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Nasal Spray Addiction 2


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Nasal Spray Addiction Page 2 of 11

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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
I was so relieved to find a forum like this...actually disheartening to know others dealt with the same horrible situation, but nice to know I wasn't the only one.
I used 4-Way spray (contains Phenylephrine Hydrochorlide)back in 2004 - and being diabetic, was very careful to read the directions and follow them. It seemed that in just a day or two, I was already to the point where I HAD to spray, to breath. It's now 3+ years later.
I smoked for 25 years, and then quit several years ago, and believe it or not, I think this will be MUCH worse.
My biggest problems are:

*Poor sleep - up several times a night to spray and blow - spray and blow.

*Carrying it around in a pocket or briefcase - making sure it's always close by. Wears me out!

*The dry, rashy area around my nostril openings - dry, sore, etc where the spray sometimes comes in contact. It's ugly and annoying. If it's affecting that skin so bad, I can only imagine what's going on the INSIDE.

*I am concerned with being unconscience and getting medical help - or - having surgery and not being able to breath during it. I assume I have to tell the doctors everything so they'll know, but truth is, they don't know that much about it either.

*VERY upset with postings like the recent one I see where we are told to 'just clean out the nose with a spray to remove the particles that cause conjestion'.
There's nothing that saline spray, or other 'cleansers' are going to do to keep the passageways from swelling up. They are addicted to a chemical. Period.

However, with that said, I am thinking that perhaps trying the mixtures of saline with 4-way may help...like wiening my way off of it slowly. At least trying will be good.

Being addicted, to anything, can actually cause depression. It's like I said about smoking when I quit...I knew they controlled me...not me controlling them. That's when I knew I had to quit.

Also - because of my diabetes, and recent reports of higher blood pressure, I am wondering if this is affecting me in other ways. I KNOW it created a problem with dental care last year - the dentist confirmed that with the x-rays. Sinus pressures were making them more sensitive.
Also, I am now having more and more problems with watery, burning eyes.

NONE of these were issues before using a spray.

Why did companies create bottles so big, if you're only suppossed to use them for 4-5 sprays?
They know exactly what they are doing.

Thanks for letting me vent.
AtlantaDavid last decade
I've been hooked on nasal spray for about 7 years. It's been horrible. The doctor tried me on the steroids with allergy medicine. Didn't work, so I went back the the nasal sprays. AtlantaDavid mentioned a fear of being put under for surgery...Well, when I had my last child, I got my tubes tied and they put me under. I hadn't used my nasal spray and when I came to, I couldn't breath through my nose at all and, because they used the tube down my throat, my chest was congested and I could barely breath through my mouth. I thought I was going to die.

Side effects have been hard. My nostrils and sinuses burn and bleed. I have sores on the inside of my nose. I get sinus infections all the time. My septum is becoming more deviated. I swear, I actually see my nose changing appearance! I really can't stand it anymore. I'm tired of panicking when I can't find my bottle of spray. I feel like a total drug addict when I'm crawling on the floor looking under my bed in a state of panic because I can't find it. It's embarassing. I'm glad I found this forum and other people who know how I feel.

I think I'm going to try weaning myself off with the one nostril at a time thing. If that doesn't work, I'll try diluting it.

Hey AtlantaDavid...wanna join me in the kicking of this addiction!!!??!! We can do it!!
Gruss last decade
I would encourage AtlantaDave and Gruss to try to stop using the sprays as soon as possible. I was addicted for over 35 yrs.

I recently quit with the help of 12 hour Sudafed and the prescription spray Rhinocort. Rhinocort is a cortisone spray and doesn't have the negative effects of the over the counter sprays.

Just make up your mind and do it. If you need support or encouragement let me know.
dzfromny last decade

I was so pleased to see some reaction and reply to my comments today. I appreciate them.
For Gruss, I like that you are motivated like me, to 'end the madness' and come to terms once and for all with this bizarre addiction.
I can't help it...I smiled when I read the part about you crawling around on the floor by the bed looking for the spray...because we've all had something similar happen. I always get up...walk to the bathroom, and spray, because of not wanting to wake up my partner. Of course, the light, the movement, the spraying, the blowing, etc does anyway.
I thought too about driving - steering with the left hand while searching with the right hand in my briefcase - feeling my way around looking for that little white bottle.
Oh...and does anyone keep the old bottles in a bathroom drawer...because they most likely have 2-3-4 or so 'blasts of freedom' remaining in them? You know...just in case you need them??? Talk about dependence!

