Decongestant Use Does Not Aggravate Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke, Study Finds

A recent study has found that the use of sympathomimetic decongestants does not aggravate the risk of stroke or myocardial infarction (MI) or commonly known as heart attack.

Photo: Myocardial Infarction (MI) | InStyleHealth


Experts performed a nested case-crossover studying 1,394 Myocardial Infarction (MI) patients and 1,403 stroke patients. Phone interviews were conducted to determine decongestant use in the 3 weeks before the cardiovascular event.


Eighty-nine percent of the participants have confirmed the use of decongestants in the 3 weeks leading up to their stroke or heart attack. Twenty-eight percent of the patients were exposed in the immediate week before the cardiovascular episode took place; these patients were considered to be at the highest risk of the effect of the decongestants.  On the other hand, 31 took decongestants 3 weeks before the cardiovascular event happened and were used as a reference for the study.


The possibility of stroke and heart attack was not significantly more likely to happen in patients who took decongestants immediately prior to the event, in comparison to the reference group.


Likewise, decongestant exposure had no significant impact on either stroke alone or in heart attacks alone. Odds were calculated using conditional logistic regression models, and adjusted for time-varying variables such as infections.


Classifying participants according to age, sex, and the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors did not alter the preliminary findings. Viewing at different subcategories of stroke similarly unveiled no significant impact of decongestant usage.


According to the researchers of this study, “Further research is recommended on elderly patients and those with hemorrhagic stroke, a difficult task given the low use of these drugs by the elderly and the necessity to interview patients for the study of over-the-counter drugs.”


For complete technical details of the study, click here...



Source: Sci Rep 2021;11:4160

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