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Overcoming Rebound Nasal Congestion from Decongestants

Have you ever used a nasal spray to open congested nostrils? Such sprays work well, but after three days you can suffer from rebound nasal congestion!

People with allergies are often caught in a terrible double bind. Their stuffy noses lead them to decongestant nasal sprays. After a few days of continuous use they become dependent upon the spray. If they stop, their nose becomes even more stuffy (rebound nasal congestion). If they switch to an oral allergy pill with a decongestant, they may discover they are wired and have a hard time falling asleep. Does Flonase for rebound nasal congestion solve the problem? This reader says it was very helpful.

People with Allergies Are Mouth Breathers At Night:

This allergy victim found that Flonase for rebound nasal congestion did the trick.

Q. I have been ‘the allergy kid’ my whole life, and I’ve tried everything. I’ve experienced rebound congestion from Neo-Synephrine spray. Allergy pills keep me awake, but there is a great alternative.

Flonase Sensimist (with the light blue top) is terrific. I don’t have allergies anymore. I can now smell things I never smelled before, and I sleep with my mouth closed. I used it for months, and then I tapered off. I only need it once every few months now.

A. Other readers have reported that steroid nasal sprays such as fluticasone (Flonase) can help overcome dependence on decongestant nose sprays.

When Flonase was only available with a prescription, the FDA warned physicians that it could cause sore throat, headache, cough and nose bleeds along with loss of the sense of smell or taste, nasal septal perforation, glaucoma and cataracts. Occasional use, such as yours, is less likely to trigger such reactions. And Flonase or other steroid sprays can help overcome rebound nasal congestion.

Other Ways to Overcome Rebound Nasal Congestion & Stuffiness:

Our readers have offered many interesting solutions over the years. Here are just a few:

P.F. uses saline for her nose:

“Many years ago, my doctor helped me get off nasal sprays. He suggested that I mix a small amount of distilled water in the bottle of decongestant drops. As the days went by, I added more and more water, until finally I was using only water and the addiction was gone. That was a very happy day!

“I’ve never used any type of drop or spray since then, except a saline solution, when there is a serious problem. I never want to risk the chance of addiction again.”

Joy in North Carolina describes something we know nothing about:

“Re: nighttime nasal congestion – I have a magnetic sleep mask (Nikken) which totally keeps my sinuses open during a vicious cold at night. Wish I could wear it 24/7!”

Lynn loves NeilMed for her nose:

“For nasal congestion at bedtime, or any other time, for that matter, I use NeilMed Sinus Rinse. It works like a netti pot in that warm water with some saline added is forced up both nostrils through a squeeze bottle. It has saved me a number of times from developing a sinus infection and always shortens the life of a head cold. The kit can be purchased anywhere and I consider mine the best investment in my medicine chest!”

Mindy in Mexico says that nasal strips work for her. Others are not as enthusiastic, though.

“I can’t believe you haven’t mentioned Breathe Right nasal strips! I have been using then for years and can breathe very well.”

Chris in Iowa says NasalCrom nasal spray does the trick:

“I use NasalCrom. It is a different kind of nasal spray. I use one spray in each nostril each night. It works great and is not habit forming. You can find it at most drugstores or online.”

Here is a link to a recent article you may find of interest for more details:

Nighttime Nasal Congestion | Is There a Non-Addictive Treatment?

Have you ever suffered from rebound nasal congestion? What did you do? Share your own story in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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