I always think...what if they stop making this stuff? What will I do? At least I'll have a couple day's supply in here.


Doing this with help, and knowing someone else is dealing with the same issues will prove, I'm sure, to be very helpful.

Gruss and dzfromny...I appreciate your offers of support

When I actually quit, I will plan to be here every day to report.
That will be soon. I want to pick a day within the next 10-12 days and get psychologically ready.
School begins next week, hand surgery will be discussed with the Dr. next week, etc. I just need a little more time.

Thanks again for replying and best of luck with this mess...

AtlantaDavid last decade
You are doing it the right way. I have been to doctors who simply said stop doing it. Its not that easy. You have to be mentally prepared. I picked a long weekend when I knew I could afford to lose sleep.

I took my Rhinocort and some 12 hours Sudafed and it was much easier than I thought it would be. But you have to be prepared.

I still use a saline spray occassionally because my sinuses get dry. Good Luck
dzfromny last decade
Hey all,

Well, yesterday I tried weaning one side of my nose off the spray. Holy heck, was that a nightmare! I was fine during the day, but when I went to bed, I sprayed the other side and put on my breath right nasal strip (those things are awesome), I was able to breath fine out of the side I sprayed. Needless to say, the other side was closed shut tight. I fell asleep, but then woke up with my heart racing and feeling physically sick. I'm not sure if it was an anxiety attack or part of the side effects of trying to quit. I ended up caving in and using it. So, now I'm going to try the thing that a previous poster did. I'm going to start diluting it. I think that might be more managable for me.

David, yes I do keep those bottles with 2 or 3 sprays in them...you know, for emergencies ;)

dzfromny, thanks for the suggestions. Wow, 35 years and you quit! That is inspiring. That helps me feel more positive that I can do it to!!
Gruss last decade
That was a panic attack in the middle of the night. People don't understand the feeling of relief one gets from the sprays.

The 12 hour Sudafed should help the stuffiness when not taking the sprays. I take it a couple of hours before bedtime. The Sudafed itself might make you restless but its worth the risk. I'm still taking it in order to sleep at night. I've had some nights where sleep was tough but it worth it.

Get a prescription for Rhinocort also. It takes a couple of weeks to kick in but it will also help the stuffiness that comes from the rebound of the nasal sprays.
dzfromny last decade
HI you guys. I just checked in, and decided to write real quick.
I'm proud of you for trying the 'one sided approach' Gruss. I bet you could try it again, and it may prove to be easier next time. I may try it for a day (wake up to bed time) and see what it's like.

Also, I've been wondering if it makes sense to just get rid of ALL the sprays, when trying to quit. If I know there's some around, I have a feeling I will resort to spraying at some point. Perhaps I'll throw away all the old bottles, and just have one newer one around. At some point, I figure I'll have to face a day or night without a spray bottle around.

This sounds like we're crazy! I'm amazed they make something like this.

Can you all tell that I am disgusted by a business that would create a product that is soooooo addictive, and then make NO effort to take corrective action for those who get hooked?

I called the 1800 number on the bottle - she ended up with my name, phone, etc, and basically told me I 'obviously went past the 3 day warning'. 'we suggest you talk to your doctor to see if he can help you with this'.

AtlantaDavid last decade

rhinocort is non-addictive? Is that also for allergies? I have wicked allergies.


thanks for being proud of me :) but, I did fail :( I'm going to try the diluting thing. I think one of my main problems is the pressure and pain I feel in my nose and head if I don't use it and also my mouth drying out. And my deviated septum! I hate that! As far as the 800 number..they probably don't even use their own product because they know how addictive it is. But I agree with you: they should really look into corrective action. The tobacco companies did. Granted, cig smoking is much worse since it can kill you, but you get what I'm saying ;)
Gruss last decade
Hi, my name is Hilary and I am also trying to the the one side nose spray to get off of this afrin and I hope its going to work cause you see am all most 6 mounths pregnant and and haveing a hard time getting off of this afrin I called my doctor all he can give was antibiotic but nothing for my nose but afrin and now I can't get off the stuff so I call back my doctor and now all he wants to give me is some saline spay and sudafed and if that don't work he says try claritin and you know what i tryed all 3 and nothing is helping so today i am trying the one side of my nose to spray and hopes this works cause i don't know what els to do if any one dosr please let me know thanks
hilary821 last decade

Try the one sided for a while but eventually you'll have to give it up completely. Ask your doctor for a prescription for Rhinocort or Flonase. They are cortizone based nasal sprays that don't cause the problems of over the counter sprays.

