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10 Best Medicines for Congestion Reviewed

last updated Oct 13, 2019
Being sick is no fun, and when you are congested you can get anything done—and you definitely won’t want to go out running. The best medicines for congestion will help you tackle those pesky symptoms and get you back to normal in no time.

One of the worst symptoms of being sick is that you can’t breathe properly—which is really frustrating. The medicines for congestion on our list will help clear your nasal passages so you can get back to breathing normally.

Nowadays there are a ton of options available when it comes to congestion medication, just look at the aisles at your local pharmacy or grocery store. Luckily we have found the best of the best out there for you—so you don’t have to.

Check out what we found, and get to feeling better!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research

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Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
97.6/100 our score
Effectiveness
99
Ease of Use
97
Product Purity
97
Side Effects
98
Bottom Line
97
Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Why is it better?
  • Unparalleled popularity
  • High potency with minimal side effects
  • Very few inactive ingredients
In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Test Winner: Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
10
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.5K
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
7
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
22
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Giselle Killebrew:

For our most recent update, we have added more information and more pictures to each product review. We have also added more information throughout our entire buying guide, so make sure to read through each of our criteria sections and FAQ section.

Sorting Options
Effectiveness Ease of Use Product Purity Side Effects Bottom Line By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.6
Effectiveness
99 %
Ease of Use
97 %
Product Purity
97 %
Side Effects
98 %
Bottom Line
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$35.78
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Effectiveness
97 %
Ease of Use
97 %
Product Purity
98 %
Side Effects
96 %
Bottom Line
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$4.93
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Effectiveness
96 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Product Purity
95 %
Side Effects
96 %
Bottom Line
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$5.49
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Effectiveness
95 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Product Purity
93 %
Side Effects
95 %
Bottom Line
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$15.48
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Effectiveness
93 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Product Purity
92 %
Side Effects
95 %
Bottom Line
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$8.98
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Effectiveness
90 %
Ease of Use
88 %
Product Purity
87 %
Side Effects
88 %
Bottom Line
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$13.92
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Effectiveness
88 %
Ease of Use
86 %
Product Purity
86 %
Side Effects
87 %
Bottom Line
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$23.68
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
Effectiveness
87 %
Ease of Use
85 %
Product Purity
85 %
Side Effects
86 %
Bottom Line
83 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$11.89
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Effectiveness
86 %
Ease of Use
85 %
Product Purity
83 %
Side Effects
83 %
Bottom Line
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$14.67
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Effectiveness
83 %
Ease of Use
80 %
Product Purity
83 %
Side Effects
85 %
Bottom Line
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.10.19)
Amazon Link
$15.97

Best Medicines for Congestion

1. Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.6
Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Mucinex 12 Hr Chest Congestion Expectorant
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
99
Ease of Use
97
Product Purity
97
Side Effects
98
Bottom Line
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$35.78
Pros:
  • Unparalleled popularity
  • High potency with minimal side effects
  • Very few inactive ingredients
Cons:
  • Short shelf life

Mucinex has made one of the best treatments for debilitating cases of sinus and chest congestion on the market. With an extended-release formula that offers relief over a 12 hour period, this is a terrific remedy for debilitating cases of stuffiness that would otherwise interfere with a hard day’s work or a good night’s sleep. Better yet, it comes at an extremely reasonable price point and has nearly universal praise from reviewers.

Read more

Effectiveness

It’s going to be tough, if not impossible, to find another congestion treatment medicine that offers the same potency per dose. Since Mucinex is comprised of guaifenesin and contains no dextromethorphan, it’s able to ensure congestion relief in high doses without the risk of adverse side effects. However, taking excessively large doses of this medicine is not recommended.

Ease of Use

Whether you purchase this medicine in a pack of 20, a pack of 40, or a pack of 100, the cost per dose is extremely low. This is the biggest indicator of value, with the affordability increasing with larger bulk orders, but the option to purchase smaller packages is convenient for individuals who simply want to treat their stuffiness without having a boatload of tablets left over.

Product Purity

Close to 1,000 people have left reviews for this product online, with all but 5% of them giving a perfect score. While it doesn’t exactly prove that this is the best product for congestion relief on the market, it certainly should inspire some confidence in its effectiveness. The closest thing to criticism found is that some shipments of this product expire relatively soon, so buying in bulk may not be a good idea.

