Old 02-11-2013, 06:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 16
Question about nasal sprays

Afrin, etc., tell you in the directions to use no more than 2 or 3 days, because it may worsen your problem. I understand that, basically. What I don't understand is when can I start them again. They don't tell you. If I only use a nasal spray, such as Afrin, once a day for 3 days, and then stop, when may I start another 3 day regimen? Thanks to anybody who understands and can help.
Old 02-11-2013, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,496
I've been trying to find out the answer to this for years. It's the one time pharmacists have failed me. The best information I've gotten is that the half life of ocymetazoline is 165 hours. That means it takes almost a week (about 6.5 days) for half of the ocymetazoline to be metabolized out of your system. Another week for half of the remainder. Another week for half of that remainder. And so on.

In practical terms, no one can really tell me what this means. My own experience is that three days for a single cold is it. I try to put it off for as long as possible and only use it when I truly need to be functional. In the meantime, I do lots of fluids and the neti-pot as long as I can stand it (but I'm still of the neti-pot=waterboarding frame of mind. It's an emotional torture.) I won't even let myself look at Afrin for another month.

I have gotten hooked on Afrin by pushing it too far. 5 days of sweet sweet relief and a month of miserable rebound oh-my-god-I'm-dying congestion. People who do get hooked and quit cold turkey report "a few weeks" of misery. Most people can't stand it and end up using it again during that month, and that just delays the process some more. If it's super bad, some doctors will give you some predisone to help you quit the Afrin habit.

If you regularly need it, talk to your doctor about other better long term treatments, like a neti pot, saline spray, oral decongestants or even something like Flonase.
Old 02-11-2013, 07:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 16

Thanks for the frank reply. That would explain why I've been having so much trouble getting an answer to this.
Old 02-11-2013, 07:38 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Aussie
Posts: 1,784
When I was having really severe sinus problems and using this http://drixine.com.au/ my specialist recommended 3 days on them 3 days off. He suggested I could use a different type of nose spray in the 3 days off - this one specifically http://chemistwarehouse.com.au/product.asp?id=6019

That's all I know about it.
Old 02-11-2013, 07:52 PM
Graphite is a great
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Akron, Ohio
Posts: 25,546
Since this is kinda a medical/opinion thread, let's go to IMHO.


Last edited by samclem; 02-11-2013 at 07:53 PM.
Old 02-12-2013, 01:29 AM
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 2,363
For 20 years, I couldn't breathe through my nose very well. One nostril would be stopped up, then 2 hours later it was clear, but the other was closed. Afrin would definitely clear me up, but of course the rebound is always a bitch.

I finally got fed up, took a friend's advice and had surgery. I had my deviant deviated septum squared away, and turbinate reduction as well. Basically, the doc carved out a bigger tunnel for my breathing. It took me a month to stop crying from the joy I felt of actually breathing again.

Hie yourself to an ENT - no, not the tree - and let him have a look.
I tried Flonase, and many other prescription sprays to achieve an open airway, but nothing ever worked. YMMV, but only your doc can tell you for sure.

Good Luck!
Old 02-12-2013, 01:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 26,876
my deviated septum surgery didn't go so well. The tissue grew back in a sort of odd way. If I blow my nose really hard it folds over and blocks one side. It also created a blood flow problem in the tip of my nose and for years afterwards it would get infected. That seems to have gone away.

I have a lot of trouble with a stuffed nose. Particularly at night. currently I'm trying what appears to be a damn strange technique to unstuff it and it seems to work. even with a cold I can still breath through my nose. I was drugged up the day before because of the cold and today my nose has been relatively open the entire day. Not as open as using nose spray but open enough to breath normally. If it's consistent I'll post the technique.

Last edited by Magiver; 02-12-2013 at 02:01 AM.
Old 02-12-2013, 11:35 AM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,342
I take Flonase daily, one spray per nostril. Sometimes I supplement that with Afrin but again, just one spray in whichever nostril needs it. Not the two-three sprays twice a day recommended on the bottle.

For those rebounding, my father got off it by stopping the dose in one nostril but continuing the other one so he'd have one free nostril. So one side eventually cleared and then he stopped dosing the other one. I had to get on Flonase to manage my rebound.
Old 02-12-2013, 01:12 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: San Jose
Posts: 33,756
My Doctor said “throw that bottle away and never use it again”. So the answer is "never".

I use saline spray & Fluticasone, aka Flonase. I also use Olba’s drug free nose tubes.
I am not a real Doctor
Old 02-12-2013, 06:53 PM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1
AFAIK, pseudoephedrine has no rebound congestion. Sprays can get addicting because they work almost too well - you can benefit from the unimpeded air flow even when you are perfectly healthy.. whereas pseudoephedrine tends to alleviate congestion just enough that it isn't distracting.
Old 02-12-2013, 10:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,843
Almost all of the nasal decongestant sprays use oxymetazoline. These have the worst rebounds.

There is another type of OTC nose spray that use phenylephrine (sold under the brand name of neo-synephrine in the US). It does not last as long (4 hours), but it does not have quite as strong of a rebound.

Phenylephrine can also be taken orally (it is commonly used in things like NyQuil to replace psuedoephedrine), but I don't think it does a darn thing this way. Others agree.

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