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Review: a single dose of nasal decongestant reduces congestion in the short term in adults with the common cold; insufficient evidence exists on the effectiveness of repeated doses

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Q Are nasal decongestants effective for reducing the symptom of nasal congestion in adults and children with the common cold? Are adverse effects associated with use?


Embedded ImageData sources:

Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Cochrane Library, Issue 1, 2004), Medline (1996 to February 2004), EMBASE/Excerpta Medica (1996 to February 2004), Current Contents (February 2004), hand searches of review citations from other references, and contact with known principal investigators and pharmaceutical companies.

Embedded ImageStudy selection and assessment:

randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in any language that compared topical or oral single active nasal decongestants (aqueous spray, drops or dry powder, tablets, or capsules) with placebo (>12 patients/group) in adults or children who had the common cold …

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  • For correspondence: Dr D Taverner, Internal Medicine, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.

  • Source of funding: Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, Australia.