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Nasal Spray Addiction 2


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Nasal Spray Addiction


My name is Sarah and I am writing with regard to a forthcoming programme on unusual addictions for Channel 4.

We are very eager to cover addiction to nasal sprays or other over the counter drugs in the programme and to provide a platform for comment on this often hidden problem, particularly after having read some of the stories on this site and having heard from some of you.

Consequently, I would be very interested to hear from anyone currently suffering from this addiction who is on a personal journey, and who would like to talk about the effect it has had on their life.

If you would like to get involved or require further information please e-mail me or visit addiction.me.uk (All responses will be treated sensitively and in confidence)

I look forward to hearing from you

  sarah2005 on 2005-06-10
This is just a forum. Assume posts are not from medical professionals.
Hi Sarah

My name is Kelly and I have been using sinus sprays for about 2 years constantly now. I have to use them about four times a day and often wake up during the night unable to breathe. My GP does not semm to be concerned even though on the back of the packaging it advises you not to use for more than 7 days. i do feel I have an addiction and one that has not been taken seriously. I have tried to come off them myself but always semm to give back in as I am unable to breathe.

I hope this is of some help to you and I look froward to hearing from you shortly.

kellydanks last decade
I recently helped several people with Nasal Spray Addiction but each case was different.

If you give some detail about your case or just any case, we may move forward from that point.
kuldeep last decade
Recently 2 friends who were using nasal sprays tried the Rescue Remedy spray (Bach Flower remedy) whenever they had to use the nasal spray & found it to be very effective . The dependance on nasal sprays (they say) seems to have reduced. I hope this info would help you.
willway last decade
Hello all,

I just registered this moment to post about this subject. I keep the brand name hidden in case any web admins are afraid of lawsuits. I was using A---- Sinus Spray for about two months until two days ago when I read an article about addiction.

I figured that my sinus congestion was becoming more frequent and serious because my construction project has mold issues, but it is simply too much of a coincidence that the symptoms were identical to what I've read about nasal spray addiction - those being that after I used it just a bit too long, my nasal passages would swell up faster and harder, and hence I would need the spray more, and hence my nasal passages would swell up even faster and even harder, and so on and so forth.

So two days ago I went cold turkey and in just three hours, my sinuses were sealed shut - completely. I've tried to use alternative methods to ease the problem since, such as a homeopathic sinus spray, Sudafed OTC sinus congestion medicine, and Vicks VaporRub. Nothing seems to be helping - the VaporRub probably doesn't work because I can't breathe in the fumes.

I would very much appreciate any specific comments on what to use to beat the symptoms, and how long I can expect them to last. I'm so tired from lack of sleep - it's horrible.


jackrabbitslim last decade
I just came across the last post and registered as fast as I could. I can only hope that your problem has been remedied by now, but I'll continue just in case.

I can definitely empathize with the unbelievable discomfort of the rebound conjestion caused by nasal spray withdrawal. It is severe! I have been off of the spray for 1.5 weeks so far and have had almost no difficulty. Had I known this to be the case, I would have quite years ago. I used different brands (but same chemical makeup) of nasal spray for over 20 years. Yes 20!

About 1.5 months ago I started having complexion problems. Something I had believed for 3 years to be per-oral dermatitis (look it up to get a better understanding). My skin would tend to break out around the same time every year and was bad for a few months, then clear up. This most recent episode was more severe than all the rest and I by chance began to wonder if there may be a link between the nasal spray I had been using for ages and the state of my skin. You know....inflamation of the skin.....inflammation of the sinuses. Whos knows?

I decided to go cold turkey, very much afraid of the congestion I was sure to come. Several months prior I had planned to get off the spray and talked to my Primary Care Physician about it. He perscribed Nasonex, a corticosteroid nasal spray for this purpose. He also informed me that Nasonex takes about a week to start working, so I would still be pretty uncomfortable for about a week. This knowledge is what kept me from starting.

