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.

What?

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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874 comments on “I Have a Nose Spray Addiction – I’m Addicted to Afrin
  1. jared says:

    ive been addicted to nose spray for the last 5 or 6 years.bad alergies, deviated septum etc etc.i often wake up in the middle of the night and have to dose up just to get that small window of comfort to be able to go back to sleep again.earlier this year I was hospitilzed and had an open apendictomy.when I first was admitted my biggest concern wasnt about all the pain I was feeling it was about how am I going to be able to breath without nose spray while Im stuck inthe hospital.much to my surprise, as soon as I got loaded up with norcos my sinuses cleared right up and I was able to breath better than I have in years.i really didnt think it was the painkillers helping but after 2 weeks at home I still felt fantastic.against my better judgement I bought 60 norcos from a friend and continued taking just 1 pill a day.i went a solid 3 or 4 months of total relief.i never had one stuffy nose.i never sneezed once.i normally sneeze 7 or 8 times a day.i didnt want to be a pill head or get addicted to pain pills so I discontinued using them.after a few weeks I was right back in nasal spray hell.last week I strained my lower back and pinched a nerve.my doc prescribed me norcos again and instantly my sinuses cleared right up and havnt so much as had a sneeze or a sniffle for a week straight.im convinced that its the norco thats helping as I havnt changed my habbits in any other way and I dont think im masking the problem by getting drugged up because im taking a prett small dose.(1 7.5 hydrocodon a day).anyone else had similar results when taking norco or vicodin? im so sick of the vicious nose spray cycle but I think I might have a hard time convincing my doctor that all my sinus problems can be cured with a daily pain pill.ive had differant antibiotics and steroids as well as every kind of allergy medicine available and none of them have any noticeable positive effect on me.

    • sk says:

      Jared, I do not recommend pain pills as a long term solution at all. your body builds up a tolerance to them very quickly, who did you have to take more and more to maintain the effect. What you will most likely end up doing is switching one addiction for another. The hydrocodone works by relaxing your muscles, but it will not keep this effect much longer without upping your dosage. Trust me, a pain pill addiction is not what you want. Please stop what you’re doing.

    • gigi says:

      Hello, happy to see others out there with my problem. I’m a registered nurse so you think I’d know better but yep I’m hooked on nasal spray! It started about 2 1/2 years ago after a nose job. My Dr told me to use it to relieve congestion after surgery. I quit by weaning down about 6 months ago and that was hell. I got a head cold in January and here I am again. I have lost most if my sense of smell and some sense of taste as well. I’m trying to wean again, just one spray at night for sleep. I have awful fits of sneezing which makes the congestion worse. I’m going to try your one nostril at a time method. I’ll keep you posted. I’ve been researching the long term effects of chronic use and I think this may be contributing to other serious health problems I’ve been having including high blood pressure! Best of luck to everyone

      • Erika says:

        I’m just like all of you on here. I have been using nasal spray since oct. 2013. I found this site and decided to do a cold turkey quit. It has been about 24 hours since my last spray and last night was a total misery to me but I can do this and so can you! I get some minor intermittent relief in one side or the other every few hours now which gives me hope. The horrible painful pressure I had during the night has lessened and now I’m just annoyed at the stuffiness and I am trying not to let myself get too anxious. I will update at another time. Good luck and quit the poison once and for all.

        • Erika says:

          Well it’s been 3 1/2 days and the rebound congestion is gone and I am done with nose spray for good! Good luck to you all if I can do this then so can you.

          • Renee says:

            Erika,
            So you just quit cold turkey? Good for you!! :)
            I’m pregnant and not being able to breathe stresses me out and makes me so anxious… Doing the one side afrin and the other side nothing… It’s been maybe 4 days now, and nothing! It’s just not clearing up on that side…I don’t know what to do. I feel like it’s never going to clear up.
            ???

  2. Jabbr407 says:

    Started getting stuffy nose about 2 months ago. used nasal spray (Oxymetazoline)and it worked.. for a few weeks. Tried another spray (Phenylephrine)and it works.. for about 30-40 minutes. then I have to use it again, and again, all day. wake up choking on my tongue from breathing through my mouth.. a few squirts, and I can sleep another hour or so. <– frustrated .. just read about rebound congestion from nose sprays. Wow ..I've got a new addiction to go with my nicotine gum… Did you know Heroin was first prescribed as a cure for morphine addiction?..I heard Flonase can help kick this one.. thoughts?

