Afrin Nose Spray Addiction
Over the counter decongestants are both effective and safe when used correctly and not for more than 3-4 consecutive days. If the decongestants (such as Afrin) are used for longer than the prescribed number of days, rebound congestion will likely develop. Once this occurs, nasal airflow can only be restored by administering subsequent doses and individuals can become addicted to Afrin.
Unlike other addictions, those who have developed an Afrin addiction derive no “high” or psychological benefit from using the medication. What may appear to be an Afrin addiction is the act of self-medicating the severe congestion that results from the prolonged use of the sprays. Unless these individuals administer subsequent doses every 5-6 hours (on average) they can experience a complete blockage of their nasal airway. Most individuals find this to be too uncomfortable to tolerate and they continue using the decongestant sprays indefinitely.
While Afrin is the most popular brand of decongestant spray, there are several others (including generic versions) which contain the same active ingredient, which is Oxymetazoline HcL 0.05%. This is why some people refer to this as an Oxymetazoline addiction. No matter what the brand of spray, these topical decongestants will cause rebound congestion if used beyond the prescribed length of time.
The cornerstone of the therapy for these patients is always the same; they must discontinue their use of the sprays. It is this aspect of the treatment that is most troubling for these patients. As soon as the sprays are withdrawn, complete congestion will set in for the next 4-7 consecutive days. An alternative to the abrupt cessation is a gradual weaning approach, which will allow for comfortable airflow as the decongestants are withdrawn over a period which averages 2-4 weeks. It is important that the medication be withdrawn in a very gradual and precise manner for this therapeutic approach to be effective.
To facilitate the gradual weaning and precise dosage strength control, the Rhinostat System is designed to allow patients to accomplish this. Since 1999, Rhinostat has been helping patients overcome their dependence on decongestant nasal sprays. Rhinostat kits are individually formulated for each patient, depending upon their current nasal spray.
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