I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin

Afrin nose spray addiction

This is a story on how I relieved my Afrin addiction with some simple helpful tips.

So there I am standing in the isle of of the drugstore with a head cold and sinus congestion when I see a bottle of Afrin. Twelve hours of nasal congestion relief?

Sign me up. I got some important phone calls to make at work and I can’t sound like I’m all stuffed up and sick. I gotta be professional sounding and clear headed.

How My Nose Spray Addiction Started

There is nothing worse than lying in bed at night trying to go to sleep with a stuffy nose. Finally there was something that I could take before bed that would allow me to breathe through my nose… Afrin nose spray.

The results were phenomenal. A couple of sprays up each nostril and within minutes I was able to breathe through my nose. So I stuck the Afrin in my pocket and it remained there for many weeks.

Why had I never used nose spray before? Why isn’t everyone using nose spray throughout their colds? Well, unfortunately I found out the hard way why it is not a good idea to use Afrin throughout the duration of your head cold.

Why Afrin Has a Hold on Me

There are warnings on the back of the Afrin bottle that explain that you should not use Afrin longer than three days in a row. I did read that warning. I however, did not pay attention to that warning. The sinus clearing results that I got from using nose spray were too good to just stop.

I decided on the fourth night to go ahead and use Afrin for another night.

What I wasn’t aware of when I decided to use Afrin longer than the recommended durations is a little something called rebound congestion. Rebound congestion occurs when vascular constricting properties of nose sprays begin to cause abnormal swelling of the nasal mucosa.

This can block the nasal airway completely, causing extreme discomfort.

Rebound congestion is temporarily relieved by the use of nose spray giving the person a small window of relief. You can see how this can become a vicious circle right? Too much nose spray use causes more nasal congestion that can only be relieved by using even more nose spray… etc., etc.

So the answer to the problem of rebound congestion seems simple right? Just stop using the noses spray and allow your nasal mucosa to return to normal. Well that is much easier said that done. Being unable to breathe properly through your nose can drive you crazy. It can send you running right back to that nose spray even though you know that it’s the nose spray that’s causing the problem.

How I’m Breaking Free from My Afrin Addiction

Now, you could just stop using nose sprays altogether and suffer with your rebound congestion for a couple of weeks until it goes away and you will be broken of your dependence on nose sprays.

I don’t see myself doing that so I have done some reading up on the subject and have begun a one nostril at a time withdrawal program.


That’s right. I still use Afrin in one of my nostrils and am allowing the other nostril to heal.

Once this first nostril is all healed and I can breathe through it, I plan on stopping the use of Afrin in the second nostril. After a little while I will be able to breathe comfortably again through my nose without the use of nose sprays.

So how are you planning on breaking your nose spray addiction? I would love to hear people’s different methods for breaking nose spray addiction.

Important Update: Hello everyone. This is Ken Savage the author of this post. I wanted to tell you that I’m building a new community website around Nose Spray and Afrin addiction.  I working with an ENT Dr and a retired ENT nurse on common conditions of nasal congestion, ways to relieve the pressure and inflammation and how to get off of the nose sprays.

I’ll also let you know in an email and comment here when the new site is complete.  Should only be 2 weeks or so. I have a dozen articles written already and hope to provide you more help and information.

Good luck on your struggles everyone and let’s hope we can all work together to free ourselves from nose spray addiction.

Dad, writer and photographer. Living the dream with my son Jake. I travel the world making friends and experiences while building my network or properties and friends.

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1,050 comments on “I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin
  1. Russ says:

    Its great to know this site exists, as I have been suffering with this addiction for 40 years now. I remember vividly how it began – 1975 as a Naval Aviation pilot in Misawa Japan. I had some congestion that made me go to the base exchange (government department store on base). I found a nose spray, presumably Afrin. Worked great! Here I am 40 years later, still got it, different bottle but same stuff, same congestion, only much worse. Back then it was a once a day as the instructions said, 12 hours of relief. That has continued for quite a long time until about 2 years ago when I’ve been doing as many of you, spraying it much more often, now as much as once an hour or so.
    The mornings are the worse. Sometimes it takes a couple of sprays when I wake up, then some more in about 30 minutes or so and that continues for about 2 hours after which I’m on once every couple of hours for the rest of the day.
    About 3 months ago, Ibought a bottle of Nasacort, but after I read about the possible side effects, I’ve never opened it.
    After I found this web site, I’ve decided to try the one nostril system. That began two days ago. It’s been interesting during that time. I now spray only the left nostril, when needed. There are times when the right one clears up completely, other times when the right plugs completely. I don’t understand that, but I plan to continue this procedure. I almost sprayed the right side when I caught myself. I guess there has been so much of both nostrils in the past, it was habit to hit ‘em both.
    I’ll keep you all posted…