Side Effects

One important thing to remember here is that you need to make sure you don't take this medication for longer than it is prescribed. Stick to the schedule and don't over-medicate because you will have unwanted symptoms and side effects if you do.

Bottom Line

Close to 1,000 people have left reviews for this product online, with all but 5% of them giving a perfect score. While it doesn’t exactly prove that this is the best product for congestion relief on the market, it certainly should inspire some confidence in its effectiveness. The closest thing to criticism found is that some shipments of this product expire relatively soon, so buying in bulk may not be a good idea.

2. Vicks VapoRub

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub
Vicks VapoRub
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
97
Ease of Use
97
Product Purity
98
Side Effects
96
Bottom Line
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$4.93
Pros:
  • Extremely affordable
  • Minimal inactive ingredients
  • Very popular
Cons:
  • some trouble relieving relieving bad chest congestion

The quintessential topical remedy for a stuffy nose, Vicks VapoRub is one of the most popular congestion treatment products around. While it may not resolve more serious cases or offer long-lasting treatment, its non-invasive treatment method and afforable price has made it a universally loved naturalistic medication.

Read more

Effectiveness

While this formula is effective at clearing one’s nasal passages, it offers little help in relieving chest congestion. This is only an effective treatment method for minor cases of nasal stuffiness, so individuals looking to relieve more serious symptoms will need to either supplement Vicks with additional medicines or choose a different product entirely.

Ease of Use

One package of VapoRub can be purchased for less than five dollars. It’s just not possible to find a better deal on congestion relief than that. Larger packages will come at an increased cost, but the extremely low fiscal barrier to entry is part of what makes this product so appealing as a general congestion treatment method.

Product Purity

The formula that comprises Vicks VapoRub is extremely simple, with about as many inactive ingredients as there are active ones. This means that no one who applies this medicine will have to worry about exposing their body to confusing and worrisome chemicals; all they have to do is smear some on their chest and breathe clearly once again.

Side Effects

Although there aren't a lot of side effects with this product, some users can have some symptoms if their skin is sensitive to some of the ingredients on the list. Also, remember that this product cannot be ingested so make sure you keep this one away from any of the kids in your house.

Bottom Line

People just can’t get enough of this topical remedy. With many reviews left online, the majority of customers have stated that this is one of the gentlest and most effective ways for them to relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Some people even like to place small doses in their humidifiers to fill their rooms with the smell of menthol.

3. Sudafed PE Congestion Max Relief

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Sudafed PE Congestion Max Relief
Sudafed PE Congestion Max Relief
Sudafed PE Congestion Max Relief
Sudafed PE Congestion Max Relief
Sudafed PE Congestion Max Relief
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
96
Ease of Use
95
Product Purity
95
Side Effects
96
Bottom Line
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$5.49
Pros:
  • Very affordable
  • Strong dosage
  • Popular brand
Cons:
  • A plethora of inactive ingredients

As the most powerful version of this over-the-counter cough medicine, this Sudafed product is designed to offer the strongest possible degree of congestion relief. Although individuals with minor cases of stuffiness may want to pass on this product for something gentler, this is a terrific option for the worst cases.

Read more

Effectiveness

With a very high dose of phenylephrine, this congestion medicine is sure to knock out even the worst cases of chest and sinus congestion. Although it won’t resolve underlying issues that are the catalyst of most serious cases, it can definitely offer some relief for those who are suffering from these illnesses.

Ease of Use

With such a recognizable brand name and a promise of maximum strength, it will come as a surprise to many prospective customers to see it sold at such a low price. Without the need to place a bulk order and have multiple doses left over, this is the perfect dirt-cheap congestion remedy.

Product Purity

The powerful treatment provided by this medication comes at the cost of a lengthy list of inactive ingredients. Many of these ingredients are unrecognizable, meaning that the vast majority of individuals taking this medicine simply won’t know what exactly they’re putting into their body. If this is something that bothers you, then you’re better off with a different product.

Side Effects

When it comes to side effects, you have to make sure the ingredients on this product are compatible with you and just check to see that it doesn't mix poorly with any other medications you may be taking.

