Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Nasal Spray Addiction

  • Rhinitis Medicamentosa

  • How The Rhinostat Withdrawal System Can Help

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I have been addicted to Afrin or other nasal sprays for many years, how can Rhinostat possibly help me ?
What is the success rate using Rhinostat?
How did I become addicted to nasal spray?
How do physicians usually treat rhinitis medicamentosa?
What benefit does Rhinostat offer?
What is the basis for the Rhinostat System ?  How does it work ?
Why doesn't my doctor already know about Rhinostat?
How do I use the Rhinostat System ?
What if I have specific questions ?
How much does a Rhinostat Kit cost ?
Should I let my doctor know that I want to quit using the Rhinostat System ?
What if I am pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant ?
Once I break my addiction using Rhinostat, can I become addicted again?
Is Rhinostat F.D.A. approved ?
How Can I Order Rhinostat?
What if I use more than one type of spray, with a different active ingredient?
Can I Just "Water Down" My Own Nasal Spray?
Is It Safe To Order From Rhinostat?


1.  I have been addicted to Afrin or other nasal sprays for so many years, how can Rhinostat
possibly help me ?

We have heard from thousands of people whose Afrin addiction, has lasted more than 30 years.  No matter how long you have been addicted, the rebound congestion will subside once the compound is withdrawn.  Rhinostat can help you to overcome your nasal spray addiction by weaning you from the sprays while maintaining normal nasal airflow.

Rhinostat was awarded United States Patent # 5,988,870 in 1999.  Since that time, more than 40,000 persons have weaned themselves from decongestant nasal sprays using the Rhinostat apparatus.

The length of time you have been addicted is not the key factor in determining whether or not you will succeed with our method.  Once the active compound in the nasal spray is withdrawn, your rebound congestion will subside.  There are other more important factors that influence success rates (other underlying medical or physiologic conditions).  These are discussed within the next few sections.

Afrin addiction (or any other nasal spray addiction) is known by the medical term rhinitis medicamentosa (RM).

2.  What is the success rate using Rhinostat?

That depends upon whether or not other underlying medical or physiologic conditions are present.  Rhinitis medicamentosa patients can be divided into two patient groups. 

The first group are those patients whose only problem is the addiction to nasal spray.  According to our own research, as well as other work we have reviewed, this patient group probably represents 70% to 80% of all patients with rhinitis medicamentosa (RM).  Patients within this group are ideal candidates for the Rhinostat method.  More than 90% of patients in this group are able to wean themselves using our method on the first attempt.

The second group consists of those patients who (in addition to rhinitis medicamentosa) have other underlying medical or physiologic conditions contributing to their rebound congestion.  Among these conditions may be allergies, a deviated septum, nasal polyps or other obstructive phenomenon.  When other underlying conditions are present, they should be under control before attempting to withdraw from nasal sprays.  Patients in this group should be working with their physicians to alleviate these conditions.  In this patient group, the Rhinostat success rate is highly dependent upon the successful treatment of these other underlying disorders.  Even when the decongestant nasal spray-induced rebound congestion is eliminated in this group, other factors may tempt them to return to using Afrin or other nasal sprays.

If the other underlying conditions are comparatively minor (in terms of how much they are contributing to rebound congestion) Rhinostat may still be effective in ending the nasal spray addiction.  If the other conditions are severe enough, Rhinostat alone will probably not be enough to alleviate rebound congestion and the return to nasal sprays is almost inevitable.  If Rhinostat does not help you, it is highly probable that other conditions are contributing to a sufficient degree that requires further medical evaluation.

Options for treating these underlying conditions range from medical (usually steroids) to surgical.  For example, if you have allergies in addition to Rhinitis Medicamentosa, you may want to discuss the use of a steroid nasal spray as you gradually wean yourself from the decongestants using the Rhinostat method.  This is extremely common, as many people develop Afrin addiction while self-treating their allergies before consulting a physician.

3.  How did I become addicted to nasal spray?

The active ingredient in many nasal sprays (typically Oxymetazoline hydrochloride) is a powerful drug which is very effective at eliminating congestion.  When used as a short term therapy, the drug is both safe and effective for most people.   If the drug is used longer than this short term "safe period," a condition known as rebound congestion can occur.  The only way to relieve rebound congestion is to administer another dose of the nasal spray. 