Well, when I was completely fed up with my complexion, I decided the time was right, stopped the bad spray, started the Nasonex and added some Actifed (oral decongestant and antihistamine). Aside from the decongestant disrupting sleep a bit, I have had almost NO rebound congestion! I only used the Actifed for a few days, also using Nasonex 1x/day, every day. Now I only use the Nasonex and have very few problems. I may get a little stuffy when I sleep, but only one nostril. I suppose that is what normal people deal with on a daily basis anyway. On the aside, within 24 hours of stopping the bad spray, my skin was noticeably less inflamed and continues to heal

To anyone who is attempting to quit......DO IT. This particular substance is very damaging. It acts on the sinuses and the heart like speed. It can eat away your sinus passages, rupture your septum and damage your heart, making it work much too hard. This has all been verified by and Ear Nost and Throat Specialist.

Talk to your Primary Care Physician about a corticosteroid nasal spray for allergies and try some over-the-counter decongesant/antihistamine for a few days. It will help ease the symptons until the steroid spray kicks in.

Please don't hesitate to ask any questions if I can be of any help.

mightymousecc last decade
The worse addiction I have ever had was to nasal spray. Fortunately, a pharmacist spoke to me about it as I was naively buying yet another bottle. I recall it took about 3 very unpleasant weeks for the symptoms to fully subside.

I thought maybe over the decades the formulation had changed. I tried it again during my last bad cold. I rebounded within 20 hours!

Never again!
Daisy43 last decade
Update from previous post above (I'm Ian).

Well, going cold turkey wasn't fun, but it worked. In about four days my nose was pretty much back to normal.

Although, my left nostril still closes up just a little sometimes, even a month later. And at night it will sometimes seal. I am able to relieve it by shifting my head to face the other way while sleeping to "transfer" the conjestion between my nostrils (like we all do sometimes I assume).

So, there's still a little hold out. I hope I didn't damage myself.


jackrabbitslim last decade
Hello All!

I came across this forum after entering a search in google for nasal spray addictions. I am 28 and have been using Afrin and its off brands since I was in Elementary school. In elementary it was always managed by my parents who would only allow me to use it on and off in accordance to the recommended dosages. As I got older I still battled on and off with nasal and sinus congestion, and became heavily addiction to Afrin and it's off brands. I have always used them on and off. However, for the past six years I have gotten so bad to where I use it every two hours. If I don't use it my nasal passages close and become sealed shut. It is the most uncomfortable thing. I feel like I can't get enough oxygen into my lungs and I can't swallow and breath when I eat with my nasal passages sealed shut like that. I told my primary care doctor about this addiction. He said to stop using the spray and put me on Flonase. I tried using Flonase alone for a week, and still my nasal passages were sealed shut. Unable to stand the discomfort, I went right back to the Afrin. My husband's co-worker told him about a case where her sister-in-law had been using over the counter nasal sprays for 20 years and had to have surgery. During the surgery they had to actually cut out a portion of her nose bc it had literally burned away from the nasal sprays.

I am thinking of going to see an Ear Nose and Throat Specialist to see what kind of help he can provide.

I am curious to know though, the long term effects of this addiction other than permanently damaging your nose.
theresecru last decade
Hi, Im new here but I dealt with my nasal spray addiction for 6 years. Its the kinda thing you just dont want to ask anyone for help on. But I did and after trying all of the RX drugs prescribed by my doctor I had given up hope-nothing worked and I was still forced to go everywhere with a little white bottle of that stuff. One night I was just thinking about how hard the whole "Cold Turkey" thing would be and I came up with my own Idea- I went out the next day and bought a brand new bottle of Afrin and a bottle of plain old saline solution, I went home and dumped the bottle of Afrin out into a measuring cup (clear cup)I dumped exactly half of the Afrin out into the sink. I then refilled the measuring cup back to the original level with the saline Solution. It seemed to work just as well wuth a diluted dose of Afrin. The next week I did the same thing only I dumped out more of the original Afrin into the sink and refilled more of the saline. And honestly it wasnt a month of this and it was all saline. and I didnt need the Afrin anymore. There was no doctor that told me this method and I would suspect there is no doctor that will tell you either. Simple math-your body gets used to less and less every week just like the smokers chewing their nicotine gum. It worked for me Hopefully it will work for you---Good Luck------JJ
JasonJ last decade
I dealt with the problem the same way as the previous post. Dilute with a saline solution and keep diluting.