Bottom Line

This is not the most popular congestion medicine based on the number of reviews left online. However, out of the people who did take the time to leave their thoughts on this product, the general consensus is that it works exceptionally well at treating their stuffiness and clearing their breathing passages.

4. Naturade Herbal Expec

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Naturade Herbal Expec
Naturade Herbal Expec
Naturade Herbal Expec
Naturade Herbal Expec
Naturade Herbal Expec
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
95
Ease of Use
93
Product Purity
93
Side Effects
95
Bottom Line
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$15.48
Pros:
  • High potency
  • Derived from natural ingredients
  • Very popular
Cons:
  • Many inactive ingredients
  • Somewhat pricey

This congestion remedy sets itself apart from most others on the market by presenting a more holistic and natural alternative to synthetic chemicals and concoctions. Aside from its main ingredient, most of this medicine is derived from natural sources.

Read more

Effectiveness

With a high dose of guaifenesin, this medication is designed around making coughing fits more effective at treating congestion rather than suppressing the urge to cough in general. While this accomplishes the intended task of removing congestion, its potency may cause some discomfort for sensitive individuals.

Ease of Use

No one said natural remedies were going to be cheap. Although the cost of a single bottle of this medicine is within the same price range as many other medications, it also comes at the same price as some syrups offer for bulk orders. The price per dose comparison of this product isn’t very favorable.

Product Purity

Despite advertising itself as a natural remedy, the list of inactive ingredients for this herbal expectorant is quite large. Indeed, these ingredients are mostly plant-based, such as menthol and ginkgo Biloba, but the sheer quantity of them may cause some individuals to be concerned.

Side Effects

Since this product uses natural and more holistic ingredients, you won't have to worry about this product causing any unwanted side effects that you won't like.

Bottom Line

Despite not having as many reviews like many other medications on this list, the people who have left their thoughts on Naturade have been extremely positive. One common recommendation made by reviewers is to take this syrup with a glass of water because it can cause some stomach issues without it.

5. Advil Sinus Congestion and Pain Relief

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Advil Sinus Congestion and Pain Relief
Advil Sinus Congestion and Pain Relief
Advil Sinus Congestion and Pain Relief
Advil Sinus Congestion and Pain Relief
Advil Sinus Congestion and Pain Relief
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
93
Ease of Use
92
Product Purity
92
Side Effects
95
Bottom Line
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$8.98
Pros:
  • Relieves pain
  • Reliable brand name
  • Reduces swelling
Cons:
  • High price per dose
  • Confusing inactive ingredients

With more of a focus on general pain and inflammation relief, this incredibly popular panacea has been updated with additional congestion medication. Despite having a high-profile name that attracts a great deal of praise, the actual potency of this medicine is suspect.

Read more

Effectiveness

200 milligrams of ibuprofen in each tablet will have a powerful effect on the individual’s pain and swelling, reducing much of the negative sensations commonly associated with nasal congestion. Coupled with a small amount of an additional decongestant, this medicine effectively treats the cause and symptoms of nasal stuffiness.

Ease of Use

The cost per pill for this Advil offshoot is alarmingly high. It’s difficult to justify this inflated cost, since the primary active ingredient can be found in bulk for significantly cheaper. It appears that the only justification for its price is the brand name associated with it. However, the relief that it purportedly offers for congested individuals is worth spending a bit more money on in the eyes of the majority.

Product Purity

With so many different inactive ingredients labeled with bizarre scientific names, it’s unclear what purpose many of these chemicals serve. Xanthan gum, glycerin, and wax are important for bonding the tablets, but the scores of other components are a complete mystery. Customers interested in naturalistic remedies should give this one a pass.

Side Effects

This is a great option, with minimal side effects, so as long as you follow the instructions you will be fine when it comes to unwanted side effects.

Bottom Line

Despite having a large list of confusing inactive ingredients and a ridiculous price tag, this is one of the most popular congestion medications online. The root of this high acclaim is likely a combination of the brand name and the general effectiveness of ibuprofen as a cure-all.