The length of time of this "safe use period" is debatable.  In America, nasal spray packaging generally contains a warning against the use of the spray for more than 3 days.  In Europe, 7 - 8 days is considered safe.  Certainly, the risk of nasal spray addiction increases with each consecutive day of use.  Studies have shown that 100% of healthy normal test subjects will show changes in the nasal mucosa in the form of hypersensitivity to the drug, and will all subsequently develop rebound congestion after 8 - 10 days.  Therefore, anyone who uses these nasal sprays has the potential to become addicted.  See Our Research Page

4.  How do physicians usually treat rhinitis medicamentosa?

There are no FDA approved drugs or therapies specifically indicated for the treatment of rhinitis medicamentosa

If you go and see your doctor about this problem, you will probably be told to stop using the decongestant and leave with a prescription for a steroid nasal spray.  If you are like most RM patients, you probably will have sprayed yourself prior to the appointment.  Later in that same day, the decongestant will wear off.  This time, instead of using your familiar decongestant nasal spray you will substitute the prescription spray the doctor gave you.  As all RM patients do, you will wait a minute or two for that familiar and comforting decongestant relief to come.  It doesn't, so you take another dose of the prescription spray.  Still nothing.  You thought you had the problem licked and now you are wondering why the doctor gave you a spray which isn't helping you at all.  Bedtime is approaching and you know you will never make it through the night with your airway closed.  As an RM patient, you know exactly what happens next.  You reach for your decongestant and get some sleep.

The most interesting part of this phenomenon is this:  Most people never return to tell the doctor that they are still dependent on the decongestants.  Nobody likes to appear as being either weak or lacking will power, or disobeying their doctor's orders.  Because so few people return to report the problem again, the doctors think they cured them.  We have been collecting information since 1999 on this phenomenon. Nearly all of the physicians we meet each year refuse to believe that 96% of patients given steroid sprays to treat RM go right back to using decongestant nasal sprays.  What these patients are not telling their doctors, they are very comfortable in sharing with us.

Probably the best advice a doctor can give (aside from Rhinostat) is to tell the patient to simply stop "cold turkey".  As uncomfortable as it is, cold turkey is very effective.  For non-allergic RM patients, the steroid nasal sprays offer no improvement in nasal airway flow (read the Fluticasone study).  If the patient does have allergies, the steroids can help to a degree, but as soon as the decongestants are withdrawn, the nasal airway will still be severely obstructed for 4-8 days.

Surgery may be also recommended.  If there is some structural abnormality or obstruction blocking the airway, surgery may be required to correct it.  If no such abnormality or obstruction is present and your doctor wants to operate on you simply because you are addicted to nasal sprays, you may want to consider getting another opinion.

5.  What benefit does Rhinostat offer?

The principle benefit is the preservation of nasal inspiratory flow (your ability to breathe in through your nose) as the decongestants are withdrawn.  The only way to end your addiction is to withdraw from the sprays.  If you stop abruptly, you won't be able to breathe.  If you withdraw gradually, you will withdraw comfortably.

If a patient has rebound congestion and allergies, using Rhinostat along with the steroids can be very effective.  If a patient does not have allergies, Rhinostat works well on its own and should certainly be tried before more invasive surgical or medical measures are considered.

6.  What is the basis for the Rhinostat System ?  How does it work ?

Please visit our new "How Does It Work" page.

7.  Why doesn't my doctor already know about Rhinostat?

We are working on it.  Rhinostat attends major medical meetings nationwide (such as Pri-Med).   Please encourage your doctor to stop by our booth if they are planning on attending any of these meetings.  We also have a direct mail campaign directly to physician offices.

Your doctor may not know specifically about our company or our method, but they are familiar with the concept of dosage titration and serial dilution.  They just are not aware that Rhinostat has applied these concepts to the administration of decongestant spray, for the purpose of weaning addicted patients.

Rhinostat also relies upon RM patients to bring Rhinostat to the attention of their physicians.  Our physician outreach program allows patients to receive Rhinostat Kits free of charge, if they are ordered by their physicians.  Visit our physician outreach program page.

8.  How do I use the Rhinostat System ?

You use Rhinostat just like your regular nasal spray with one difference.  Each day, you will need to spend about 3 minutes working with your Rhinostat Kit.  Following the directions, you will replenish the volume of liquid in the dispenser bottle by adding the Rhinostat diluent until the fluid level reaches a specific level.  You are then ready to use the spray again.   Each time you "cycle" your dispenser bottle, you will be decreasing the strength of the spray you are using.  You can use your Rhinostat dispenser bottle whenever you feel congested.  The dose of medication you deliver will provide the same decongestant relief. 