I used nasal spray for over 30 years. It was turning into a life-time addiction but by diluting it, I was free of it within a month.
I wish I'd thought of it years ago.
delta last decade
Hi, I am a former nasal spray addict. Ive went off nasal sprays cold turkey but have suffered ever since. Ive tried saline nasal sprays, heck my doctor prescribes me Flonase and Ive also tried the other popular alergy nasal spray with no success. What I am not reading is... what are the long term side effects of using nasal spray once or perhaps twice a day. I am so ready to go back to using regular nasal sprays. I have been fighting this stuffy nose now for over 20 years. And I dont want a surgen cutting inside my nose.
EccentRick last decade
I did not visit this thread till today and am concerned that many who have posted are dependent on a Nasal Spray as they have no alternative if they wish to keep their nostrils open especially when in bed.

I have often been faulted by the classical school of homeopaths for suggesting remedies without a full case taking but in this case I decided to brave their comments to suggest a remedy which I believe can help to open up blocked nostrils.

The remedy that I recommend is Gelesmium 30c in the wet dose and a teaspoonful can be taken 3 times daily with the last dose just before sleep. Gels usually opens up a blocked nose in about 10 minutes and if it does so in the case of a user in this time it is the remedy of choice and can be used safely for about a week.

Please note that the bottle must be succussed before a teaspoonful is sipped.
Joe De Livera last decade
I too have been a sufferer over the past 20 years of nasal sprays off and on. To combat the 'detox period' I can it. It is simple (for me anyway)
I detox 1 nostril at a time. I will spray less and less in one nostril just enough to get me by but the other I continue as normal.
Then I stop on Nostril A and just less and less in nostril B until Nostril A is clear and good (and it will be)
Then stop Nostril B completely and winthin 2-3 days I am fine with no anxiety attacks for not being able to breath.
I am someone who has one in every room, every vehcile and pocket and purse, I have definitly been addicted. Now it is much simpler to get through a tough period.
ldysportsbuff last decade
I posted earlier about having a once was addiction. But ask yourself this... Are you still suffering clogged sinuses? Ive been prescribed the usual alergy sprays with little success and saline doesnt do much either. So lets ask... What is a good nasal spray that isnt addicting? Better yet... what are the known negative side effects to being addicted to nasal spray for life? Is it perhaps no worse than having to drink a cup of coffee a day or a coke or pepsi a day? If not then I say... let my nasally challeged people breath freely. And as far as this addiction thingy? People with long term usage please let me know what your side effects are. Other than breating freely. And how many times a day used. Thanks
EccentRick last decade
I suspect everyone with nasal spray addition has felt like they've personally glimpsed the end of the world! I know I have....I had an initial injury while working as a photographer for an R&D company and asked them to ventilate the darkroom for three years. They didn't, and the result was enlarged turbinates for me. Despite two surgeries, nasal spray provided the only relief. I have reached a point where my chest feels like I have an anvil on it since I can't breathe through my nose, and I really do have a hard time trying to breathe through my mouth. This afternoon, I realized the spray wasn't helping at all, and now I'm reading through these posts to glean some insight from other people with problems. Well, I'm into not having used nose spray for a few hours, and I'm miserable. But...
The suggestion about mixing Afrin with saline is actually the approach taken by a company which markets its own product (unfortunately, their product didn't work for me). I have performed nasal irrigation twice a day for years and find it to be less and less effective. I have, like others here, grown increasingly worried about the effect spray has on my blood pressure, which has historically been low, but I suspect is now creeping up.
Does anyone have any suggestions about dealing with the panic attack piece of this puzzle? I absolutely freak out when I can't breathe through my nose, and this just makes things worse. Also, with my nose completely shut off, sleeping is all but impossible. As a result, I'm sleep deprived.
Numerous medications have been prescribed to me since my initial surgery in 1998, and none have really had any lasting effect. I do plan on trying some of the suggestions in this forum, but would certainly be open to any other comments/observations.
One other comment of possible significance here: my brother used nasal spray for many more years than I have, and he developed an inverted pabaloma cyst (sorry if spelling is wrong). Two years ago, I found out I have a small cyst that's formed in one of my sinus cavities, and the thought it would be the result of nose spray usage scared me.
Freezframe last decade

You are missing the point in awesome fashion. The point is that if used for too long (only a week or so), some of these sprays start being the cause of the conjestion instead of the cure.