6. Creomulsion

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Creomulsion
Creomulsion
Creomulsion
Creomulsion
Creomulsion
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
90
Ease of Use
88
Product Purity
87
Side Effects
88
Bottom Line
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.92
Pros:
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • Excellent value
  • Very popular
Cons:
  • Disgusting taste
  • Potential side effects

Touted as the most effective cough suppressant on the market that doesn’t require a prescription, the truth is that this is simply a decent congestion medication without a plethora of harmful additives. A decent price tag and high popularity make this a solid pick for individuals suffering from stuffiness.

Read more

Effectiveness

Creomulsion, also known as dextromethorphan, is the key ingredient in this congestion medicine. It works by suppressing signals in the brain that would trigger a cough reaction, which will only work for individuals suffering from a cold or flu. Still, it’s a decently potent medication that will address the symptoms for most people.

Ease of Use

Although the price tag for this product may seem a bit high, the justification for this is the fact that this medicine comes in packs of three. When calculating the cost per dose, the value of this congestion medication is actually very reasonable. However, buying in bulk will most likely lead to much of this product being left over after the congestion is relieved.

Product Purity

Although there are still several inactive ingredients contained in the Creomulsion formula, these are harmless and mostly derived from natural resources. Unless you’re worried about creosote or sucrose, this medicine will treat your symptoms without introducing harmful chemicals into your body.

Side Effects

As far as side effects, this product doesn't have many issues you have to deal with, so make sure you follow the directions.

Bottom Line

With almost universal praise online, this is one of the most popular cough suppressant syrups on the market. Reviewers praise its effectiveness at treating their symptoms but they also mention its nasty taste and potential for side effects if used improperly.

7. Nasacourt Nasal Spray

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Nasacourt Nasal Spray
Nasacourt Nasal Spray
Nasacourt Nasal Spray
Nasacourt Nasal Spray
Nasacourt Nasal Spray
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
88
Ease of Use
86
Product Purity
86
Side Effects
87
Bottom Line
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$23.68
Pros:
  • Fantastically potent
  • Package deals
  • High popularity
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Can cause damage if excessively dosed

With multiple packages available for small or large orders, this nasal spray is offered at a convenient rate for the buyer. It’s twice as potent as the other nasal sprays on this list but some of the inactive ingredients may be cause for concern.

Read more

Effectiveness

The other nasal sprays on this buying guide offer a guarantee that they will treat sinus congestion for up to 12 hours after dosing. Nasacourt offers an even better deal with a full 24 hours of clear breathing passages after just one spray in each nostril. It goes without saying that this is a seriously potent medication.

Ease of Use

Depending on the needs of each customer, Nasacourt is conveniently offered in a variety of packages. Individuals who just need one unit can purchase it separately, while those who would like to save on bulk orders also have the option to do so. It’s a rare thing to see when ordering nasal sprays online.

Product Purity

The active ingredient in this medication is one that is commonly found in nasal sprays, but a large number of inactive ingredients contained in this formula may be troubling to some. In particular, a small amount of hydrochloric acid can scare away some potential customers, although it’s far from enough to cause any damage if appropriately administered.

Side Effects

This is a great option to use once a day for a few day--but not anymore that than that.

Bottom Line

This medication has been reviewed by almost a thousand customers with an overwhelmingly positive reception. Something worth noting, however, is that a few customers noticed nasal damage if they used this medicine for too long; because of that, caution should be exercised when administering Nasacourt.

8. Robitussin DM Max

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
Robitussin DM Max
Robitussin DM Max
Robitussin DM Max
Robitussin DM Max
Robitussin DM Max
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
87
Ease of Use
85
Product Purity
85
Side Effects
86
Bottom Line
83
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$11.89
Pros:
  • Extremely potent
  • Very popular
  • Pleasant taste
Cons:
  • High price
  • Contains unhealthy ingredients

With a combination of active ingredients that work to powerfully treat chest congestion, this raspberry flavored non-drowsy cough syrup will easily eliminate most minor cases of the cold or flu. The only things to look out for is excessive dosing and the number of inactive ingredients.

Read more

Effectiveness

The dextromethorphan contained in Robitussin is a powerful anti-cough medicine, while the guaifenesin makes coughing fits more effective. Being a maximum strength medication, the doses of these two medicines are so potent that taking too much may cause queasiness, so care must be taken when administering this syrup.