Each and every day, you will be reducing the strength of the nasal spray and reducing the rebound reaction in your nasal mucosa.   As the concentration of the drug is reduced, each dose will provide longer and longer relief.  After a 30 day period, the rebound congestion reaction and swelling has been dramatically reduced because the drug that was causing the problem is being withdrawn.

If you should fail to complete the cycle for either of these reasons, you can try again at any time.  Failure to complete an earlier cycle will have no effect on your next attempt.  If necessary, Rhinostat will provide the second kit - free of charge.

9.  What if I have specific questions ?

We are always happy to answer your questions.  Please visit our contact page.

10.  How much does a Rhinostat Kit cost ?

The retail price of each kit is $39.00 (U.S. Dollars.)   Economical shipping options are available, worldwide.  Rhinostat is available without a prescription.  Click here to Order A Rhinostat Kit

11.   Should I let my doctor know that I want to use the Rhinostat System ?

Yes.  If you are already working with your physician regarding your addiction, we encourage you to discuss Rhinostat with your doctor.  You might want to download and/or print our Physician Information Sheet (pdf) and bring it with you.

Our patented method and apparatus is very simple for your physician to understand.  Should your doctor have any questions, please encourage him or her to contact us via the contact page on our web site.

If you have not consulted a physician regarding your addiction, it is important to know that Rhinostat is both effective and safe.   Rhinostat Kits contain the same solutions found in your current decongestant nasal spray.

12.  What if I am pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant ?

Only your doctor is qualified to give you advice on this subject.  Decongestant sprays are contraindicated in persons where certain underlying medical conditions are present.  Pregnancy itself can cause nasal congestion and make it harder to withdraw using the Rhinostat method.  We suggest that you discuss this with your doctor and only proceed with his or her approval.

13.  Once I break my addiction using Rhinostat, can I become addicted to nasal spray again ?

Yes.  Follow up studies done on RM patients as long as one year after withdrawal from the sprays show evidence that long term sensitivity can develop, making it much more likely that a previously addicted person can become addicted again more easily than a person who has never misused the sprays before.  The exact physiological reason for this is not known, but a number of the researchers we have spoken with believe it may involve the sensitivity of the nervous system within the nasal mucosa.

After you have broken your addiction using Rhinostat, you must be very careful about using the sprays again in the future.  They must be used only when absolutely necessary and even then, sparingly.  We are focusing our research in this area as well. 

If you do find yourself addicted again, Rhinostat will work just as well as it did the previous time.

14.  Is Rhinostat F.D.A. approved ?

Rhinostat contains these same decongestant nasal spray solutions.  Decongestant nasal sprays such as Afrin have been approved as OTC (over-the-counter) products for decades.  There are no other drugs, compounds or formulations in Rhinostat that are not already found in these OTC products, hence FDA approval is not required.

We encourage you to discuss our system with your physician.

15.  What if I use more than one type of spray, with different active ingredients?

This is a common phenomenon.  In most instances, a person may be using both an oxymetazoline based spray as well as a phenylephrine based spray.  We have two suggested protocols for dealing with this situation:

One protocol calls for you to stabilize yourself for at least 2-3 weeks on one compound or the other.  You would then order a kit formulated with that particular compound and begin the weaning process as called for in the Rhinostat directions.

The alternative would be for you to order a kit which contains both compounds.  To address this situation, we do have an option for a combination kit.  This kit contains both active ingredients, oxymetazoline and phenylephrine.  If you require a different combination kit, please contact us.

16.  Can I Just "Water Down" My Own Nasal Spray?

Over-the-counter saline nasal sprays contain preservatives (typically benzylkonium chloride) which has been shown to worsen the congestion associated with Rhinitis Medicamentosa.  The Rhinostat diluent solution is free of these problematic preservatives, which makes the withdrawal process more comfortable for the patient.

In addition, the very precise titration the Rhinostat Apparatus allows for is extremely difficult to replicate.   Precise dosage titration will maximize airflow and reduce rebound swelling as the withdrawal process progresses.

17.  Is It Safe To Order From Rhinostat?

Rhinostat has been helping people overcome their addiction to decongestant nasal sprays since 1999.  Our method is safe, effective and guaranteed.  If we are unable to help you achieve your goal of withdrawing from the decongestant sprays, you may return your kit to Rhinostat for a cheerful refund.

Rhinostat is a member of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau.  You may click on the logo below to see our standing with the BBB.

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Rhinostat Systems, LLC
The Rhinitis Medicamentosa (Rebound Congestion) Company
Danbury, Connecticut

Toll Free:  (877) RHINOSTAT  (877) 744-6678