    • Cristina B says:

      I have horrible seasonal allergies. This year my allergies came really early (Jan) I went about a week without being able to breathe but it got so bad and I was having such anxiety at night that I finally bought some Afrin!! As we all now know, this was bad, very very bad. I got hooked and have been using it 3 1/2 mos. straight up to 4x daily. Then 2 nights ago it just stopped working. And I kept using and using hoping for anything… Yesterday I was so bad I went to the doctor. The reason I waited so long was due to no health care. OTC I thought (less $$) anyway, I told my doc about what happened the night before and my sick love affair with Afrin. She prescribed me Flonase (steroid nasal spray), oral prednisone (steroids), and Zyrtec (allergy med) and she also said I needed to just STOP with the Afrin. Well I tried all the meds and waited and waited all day for some relief. I got none except for a few seconds on one side every 30 mins or so. So at bed time I used 1 spray in each nostril and I could breathe all night. I realize I spent (out of my pocket) over $200 for the doctor and prescriptions yesterday, and for what?? I am going to have to cold turkey it. Flonase I’ve heard works greats for people who don’t have rhinitis from nasal spray addiction.

  3. Julie says:

    I’ve been sick with a cold/congestion for two weeks and have gone about 10 days past the 3 day warning. I’m still sick and thought maybe I could just use the nasal spray till I got over my cold but I started to freak out that maybe I was making it worse (as the label suggests). So I called a good friend who is a ENT surgeon and here is exactly what she said.

    Some thoughts on your sinus problems
    1. You shouldn’t use afrin more than 3 days, and 5 days is my MAX. It is very addictive.
    2. To get off the afrin, I recommend
    -Daily sinus rinse, even twice a day
    -starting FLONASE: this is a spray that is not a quick acting as AFRIN, needs a prescription, but can get your nose to decrease in the swelling by 3 weeks of daily use and is not addictive
    -Weening off afrin: You can try this “serial dilution” to slowly decrease the amount of afrin you need. Pour out half the bottle, and open the top and fill with half NASAL SALINE (aka Ocean spray). Then use for 3 days, then do the same thing again, pour out half, and add another half of nasal saline. Do this for 3 days then stop. You will then get your nose slowly off the addiction in 1 week.
    3. If you have thick green mucus, facial pain, pressure for >7-9 days, it is reasonable to ask your doctor for an antibiotic.

    I called my doctor and just diluted my afrin so hopefully it works. Hope this helps!

    • Carnival Mary says:

      Julie, your ENT doctor is a smart cookie! The sprays are a huge problem and discontinuation is a tough fight. Using the spray on only one side…then waiting for inflammation to reduce simply cannot work as the system and cavities are all interconnected. The doctor’s idea to reduce the dose by addding 50% saline is brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

    • Sarah says:

      Thank you for the advice from your friend… I am currently using the diluted suggestion on my right nostril and letting my left go “cold turkey”… Let’s hope I can get over this soon! My left is not as bad as it was yesterday so I feel like I’m slowly making my way to the goal I want…. Spray free!

      • Sarah says:

        GOOD NEWS! My left is all healed and feeling great… still diluting and using spray on the right but I am down to two sprays a day… one in the morning when I wake up super stuffy and right before I go to bed… I can go the entire day without any spray. It’s a long battle but I see the end soon!

        • Sarah says:

          100% Afrin Free! You can read my two previous posts… I went cold turkey on the left side and as soon as that was feeling good (about 5 days) I began to dilute my spray daily for the right side… I slowly began to use the spray less and less but we still comfortable and could breathe. I was about to only use it at night for 2 days and then one Sunday morning I realized I hadn’t used it since Friday night. I am not officially FREE! I still wake up every morning with one side kinda stuffy but as soon as I stand up it is completely clear. What an amazing feeling to breathe!

          • JC says:

            Thanks for coming back here and posting those updates Sarah. I found this site searching for “Afrin withdrawal” because I’m having that problem. I read Ken’s post but the one-nostril thing doesn’t make much sense. I thought I was going to find nothing but BS here, but seeing your progress posts made me think “oh sweet, Julie’s solution will totally work”. So now I’m happily getting started with it; thanks for turning my frown upside down! I’ll post updates too!

    • madaughtry says:

      Julie, I followed your dilution formula, however, I used plain tap water. After 4 days I am Affrin free! Thanks!

  4. Lisa says:

    Hi! I was an avid OTC nasel spray user for 5 years and I am now free of it! I did the one nostril at a time method and it worked. The one nostril did get pretty clogged up but I was always able to breath out of the other. It takes about a week or so but it is a method with the least amount of discomfort and disruption to your life.

  5. Matthew says:

    I have been addicted to Afrin since I was about 12 years old. I’m now 30, so that’s 18 years of addiction. When I was 22, I did briefly break the habit because I had a motorcycle wreck which left me in the hospital for four days. I thought it was funny how one guy mentioned being afraid of being without Afrin while in the hospital, and that was so true for me as well. I could only think about how I was going to suffocate during surgery, because my nostrils would plug up and they’d have a tube down my throat or something.

