Prolonged Use of Oxymetazoline Nasal Sprays

Prolonged use of oxymetazoline nasal sprays

We all know how effective nasal sprays are.

Most of us have used nasal sprays at some point in our lives. But not many people read the instructions given on the label while using any sprays.

Today we will be talking about oxymetazoline-based nasal sprays and what are the effects of prolonged use of these sprays.

Oxymetazoline is a nasal decongestant. It provides quick relief from a blocked nose. In fact, you might notice immediate relief after using oxymetazoline nasal spray. So can you use it for the long term?

The answer is NO

Did you know the label of oxymetazoline states that it shouldn’t be used for more than 3-5 days? Let’s see why we shouldn’t use oxymetazoline nasal spray for chronic use.

Before that, we will have to see how these sprays work.

As discussed, Oxymetazoline is a nasal decongestant. It shrinks the blood vessels in our nose. When our blood vessels are shrunk, there is enough space in our nose so we can breathe easily. Hence, we feel our blocked nose has been opened after using this spray.  

So why shouldn't we use it for the long term?

Side effects of oxymetazoline nasal sprays

As mentioned, these sprays shrink the blood vessels lining our nose. Prolonged use of this spray can cause:

  • Nasal bleeding due to rupturing of the blood vessels.
  • Prolonged use of oxymetazoline nasal spray may cause rebound nasal congestion, which means once you discontinue the spray, your congestion may come back but in a greater amount. Hence worsening your condition.
  • It can also cause a burning sensation in the nose and throat, nervousness, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate and blood pressure, blurred vision, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat, etc.
  • Oxymetazoline nasal spray should be used carefully in people with high blood pressure, high sugar levels (diabetes), heart problems, and women who are pregnant and breastfeeding.
  • Studies have shown that oxymetazoline nasal spray may cause cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) and central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) side effects such as agitation, anxiety, insomnia, convulsions, increased heart rate and vasoconstriction (narrowing or shrinking of the blood vessels), and increased blood pressure.

Note: Oxymetazoline-based sprays should not be used in children below 12 years.

So, next time you are using any nasal spray or any medicine for that matter, do read the label and follow the advice given by your doctor. Also, do not take any medicine without consulting a doctor.

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