I got frustrated with doctors that wouldn't take the problem seriously either. It may cost you a couple of nights of decent sleep but its worth it. The Rhinocort will take a week or so to start working but its worth it. I combined it with 12 hour sudafed to help get off the sprays. If you have a running nose also, thats when you take the Claritan. The Sudafed helps relieve the stuffiness.
dzfromny last decade
dzfromny thanks for the advice but is Rhinocort ok for me beinnig pregnant to take and so for its ben 3 days the Iam doing the one side and I can breath throught the side that I am not spraying but not for all day and today i started takeing Claritin D 12 Hour cause Sudafed just dont work on me and Monday I will call my Dr. to see if I can take it but i amkind of scared to call cause iam tryed of haering on you can't that
hilary821 last decade
Only your doctor will be able to tell you if its safe to take while pregnant. It stays in the nasal passages so I would doubt there would be a problem but I'm no doctor.

If you can breath through the side you aren't spraying try giving it up completely.

I have terrible sinuses so I needed much more help.
dzfromny last decade
Thats what I am planing to do if my dr. says that I can't take that nose spray are if there is nothing els i can take just to help me out with the other side

Thanks Hilary
hilary821 last decade
It will take a few days but the Claritan D should help.
dzfromny last decade
this is going to be my second day takeing claritin D
hilary821 last decade
I talk to the dr today and she said for me to keep doing what i am doing and to try use the Astelin again cause it should help but might take a couple days to start working so thats what i am going to do, wish me luck
hilary821 last decade
Its a Psychological addiction more than a physical one. The physical effects come from the rebound effect from overuse of the sprays. The sprays cause the stuffiness afer a while and you get into a vicious circle.

I used a spray in one nostril just at bed time off and on for 35 years. I used a lot of sudafed during the day for the rebound stuffiness. I've been off of them since July 4th weekend.

You will have some rough nights sleeping but its worth it to stay off those things. I don't want anyone turning out like me.
dzfromny last decade
tonite I am going to use the Astelin in broth sides in sted of the afrin you know last nite I told my husband that I am going to throw the afrin way so no one can get thier hands on it I no longer want it my house
hilary821 last decade
Hi all,

This past Thursday I went to see an acupuncturist. And guess what??? It worked. That night I followed her advice and took my allergy medicine, used my breath right nasal strips and a humidifier and I was actually able to sleep good. I had one side a little clogged, but the other side was completely clear! During the day I could pretty much breath with no problem. The accupuncture didn't completely solve the problem, but it helped ALOT! It is really helping me kick the habit. I haven't used the nasal spray since the night before my appointment. I used it 2 or 3 times per day for the past 7 1/2 years and now I'm totally done with it!!! I am so happy that I followed that route. I recommend it to anyone. It hurts very little. Once the needle is in, it doesn't hurt at all.
Gruss last decade
Great News Gruss. Keep it up. I never would have thought of accupuncture.

Hilary, I have to confess, I still have my spray but haven't used it in months. Maybe I'll toss it out tonight.
dzfromny last decade
Hi, all great news I am doing real good with the one side of afrin frist I did the left and now that is clear up almost it just get a little clogged but just a little and now i am doing the right side and so far so good Hilary
hilary821 last decade
Just keep it up Hilary, that's great news. Seeing you threw out the spray, I don't think you'll ever go back. Great job
dzfromny last decade
Hi, all guess what I have been afrin free for one day now and I feel great I can breath out broth sides now and last nite was a little bad but I did it and it feels good not to have to know were my afrin is caues its not even in the house any more and also just wanted to say if i can get off any one can cause i am 6 mounths pregnant and i can only take so little meds hilary
hilary821 last decade
Somebody please help me. I'm almost 8 months pregnant and cannot breathe with out afrin. how do i get off the stuff.
sun16 last decade

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