Am I OK to take decongestant powders or tab... - AF Association

AF Association

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Am I OK to take decongestant powders or tablets?


I have AF, have a pacemaker and take daily Bisoprolol and Flecainide tablets. I also suffer a lot from sinus congestion. I tried to buy some Lemsip at my local pharmacy but they said I shouldn't use these if I have AF. Is this correct? If so, what can I use instead?

13 Replies

Yes it is. My GP recommended I ask a pharmacist for any advice re medication, so I would go back and ask them 😊 If you can't do that immediately the good old bowl of hot water and head under a towel trick may help, but better with the addition of Olbas oil or Vicks.

Mrsvemb in reply to Buffafly

I am not so sure about Vick. I used it and it triggered AF. I checked with my GP afterwards and he said not to use any decongestants even those which you inhale. Just to use the hot water. It may be others will be ok with it, but I certainly wasn’t.

Staffsgirl in reply to Mrsvemb

It’s the hot water that does the trick anyway...just be aware of the risk of the hot water spilling on you.

Desanthony in reply to Buffafly

Menthol crystals in hot water and inhale is very good. Also cheap! You can buy a small pot of menthol crystals from your pharmacy and it lasts a long time as you only use 2 or 3 crystals at a time. Ask your pharmacist what you can use as I know how bad sinus problems can be - my wife has bad problems with her sinuses so understand your need to do something about it. Hope you get better soon.

Agree with Buffafly.

Decongestant is a stimulant and can raise the heart rate. Speak to your pharmacist as your GP advised. My GP has advised that once or twice as he says they have more up to date knowledge on drugs and interactions and is their field. X

Decongestants can cause palpitations in people with no arrhythmias so are definitely no-no’s for us.

I use saline sprays and saline washes in a neti pot when I have nasal congestion to wash out my nasal passages. Sounds a bit gross but I found it beneficial long term,

RonSym in reply to Finvola

Thanks. What is a 'neti' pot?

Finvola in reply to RonSym

This is the one I bought with special neti salt - you shouldn’t use ordinary table salt which has additives.

MarthaJ in reply to Finvola

I also use a neti pot which I find very effective, been using one on and off for years and was introduced to it many years ago through yoga practice. I have to say I usually use sea salt if I have it but have also used ordinary table salt with no ill effects.

RonSym in reply to Finvola

Thanks. I bought it and am using it and it helps.


Check with your pharmacist if you can have Sterimar, it’s a sea salt nasal spray.

I cannot take sinex, Sudafed or any cold remedies because of the medications I am on, only paracetamol, but sterimar helped a huge amount when I had a five week cold back in October.

Please do check first though.

Try a saline nasal spray which can be bought over the counter. This French spray is very good and widely available in the UK- uses seawater from around St Malo and is free of chemicals:

Unfortunately my husband is only able to take claritan ready tablets

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