Decongestants should not be used by patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) unless under doctors supervision.
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* * *de·con·ges·tant .dē-kən-'jes-tənt n an agent that relieves congestion (as of mucous membranes)decongestant adj relieving or tending to relieve congestion <nasal \decongestant action>
* * *n.an agent that reduces or relieves nasal congestion. Most nasal decongestants are sympathomimetic drugs, applied either locally, in the form of nasal sprays or drops, or taken by mouth.
* * *de·con·ges·tant (de″kən-jesґtənt)1. tending to reduce congestion or swelling, such as of the nasal mucosa; called also decongestive. 2. an agent that reduces congestion or swelling.
Medical dictionary. 2011.