Can someone recommend an OTC decongestent?

Usually when I get a cold it’s fairly minor, and I can get by with either no medication or just cough medicine, but the one I’ve got now is a real killer - I just went through two almost sleepless nights because I was so congested.

For allergies I usually take Tavist-D (actually a generic replacement) but since this is an antihistamine it does nothing for me when I have a cold. I’ve noticed that almost all the cold medications (Dayquil, Nyquil, Contac, etc) at my local drugstore are based on pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (“Sudafed”) which has no effect on me, although several years ago I remember it working. I hate to have to go to the doctor for a cold. Anyone know of anything that works better?

Try using one of the allergy plus decongestant. I use Chlortrimeton Allergy D. It does contain pseudoephedrine. I use it for colds and allergies and it hasn’t let me down yet. Or you can try a nice horseraddish and pickle sandwich on rye.

Decongestants and antihistamines work better together, in combination, than they do separately. Combine a Chlortrimeton dose with a Sudafed dose and you’ve got something that’ll work a lot better than either one separately.

Better yet, buy the Osco or Kroger store brands and save $$$. Look for “chlorpheniramine maleate” and “pseudephedrine”. They’re half the price of the brand name stuff.

And P.S. Chicken soup really does help. Hot mildly spicy liquids make your nose run, which believe it or not is a Good Thing when you have a cold.

And don’t forget the vaporizer at night. Cold mist or steam, your choice. It really helps.

And–don’t laugh–Vicks Vaporub. On your chest, just like in the Good Old Days. (a) The menthol and eucalyptus helps–some. (b) It makes you feel like you’re doing something useful. © It impresses people. “Wow, is that Vicks I smell? You must be really sick!”

The best decongestant I’ve ever used was prescription, and the active ingredient was guaifenesin (sp?). I know you asked about OTC stuff, but I know I’ve seen that ingredient listed on labels of OTC stuff, I just don’t remember which specific products. But seriously, it cleared me out like nobody’s business. For a whole year (until I ran out of the stuff), I took it every time I flew, to help my ears clear out during landing and takeoff.

MsWhatsit, I bet it was Duratuss. My doctor prescribed it along with an antibiotic for a sinus infection. It did work really well, but I got withdrawal headaches from the pseudoephedrine when I stopped taking it.

I recently switched from pseudoephederine HCl to decongenstant nose spray (oxymetaoline HCl) and I like it a lot better, mostly because it doesn’t give me that spacey feeling.

This thread is better served in IMHO.

And the answer, BTW, is chicken soup or a vegetarian alternative. Don’t louse up your system with all them chemicals unless you’re really sick.

Be careful with those nasal sprays, by the way. My doctor prescribed me an OTC nasal spray once when I was really stuffed up, and told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to use it for more than three days, because otherwise I ran a good chance of becoming addicted. Apparently the nasal membranes can become dependent on the chemicals, so when you stop using it, they swell up and you can’t breath at all. So if you must use the stuff, use it sparingly, and not for very long.

Best thing for me is spicy hot green chili, or something with chiles like rellenos or a quesadilla. My dad eats raw onions, just bites into them as if they were apples.

Guaifenesin is an expectorant (it help loosen the stuff in your nose by watering it down). It can be found in things like Robitussin. It’s also used to clean out gleep in your throat that makes you cough. It’s even been used by women with problems getting pregnant because of thick secretions.

Sprays work well, but can work too well, causing nosebleeds and addictions. Unfortunately, almost all decongestants carry warnings about glaucoma, diabetes, and (especially) high blood pressure. The antihistamine is what usually creates the spacey effect (The Tavist part of Tavist-D, chlorpheniramine maleate, Benadryl, etc). Decongestants like pseudoephedrine usually get you pretty wired up (same ingredient in a lot of diet pills), so taking them at bedtime is difficult.