    • Rachel says:

      Hi there. I was also addicted for many years. I got prescription flonase from my doctor and was able to wean off slowly.it worked! I have been off the afrin for three months now. My nostrils are finally back to normal. Some people have had luck with nasacort and frequent saline sprays, like every hour. That didn’t work well for me but everyone is different. The flonase worked great. Keep trying until you find which method works best for you. The one nostril method worked well for weaning down, but it was still kinda miserable. Good luck to you!!! I’ve been there and understand how awful afrin addiction is. Keep trying until you get it figured out.

    • Rachel says:

      The same thing happened to me, the nostrils would be totally blocked then suddenly clear then go back to be blocked. That lasted for about two weeks. After that I was fine. I’m not sure why that happens but it also happened to me. It’s great that your on day four. That’s awesome. Get some saline spray if your nostrils become dry. It helps. Good luck! I’ll check back this weekend to see how you are doing

    • Mike Benefield says:

      Nasacort works well for nasal spray addiction. I suggest you reconsider and give it a try. It takes several days of treatment to get results, but it DOES work.

      Good Luck

  2. Russ says:

    Thanks Rachel, I’ve been doing the one nostril method for 4 days now, and it appears to be working great! I spray the left about 3 or 4 times a day (which is less than has been) and the right has been sometimes plugged for a short period then it clears up for a while. Goofy as it sounds, it’s not bad. I’m wondering how long it will take for the right side to be fully cleared, but for now I’ll keep doing what I’m doing!!

  3. Garry says:

    I am very glad that I found this site. I have had an Afrin addiction for about 6 months. I believe that I will try the one nostril at a time method. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  4. Chris says:

    I have two options at this point. I only use one shot of afrin in each side about 2-3 times per day, but regardless, the rebound congestion has no limits. I purchased a Rhinostat kit that was about $40 that slowly weans you off by replacing the drug with saline. I also just bought sinus buster from CVS. Its a natural spray that has a pepper as its active ingredient. I dont mind being slightly stuffed up, but at night, having both sinuses completely obstructed is unacceptable. Ill report back when I have a better idea of what option worked best.

  5. Val says:

    Looking foward to your update!

  6. Steve L says:

    Somewhere on the web I read that for best effect, make sure you spray and breathe in with the Sinus Buster so it goes sufficiently deep enough (if necessary wait and do a second burst after the first has cleared some of your sinus.) It could be that people aren’t getting the spray far enough along your entire passageway. You will know how far you’ve sprayed by the feeling in your nose. ;) But again, I haven’t found it to be that bad. I’m sure the sensation is different for each person though, based on the varied responses about how bad the burn is.

  7. cat says:

    Chris, definitely want to hear your results!

  8. abby says:

    hey chris! how’s it going?

  9. svolan117 says:

    read my comment above yours man

  10. rubymusic1 says:

    I’ve read about pepper(active ingredient)works very well but i’m yet to try it. I find saline solution itself usually helps wean off of afrin very well. I also have a terrible problem with rebound congestion.

    Good luck with whichever you decide to use!

  11. hookedonafrin says:

    did this ever work?

  12. Majella says:

    Hey Chris,

    I’m also thinking of using the Rhinostat system to wean off Otrivine (similar to Afrin). Just wondering if you found it of any benefit?


  13. Pam says:

    What option works best or do I need to do both?

  14. bill gimbel says:

    sinus buster made it worse for me

  15. Ronda says:

    Went to the doctor today and he had two interesting suggestions. Told me to try 600 mg of ibuprofen every six hours to help with the inflammation and a nasal rinse called Alkalol, which you can find at CVS. It’s a natural rinse with peppermint, eucalyptus and menthol oils.

    It’s been one day of this and I’m noticing some improvement. It’s slow, but I don’t feel like I’m going to suffocate and it’s actually quite sooting to use the Alkalol rinse

3 Pings/Trackbacks for "I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin"
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  3. […] meds, but I figured there had to be another way because those weren’t options for me.  One suggestion that made the most sense, was the single nose […]

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