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What is the Best Way to get Rid of Sinus Drainage in the Throat?

By Deborah Walker
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Preventative measures and medication are among the best ways to handle sinus drainage in the throat. It may be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications and self-care measures. OTC antihistamines can dry up the drainage and decongestants thin the mucus and reduce swelling in the nasal membranes; these are available in pill and spray formulations. Prescription antihistamine or steroid nasal sprays lessen the production of mucus and decrease swelling. Self-care measures such as daily nasal washes and removing environmental triggers may also help fight sinus drainage in the back of the throat.

Chlorpheniramine is one OTC antihistamine that works to dry up sinus drainage at the back of the throat. OTC decongestants such as pseudoephedrine thin mucus, making it easier to cough up or blow out of the nose. Combination antihistamine and decongestant medications are generally available without a prescription for people who need both types of drugs but want to take as few pills as possible.

OTC nasal sprays may be employed when drainage is at its worst, but they should not be used regularly. Regular use promotes what is known as the rebound effect. This effect actually causes the body to produce more mucus, which may make sinus drainage in the throat worse.

Prescription antihistamine nasal spray, such as azelastine, is designed to address allergic reactions that lead to mucus in the throat. Ipratropium bromide is another prescription antihistamine that may help clear the nasal passages and sinuses. Sometimes, a medical professional will prescribe a steroid nasal spray. The steroid spray reduces inflammation, but does not do so immediately. It can take weeks or months of consistent application before the desired effects are noticeable.

Nasal wash with a neti pot clears nasal passages and sinuses of mucus. Neti pots may be purchased off the shelf at many drug stores. They often come with several packets of saline wash that may be added to the water. Medical professionals may recommend a nasal wash once or twice per day depending upon the severity of symptoms.

Another self-care measure that may get rid of sinus drainage in the throat is assessing the environment and removing potential triggers. Dust, pet dander, or other environmental allergens may be at the root of sinus drainage. Keeping the home dusted, vacuumed, and/or using an air filter may significantly decrease postnasal drip.

A person with sinus drainage in the throat may find that a combination of medications and nasal washes gives the best results. Some allergists recommend that patients with postnasal drip use the nasal wash each night before using a steroid nasal spray. Many patients do very well with this multipronged approach to managing sinus drainage.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By shell4life — On Nov 16, 2012

@OeKc05 – Have you tried using an air purifier? Mine has helped me with my sinus problems when nothing else could.

I used to have problems with nasal drainage and congestion at night. Once I started using the air purifier, the air actually felt cleaner inside my nose, and I could sleep through the night.

One thing that can also help with the mucus in your throat is drinking plenty of water. It will thin the mucus out and wash it away.

By giddion — On Nov 15, 2012

I get sinus drainage and a sore throat when I have a cold. It usually starts with mucus in my throat, and then my throat starts to feel swollen.

Swallowing becomes unpleasant. Soon, the mucus isn't just draining into my throat anymore. It is pouring out of my nose at an alarming rate, and I have to stuff tissues up my nostrils to keep from flooding the room!

Antihistamines and decongestants are helpful when I am just dealing with allergies, but when I actually have a cold, they do nothing for me. It's as if the virus has rendered them totally ineffective.

By feasting — On Nov 15, 2012

Post-nasal drip is one of the symptoms of a sinus infection. This type of infection can be brought on by prolonged issues with allergies. I usually get sinus infections in the summer, because my allergies last all through the spring and irritate my nasal passages.

I always have to go get antibiotics from my doctor to clear the infection up. I waited about three months once, hoping it would clear up on its own, but it only got worse.

By OeKc05 — On Nov 14, 2012

I've been searching for a way to stop sinus drainage in my throat, but nothing I've done has worked. I use a daily antihistamine that is supposed to work for 24 hours, and I also take a 4-hour antihistamine at bedtime to help me breathe at night.

I have an air filter that is supposed to remove allergens, and I keep the place clean. I am too scared to try nasal washes, because I heard of one man getting some sort of brain illness from the water going up his nose.

I can't use decongestants, because they make my heart speed up and skip beats. I've even considered moving to Arizona, because I've heard that people there have the least amount of allergy problems of anyone in the United States!

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