Archive for the ‘decongestants’ Category

Over the Counter Cold Medicine Can Leave You With More Than A Stuffy Nose

February 17, 2015

Millions of Americans purchase over the counter cold medication to control the symptoms of stuffy nose and a dry cough. However, these OTC medications are not without their precautions. This blog will cover some of the most common OTC cold preparations and what are the caveats before using these not so harmless drugs.

Acetaminophen and liver damage. Acetaminophen, which is found in Tylenol, which can suppress a headache can be associated with fatal liver damage. The maximum safe daily dose is 3000 milligrams. If you use large quantities of acetaminophen, stay away from alcohol. Also take the lowest dose that brings relief. Also many medications contain acetaminophen, so you may be taking more than you realize.

Ibuprofen, ulcers, kidney problems. Ibuprofen, which is in Advil and Motrin, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug that relieves mild aches and pains. Ibuprofen increases the risk for a a heart attack or stroke, especially if you already h ave heart disease or high blood pressure, you smoke, you have diabetes or you use it long term. If you use ibuprophen, avoid alcoholic beverages. Call your doctor if develop blood or black stools; if you experience changes in the frequency of urination; or if you have problems walking or with your vision or speech.

Decongestants and high blood pressure. Decongestants found in Triaminic, Afrin nasal spray and Dimetapp Cold Drops relieve nasal congestion by reducing swelling and constricting blood vessels in the nose, allowing you to breathe more easily. These decongestants may cause blood pressure to spike and interfere with the effectiveness of prescription medication to control blood pressure. If you have a heart condition, high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma or an overactive thyroid, speak to your doctor before using decongestants.

Antihistamines and falls. Antihistamines found in Benedryl and Chlor-Trimeton, can relieve the symptoms of runny nose. However, they make users sleepy and contribute to falls and hip fractures especially in the elderly. If you have glaucoma, an enlarged prostate gland, breathing problems, high blood pressure or heart disease, you may have worsening of symptoms and probably should avoid antihistamines.

Combination medications and heart problems. OTC combinations of acetaminophen with the decongestant phenylephrine (Contac) can bring on irrgullarg heartbeat, high blood pressure and tremors. I suggest that you use a single ingredient medication.

Bottom Line: Many OTC medications are safe if used properly and with precaution in men and women who have certain conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, prostate gland problems, or glaucoma, these medications are probably safe.

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Over the Counter Cold Medicnes May Wreck Havoc With Your Prostate Gland.

February 10, 2015

Nearly 14 million American men have symptoms related to an enlarged prostate gland. Nearly 50% of men over age 50 will have symptoms. OTC cold medications such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), brompheniramine (Dimetapp), and loratadine (Claritin), pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) and phenylephrine (Sudafed PE) may worsen your prostate symptoms.

The prostate gland is a walnut sized organ at the base of bladder and surrounds the urethra or the tube in the penis that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. For reasons not entirely known, the prostate gland enlarges after age 50 and compresses the urethra making urination difficult and rarely impossible. Often men who have enlargement of the prostate gland have the cold or the flu and will take cold medications containing antihistamines and decongestants, which can worsen prostate symptoms.

It’s very important that men with enlarged prostate avoid cold medicines with pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine. Those are ingredients in decongestants and they constrict the prostatic and cause more compression on the urethra thus aggravating men’s urinary symptoms. Antihistamines aren’t quite as bad, because they work more on the bladder muscle, but they can decrease bladder contractility thus making it difficult for men to empty their bladder of urine.

Enlargement of the prostate is more common in older men, because as men age their prostate continues to grow. Nearly 80 percent of men age 50 and older will be diagnosed with some degree of the disease. Sometimes men need to get up every hour at night. I recommend against waiting too long to visit a doctor for this problem as urinary retention can occur and can cause kidney damage and other serious issues.

If a man is already having a little difficulty and his stream is already slow, and then you (make it worse) it by adding one of these OTC cold medicines, it’s the recipe for causing retention.

Cold remedies that are inhaled, such as a nasal corticosteroid, will not have the same side effects as an oral agent. Mentholated ointments are a safer alternative to decongestants.
If men notice problems with urination after taking certain medicines, they may need to weigh the risks and benefits of the OTC medications.

Bottom Line: I urge men to carefully read over-the-counter drug labels. You have to be aware of what a medication’s potential side-effects are. Unfortunately, the package insert for most medications is quite lengthy. Men need to have a relationship with a primary care doctor or a urologist, doctor who specializes in treatments of the enlarged prostate gland.