Can you take decongestants with Sertraline?

In this article, we will discuss the concomitant use of decongestants with Sertraline. We will talk about some potential risks of combining OTC cold and flu medications with Sertraline and what people should completely avoid their use.

Can you take decongestants with Sertraline?

Yes, you can take decongestants with Sertraline. Generally, there’s usually no significant interaction between them, and many people can safely use them together. 

Commonly used decongestants are Pseudoephedrine and Phenylephrine, which are added to a number of formulations (1). 

However, there could be multiple ingredients in such formulations and it is important to read the labels before taking any medication along with Sertraline (2). 

It is also important to know that everyone’s body can respond differently to medications and some people can have underlying health conditions affecting their health. So even though this combination is generally considered safe, it might not be safe for everyone. 

What are the potential risks of taking decongestants with Sertraline?

While not many side effects are commonly reported with the combined use of decongestants and Sertraline, here are some considerations you should be aware of, especially if you have certain health conditions. One important thing to note is the possibility of palpitations or irregular heartbeats. 

This can be a concern, especially for people who have pre-existing arrhythmia or a condition called QT prolongation. Decongestants have the potential to cause these irregular heartbeats, and when combined with Sertraline, which can also affect heart rhythms, it can be risky (3). 

Furthermore, decongestants can sometimes increase blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure or other heart issues, this increase in blood pressure can be problematic (3). 

So, as a general rule, individuals with conditions like arrhythmia, QT prolongation, or high blood pressure should avoid combining decongestants with Sertraline unless their doctor specifically advises otherwise.

What common cold and flu medications should be avoided with Sertraline?

Some common cold and flu medications should be avoided with Sertraline. Most of them are generally safe, but there’s one important exception to be aware of: Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant. 

Dextromethorphan and Sertraline both have the potential to affect serotonin levels in the brain. When taken together, they can increase the risk of a rare but very dangerous condition known as serotonin syndrome (4,5). 

This risk might be dose-dependent, meaning it could vary depending on the amounts you take. However, since people’s responses to medications can differ, it’s generally not worth the risk of combining them without specific guidance from a doctor. 

On the other hand, medications like Mucinex and Tylenol are typically safe to take with Sertraline. These medicines don’t interact with Sertraline, so they can be used to relieve cold and flu symptoms without major concerns. 

However, it’s advisable to avoid over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like Ibuprofen when you’re on Sertraline. Sertraline and NSAIDs can both have blood-thinning effects and may contribute to gastrointestinal issues (6). 

Combining them can increase the risk of stomach problems and bleeding, so it’s best to choose alternatives like Tylenol for pain and fever relief.

Is there any remedy that can help you with congestion?

There are some non-pharmacological remedies to manage congestion, which can be particularly helpful when your symptoms are not too severe. These include: 

  • Steam inhalation from a bowl of hot water can help loosen mucus and relieve congestion.
  • Staying well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and broths, can help thin mucus and make it easier to clear.
  • Using a saline nasal spray or a neti pot can help flush out mucus and alleviate nasal congestion.
  • Using a humidifier in your room can add moisture to the air, which can soothe irritated nasal passages and ease congestion.
  • Applying a warm compress to your forehead and nose can provide relief by improving blood circulation and reducing congestion.
  • Spicy foods, like hot peppers, can temporarily relieve congestion by causing your nose to run. However, use this with caution if you have a sensitive stomach.
  • Try to stay away from irritants like tobacco smoke and strong odours, as they can worsen congestion.

These remedies can often provide relief for mild congestion without the need for medication. However, if your symptoms worsen or persist, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional.


In this article, we have discussed the concomitant use of decongestants and Sertraline. We have also discussed some medications that should not be paired with Sertraline and some home remedies that can help you with congestion without the use of any medication.

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