Nasal decongestants - active ingredients

Nasal decongestants are medicines that can help to relieve a blocked nose (nasal congestion).

Nasal decongestants help relieve nasal congestion by narrowing (constricting) the blood vessels in the nose, reducing the blood flow and swelling that cause congestion, allowing you to breathe more easily.

Advice about cough and cold medicines for children has changed from 15 August 2012.

  • Decongestants containing the active ingredients pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, oxymetazoline or xylometazoline should not be given to children younger than 6 years old.
  • Ask a doctor, pharmacist or nurse practitioner for advice before giving decongestants containing the active ingredients pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, oxymetazoline or xylometazoline to children aged 6 to 11 years.

Find out more about nasal decongestants, who shouldn’t take them, their side effects, and find the consumer medicine information leaflet for your medicine (CMI).