Listen, these sprays are really good for the relief of temporary conjestion. But if you use it too long (for even just a week), then your body will start to compensate for the effect by closing up your nostrils when the effects wear off. Therefore, the nasal spray becomes the CAUSE of the conjestion while at the same time being the only way to relieve it!

And the more you use it for relief, the faster and tighter your nostrils will contract in response, and therefore the more you will use it to get relief, etc. It's a downward spiral.

And we're not talking about once per day like a cup of coffee. We're talking about once per hour or worse and waking up at night just to snort it so you can sleep.

And the negative side effects? Well, besides spending a ton of money on this expensive spray and carrying around a bottle of it in your pocket all the time, how about the principle of not being a drug addict?
jackrabbitslim last decade
I have been addicted to nasal spray for over 18 years now and it has become a natural thing to use just as if I were to apply chap stick. However, I have had many physical problems and psychological problems throughout my life and I am thinking perhaps it links to nasal spray. I do not have an addictive personality but I have been using nasal spray since I was 7. I do not drink, smoke nor do drugs yet this spray is one thing that I cannot stop. It has gotten to a point that I ask myself why stop. I hope there is a solution to this problem.
ayco123 last decade
Well, I've been addicted to this for about 3 years. I usually bought a generic brand of A---n at a large drug store chain because it had more per bottle.

I thought the same way as many other people. I thought that since I had given up smoking and drinking that it wouldn't hurt for me to hold onto one addiction. I thought that way until just the other day....

On Friday, I noticed that my nose wasn't clearing up no matter how much spray I used. When i woke up Saturday, I had trouble breathing and was completely unable to breath through my nose. I couldn't eat or drink anything because it would make me choke.

So then, I went to the urgent care clinic, at which point I was seen by an Ear Nose and Throat specialist. He examined me and told me that it appeared that my septum had eroded and that more damage was probably highly likely. He said that this wasn't terribly uncommon among nasal spray users and that it looked almost exactly like coke users noses. The doctor told me that the nasal spray was a minor stimulant and eroded away at the nasal cavities and even the teeth the same way that coke does.

I was given a steroid shot to help for the next couple weeks, however I will be needing surgery to reconstruct my septum and other parts of my nose in the near future.

Funny thing is, my mom's a nurse and told me this would happen, but I didn't believe her. It's definately not the worst thing that's happenned to me, however it is terribly discomforting.
northdormdemigod last decade
I have been addicted to nasal sprays for over 30 years, using them just at night in order to be able to sleep. This all started when I developed allergies as a teen.

I have quit in the past only to get back on them. I haven't used them in the last month.

In order to beat the problem I have had an injection of Cortisone from my doctor to help with the rebound congestion from the sprays. I have also been using Rhinocort, a prescription cortisone nasal spray. I have also been using 12 hour or 24 hour Sudafed and Zyrtec antihistamine.

I take the 12 hour Sudafed at about 7 PM so it lasts through the night or the 24 hour Sudafed at about 3 PM (I use this when my allergies are really bothering me).

This multiple therapy has really helped me kick this addiction. I don't have the urge to even try them again.

If you are using them all day everyday, try the Sudafed instead of the sprays. Its a decongestant and helps with the stuffiness in the nose. Combined with an anithistamine such as prescriptions Zyrtec or over the counter Claritan should help.
dzfromny last decade
How do I unsubscribe from this site?
EccentRick last decade
Hi All:

I have never had any allergies in my life, until recently. In April 2006, for some reason, I started having problems with constant sneezing, eyewatering, and a chronic stuffy nose. To make a long story short, I started using a brand name nasal spray which is intended for the relief of Allergic Congestion. And it seemed to work great. However, my symptoms didn't seem to subside as I hoped they would, and I kept on relying on this spray, increasingly. Fast forward 2 more months, and I eventually went to a doctor, as I was growing tired of the constant congestion and nasal voice that I have somehow grown accustomed to. I requested to be referred to an allergist, so I could at least identify what it was that was setting off this problem. I told him of my constant use of a nasal spray to relieve the congestion. Well, he refused to send me to an Allergist, and just sent me off with a few samples of an oral antihistamine. Needless to say, it did nothing, and I kept on relying on the nasal spray, as it seemed to be the only thing that worked. By now, I have been using the spray for a straight 4 months and if I don't use it, my nose becomes so blocked that it feels as if it has been packed with concrete, to the point that I cannot even swallow properly because there is no air to escape from the nose as I do so. The more I try to blow my nose, the more it seems to get worse and close up. It has now gotten so bad, that I cannot sleep for more than 3 hours per night, as I have to breathe through my mouth as I sleep and keep waking up periodically with a sore, dry tongue as a result. My throat gets so dry that I now have a dry cough in the morning. I have read on here that some people have tried to wean themselves off of the spray by only using it in one nostril, until the dependancy wears off on that side. I have done that for one week now, and have noticed no relief. This is affecting my job performance already, as I am getting such little sleep from this problem. Can anyone tell me how long this might take to work, or if not, offer me any other ways to get off this spray?
missdaisy last decade
Miss Daisy,
First of all go back to your doctor and insist upon seeing an Allergist or get a new doctor.
Read my post from a couple of days ago.

You can start with 12 or 24 hour Sudafed to relieve the stuffiness. If you have a runny nose, you can use Claritan.

It will normally take about 2 weeks for the 'rebound' stuffiness from the nasal sprays to go away.

An Allergist will be able to help treat the causes of your allergies. INSIST on seeing one or change primary physican's.

If you have any other questions you can email me directly. Just click on my profile.
dzfromny last decade
I made a post a few weeks ago about my problems with over using nasal sprays. I am happy to report that after 3 weeks of weaning myself off of it by only using the spray in one nostril, that I am finally seeing results! It seemed to take forever, but I finally have one clear, fully functional nostril. So now I think that I can finally try to cease using the spray at all! I just wanted to let anyone who comes on here, experiencing what I did that if you try this method, that eventually it will work! I am not one hundred percent better yet, but at least I am now able to sleep better, and that makes all the difference in the world. I just want express that I am grateful for coming across this forum and reading the advice of those who had experienced this, and reading their advice. One thing for sure is that I will never, ever use a nasal spray again!

Thanks Everyone!
missdaisy last decade
Just try washing your nose, using NasalCare. This is a drug free device that washes away substances that causes the congestion. Many patients have benefited from it. you can contact me for details. or go to nasalcleanse dot com.
nasalcleanse last decade
I was PRESCRIBED decongestant nasal spray for my seasonal allergies by my doctor from the age of 9 to age 18, until at an appointment to review my medication my doctor said 'Ugh, you should have never been prescribed this for long term use, and it has now been removed from the market'. Amazingly I at the end of most summers, I was able to come off the nose spray, but I am still incredibly angry that I was given it each year (and as much as I wanted) for long term use.

Needles to say, by the time they removed it from my prescription I was addicted, and needed to use it throughout the year starting from the summer of 2003, so I began buying it over the counter.

Although I have tried before and been unsuccessful, I went 'cold turkey' 3 days ago, as I am flying next week and have been advised that I may not take non essential (non prescription) liquid medication on to the airplane for my 10 hour flight. The idea of no nasal spray for 10 hours scared the heck out of me, so I decided to try and wean myself off it before my flight thinking it should be easier as it is the end of the allergy season.

I began only spraying in to one nostril, and found that the one I was not spraying in to was surprisingly clear, so I gave up altogether and now have been free for 3 days. I know this is only the beginning, but I an happy to report it has not been half as bad as I thought it would be. I am taking oral decongestants and I have only experienced a bit of congestion in one nostril, which I have been able to live with. This is the furthest I have ever got with giving up, so I hope I can be free from now on.

Sorry that got long, just wanted to share my experience.
sstarl last decade

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