Ease of Use

The cost per fluid ounce of this medicine is a bit on the steep side but it is still well within an acceptable price range. This increased cost can be attributed to the increased strength of this Robitussin formula, making it a justified asking price. Still, individuals with less severe cases of stuffiness can find a suitable medication for a lower cost.

Product Purity

While this maximum strength congestion medicine features powerful active ingredients, they come with a laundry list of inactive ones. Some of these are simple bonding agents while others are common health concerns such as high-fructose corn syrup.

Side Effects

When it comes to side effects, you just have to make sure you follow the directions carefully. Other than that you will be fine since this is the non-drowsy option.

Bottom Line

This medicine is so powerful that it only recently became available over-the-counter, meaning customers used to require a prescription to obtain it. Among those who have tried it, a great deal of praise has been given regarding its effectiveness and lack of harmful side effects.

9. Vicks Sinex Moisturizing Nasal Spray

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
83.4
Vicks Sinex Moisturizing Nasal Spray
Vicks Sinex Moisturizing Nasal Spray
Vicks Sinex Moisturizing Nasal Spray
Vicks Sinex Moisturizing Nasal Spray
Vicks Sinex Moisturizing Nasal Spray
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
86
Ease of Use
85
Product Purity
83
Side Effects
83
Bottom Line
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.67
Pros:
  • Soothing application
  • Doesn’t dry out nostrils
  • Popular reception
Cons:
  • Many inactive ingredients
  • No bulk offers

This moisturizing nasal spray from the makers of the extremely popular VapoRub helps to relieve sinus congestion while avoiding the common side effects that come from similar medications. It’s a great value and generally popular, although its potency and purity are questionable.

Read more

Effectiveness

As a consequence to this medicine’s more soothing application, the decongesting effects aren’t as pronounced as some of the more potent alternatives. However, the vast majority of reviewers have stated that it certainly gets the job done. Also worth noting is that this medication will only treat sinus congestion; individuals suffering from chest congestion will need to look elsewhere for treatment.

Ease of Use

No bulk offer is available for purchasing this nasal spray, meaning that the cost per volume is a bit on the high side. However, the cost for one package is conveniently low and will provide enough medicine to relieve one person’s sinus issues for the entire cold season. Enough doses are included with one package to share with another person suffering from sinus congestion, although the hygiene issues associated with sharing may discourage you from doing so.

Product Purity

In order to make this medication more comfortable to the taker, some additional ingredients were added aside from the standard nasal spray bonding agents. These include aloe, sorbitol, and fragrances, which can improve the experience of dosing but has no effect on the actual sinus congestion.

Side Effects

When it comes to side effects, this product is only meant to be used consecutively for a certain amount of time, so just pay close attention to that.

Bottom Line

The good news is that this Vicks nasal spray is reviewed very favorably by customers, with a high average rating on Amazon. The bad news is that relatively few people have left reviews on this product, meaning that the average rating isn’t necessarily indicative of the general population’s impression.

10. Afrin Original Nasal Spray

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Afrin Original Nasal Spray
Afrin Original Nasal Spray
Afrin Original Nasal Spray
Afrin Original Nasal Spray
Afrin Original Nasal Spray
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
83
Ease of Use
80
Product Purity
83
Side Effects
85
Bottom Line
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$15.97
Pros:
  • Excellent value
  • Surprisingly potent
  • Decent popularity
Cons:
  • Lackluster purity
  • Difficult to open

This effective non-drowsy nasal spray can provide up to 12 hours of congestion relief and comes at a fantastic value. A less popular reception and a plethora of inactive ingredients keep this medicine from being truly great, instead settling for just being good.

Read more

Effectiveness

What’s unique about this nasal spray is that although the active ingredient is delivered in a very small dosage, the effects of it are substantial. Just one spray of this medicine in each nostril will immediately open up the nasal passages for an extended period of time, making this treatment method surprisingly potent.

Ease of Use

Afrin is commonly sold in packs of three when purchasing through online retailers. While this means that it comes at a fantastic value per dosage, the truth is that virtually no one will need this much medicine unless their entire extended family is suffering from sinus congestion. However, there is no denying that it is sold at an excellent price per volume.

Product Purity

In order to administer the active ingredient in this nasal spray, a large number of inactive ingredients are required. These are mostly bonding agents and shouldn’t cause any adverse health effects, but the presence of these superfluous chemicals can cause concern for some individuals.

Side Effects

This one is awesome, but make sure to follow the dosing instructions to make sure you don't have any side effects you won't want to experience.

Bottom Line

This nasal spray has favorable rankings online with a large number of reviews, but it isn’t as highly praised as many other products on this list. Common complaints include that the cap is extremely difficult to take off and that the spray can cause sneezing fits in some individuals.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

If it's not going to improve your congestion it didn't make our list. Period. So, make sure to get a medication that will effectively address your congestion so you can get back to it faster.

There's no point in taking medicine that doesn't work. That much seems obvious. When writing this buying guide we only chose products that have proven to be effective. So have faith that there's something on this list that will work for you. But we wanted to help you learn more about how the products on our list work.

The two main effective ingredients in congestion medicines are phenylephrine and pseudoephedrine. Pseudoephedrine has a fairly high potential for abuse and is also one of the ingredients that are combined to make methamphetamines so the government has recently passed legislation that restricts its sale.

It can still be purchased over the counter in most locations but the amount is usually limited and you may need to show ID. However, 100% of pseudoephedrine is absorbed in the intestinal tract which makes it highly effective at relieving congestion. Compare this to phenylephrine, of which the intestines are only able to absorb only 38% which makes it less effective but it's more available.

Having said that, if you're not too much into science just know that all of the products on this list have been shown to do a good job at easing your congestion problems. Some still work better than others and that factor can also vary between different people because everyone's body is different.

Ease of Use

When you're not feeling well it's important to have a product that is simple to apply or ingest. And, most importantly you need to make sure you get something that is easy enough for you to use.

In this buying guide, we have products that are taken in many different ways. There are pills you can take, nasal sprays you spray up your nose, cream-type products that you rub on your chest, and liquids that you drink. A lot of how easy these things are to ingest depends on the preferences of the user.

For example, some people have no problem swallowing pills but don't like spraying something up their nose. For others, rubbing cream on their chest feels great but will note that this means they probably aren't going to want to do so and then go out in public. Not only will it probably stain your shirt but it can also smell strange and cause some awkward social situations.

We know it sounds like we're dancing around the subject but the truth is that how easy a product is to use is very subjective and depends on the user's preferences as well as their context. Before buying the best question to ask yourself is: Do I want something I can take while I'm at work or otherwise out in public? Or am I looking for medicine that will be taken in the privacy of my own home?

Product Purity

What you put in your body is obviously very important. So, make sure to take a close at all of the ingredients to ensure you are getting something that you can use and won't harm you.

While there are several natural ways to relieve congestion, we didn't focus on those in this buying guide. But here are some quick natural remedies; a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil rubbed under your nose may help. Another thing you can try is using a humidifier, especially if you live in a dry environment.

For our busy and active readers, however, we wanted to bring you the medicines that are the fastest acting and most effective so that you don't get slowed down in your day to day life or in your training. Having said all that, even though some of the ingredients in these medicines may be kind of scary sounding, they are all FDA approved and won't cause you harm.

We ranked each product based on how many of their ingredients are safe to use and naturally sourced. This is important because you need to make sure you get something that will actually work for you--so take a close look at all of the ingredients to ensure that it will actually work for you and your needs.

Side Effects

The fewer undesirable and unseen effects of a medicine, the better. So, make sure to follow the directions and don't overuse it more than directed unless your doctor tells you to do so.

Unfortunately, like most medicines decongestants can, at times, have undesirable side effects. Some of the most common ones are sleeping problems, nervousness and/or anxiety, and lightheadedness and/or dizziness. However, please note that healthy adults who only take decongestant medicine for short periods of time usually don't experience side effects and if they do they tend to be quite mild.

In order to help minimize the possibility of side effects, it's recommended that you don't take a decongestant medicine for more than 3 consecutive days. This will help you to hopefully avoid any side effects, but please note that we aren't doctors and none of the health advice in this buying guide should be taken at face value.

When it comes to your all-important health it's important to do your own research and to consult your doctor with any additional questions. Also, please note that you should definitely talk to your doctor before taking an over the counter decongestant if you have any of these medical conditions: thyroid issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, prostate problems, or heart conditions.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, you want a decongestant medicine that works well, works quickly, and doesn't cause any unwanted side effects.

Being congested can be a real pain, literally and figuratively. And for us runners, it can be extra annoying because it can quickly put a halt on your training because you know if you can't breathe its kind of hard to run! It's for this reason that we made the effectiveness of medicine the top factor on our list.

We wanted to bring you products that will ease your congestion quickly so you can get back to running. We also recognize how important health is, so we did our best to bring you safe products that won't cause you unwanted side effects. And while it wasn't one of our top factors, we recognize and respect the sanctity of your wallet.

So we did our best to bring you medicines that were also affordable and offer you good value for your hard-earned money. We also took a look at what the popular opinion was for each medication to ensure we could provide all of our readers with good feedback on each medication--so mae sure to take a close look.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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All Natural vs. Everything Else

There are all-natural options, which we know is important for many of you. However, keep in mind they typically are not as potent. If you have mild symptoms or need something you need to use more often then a more natural solution may work for you.

Expiration dates

Make sure to rotate your medications as their expiration dates approach--this is especially important for those of you who only have to rely on congestion medication seasonally.

Other Factors to Consider

Use

The factors described above are sufficient for determining the quality of the ten products listed in this buying guide. However, there may be some individuals who have particular circumstances that may necessitate additional information. For the sake of these special cases, here are some other factors worth consideration:

Certain active or inactive ingredients contained in some of these medications may have the potential to trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. Other additives may conflict with certain diets, such as animal-based gelatin for tablets. If you are diabetic it is best to check with your doctor before taking any cold medication that is over the counter.

Some additives may affect your blood sugars, and cause them to increase. All of the products listed here are over-the-counter and do not require a prescription to obtain. For individuals with much more serious conditions, it may be a better idea to take a medication that is prescribed by a medical professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What congestion medicine is safe for pregnant women?

a:

Medicines containing guaifenesin and dextromethorphan as their active ingredients are safe to use when pregnant. Topical creams such as Vicks are also safe since they don’t require ingestion to work. Pseudoephedrine is unsafe to take during the first trimester, but it can be taken safely during subsequent trimesters.

If you are pregnant or think you will become pregnant soon, talk to your doctor about what medications you can and cannot take during pregnancy! So, just make sure to keep that in mind if that is you or if it could be you.

q: What congestion medicine is safe for infants and toddlers?

a:

Cold and cough medicine is unsafe to give to children younger than four years old. To relieve congestion in toddlers and infants, use a nasal bulb to remove built-up mucus in their sinuses. A small amount of saline can be used safely in this process. Discuss which medications are safe for your child with their doctor.

You can also run a hot shower and stand in the bathroom with the door shut (not in the shower that would be too hot), and create some steam, and the heat will help open your child’s airways.

q: Will congestion go away on its own?

a:

Most cases of congestion are caused by seasonal illnesses such as the cold or flu and will resolve themselves after a few days of rest and fluids. However, more serious causes of congestion such as bronchitis or emphysema will require assistance from a doctor and regular medication to treat.

If you have severe congestion that makes it very difficult to breathe or you have other symptoms, head to the ER, urgent care clinic, or contact your doctor right away. However, if it isn't that severe yet, the best medicines for congestion on our list of reviews are definitely worth a shot.

q: Will a humidifier help to relieve congestion?

a:

Sometimes, congestion can occur if the air around you is too dry. In these situations, adding extra humidity to the air around you with the aid of a humidifier can help to relieve this congestion. Humidifiers can also be used to treat congestion from a cold or flu but they won’t be very helpful for more serious conditions.

Sources

  1. Editorial Team , Best Congestion Medicine, Article
  2. Editorial Team , Over the Counter Medicines for Sinus Congestion, Article
  3. Med Editorial Team , Best Medicine for Chest Congestion, Website
  4. Editorial Team , Best Cough Suppressant, Article
  5. Editorial Team , Best Medication for Chest Congestion, Website
  6. Editorial Team , Chest Congestion Remedies, Website
  7. Editorial Team , Cold and Flu Medicine, Article
  8. Editorial Team , Best Nasal Congestion Medicine, Article
  9. Editorial Team , Best Medicine for Sinus Pressure, Website
  10. Editorial Team , Medications for Sinusitis, Website