    It’s funny though, because when I woke up in the hospital 12 hours later, I discovered I no longer needed the nose spray. I left the hospital with absolutely no addiction at all, and stayed off of it for a little over a year, before getting a cold and thinking “I’ll just use it for a few days”. Bad idea, i’m hooked again, and can’t seem to get off of it.

  6. Robert says:

    I have been on and off nasal sprays for 20 years and suffer from anxiety for my years in the military. I want a instant cure but know there is not one. I will try the one nostril thing and hopefully it will work

  7. Sally says:

    Hi Everyone,

    I have been addicted to Afrin for almost 5 years now. I decided it was time to get off of it and came across this article. Petrified and full of anxiety about the thought of not being able to breath, I am doing it!! This is my 3rd day not using Afrin in one nostril and it is much easier than I could have expected. I must admit though, the first night, I took Benadryl to help me sleep. Not because I couldn’t breath but because of how scared I was that I wouldn’t be able to sleep…haha! Sounds silly now but it worked. The thought of starting the other nostril is a little worrisome but if it is as easy as the first, I am going to be clear by 1/6. I am so excited!!! I do also take allergy medicine, store brand of Claritin D, so that may be helping as well. Good luck if you also plan on trying this.

    P.S. I just learned about 6 months ago that Wal-Mart’s’ brand called “Original Nasal Spray” has the exact same ingredient as Afrin but is only $0.98. I spent so much on Afrin, I could kick myself!

    • Susan says:

      First of all: Walmart nasal spray is NOT Afrin. The only Afrin that really works is Afrin SINUS nasal spray.(ANd you know it’s true, as in the stores it is that one that is ALWAYS sold out. (Or stolen) DAY 1. 64 yrs old with a 40 yrs. nasal spray habit. I think that beats you all out. I am doing it the one nasal path at a time. I am totally closed off of breathing now at my right nostril. Nasal strips don’t work. Nothing works, but after a visit to the ENT today, I decided to surprise him and do it. AND I WILL DO IT. I mean, it’s not brain surgery……I even had a 1/2 hr. nap. Just feels like right side of my face is gone. Hard, but not impossible

      • Sally C. says:

        I’m glad you are doing it as well but just because it didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The Walmart brand has the exact same active ingredient as Afrin and the same exact amount. But if you want to spend all that money on the name, knock yourself out!

      • ceverett says:

        I am also 64 years old and have been using Afrin almost daily ever since it was prescribed to me by an doctor when I was around 15-16. I did have one year a while ago that I went completely without Afrin but was never completely without congestion. I finally figuered “what the heck”, I’ve been doing it half my life and it hasn’t killed me yet, so just decided I would continue. However, I have diluted it 50/50 with saline and it seems to work fine most of the time. When it doesn’t, I use it full strength. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from trying to get off of it, but I’m just saying, that it will not kill you. I also want to say that the Walmart brand does have all the same active ingredients in the same amounts of Afrin does. Save money, use the Walmart brand.

    • marco says:

      yea but the Wal-Mart brand is mainly saline. Gd luck I hope it works for you. I have been using a ounce every 3 days for over 15 yrs and am terrified on trying to end, I have such a fear.

  8. Steph says:

    I’ve been addicted to nasal spray for close to two years now. I have them everywhere – two on my nightstand, three in my purse, two in my work desk….it’s ridiculous. In the past two weeks, the sprays have stopped working for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. I guess I built up a tolerance for them. I couldn’t go anywhere without constantly snorting nasal spray like a junkie. So, yesterday morning I decided to work towards quitting by weaning one nostril at a time. All day yesterday, I only allowed myself a spray in the right nostril when I could no longer stand to breathe through my mouth. By 9:00 last night, the swelling had gone down in my left nostril (the one I was weaning off) and I could sufficiently breathe through that side. Last night was a little tough and I woke up several times needing to sit up so I could breathe, but this morning I can fully breathe through my left nostril without nasal spray….and it feels like 1000 lbs of pressure has come off that side of my face. It was such a relief!! So today I’m weaning my right nostril. I still feel sporadic stuffiness in my left nostril, off and on, but nothing like the horrible sense of suffocating that you’d feel if you quit both sides cold turkey (which I tried and failed at several times). I’m completely surprised at how quickly my body is responding to weaning off nasal spray using this method. I highly recommend trying one nostril at a time. I feel good about being off nose spray completely in the next day or two, and without much suffering. Hopefully after that I can refrain from ever using this poison again!!

    • rita says:

      I totally understand where you’re coming from. my friends and family thought it was hysterical that i had an afrin bottle on/near me during every waking (and sleeping) minute of my day – purse, desk at work, kitchen, bathroom, glove compartment, gym bag! it was ridiculous. i am so happy and relieved that i kicked the habit. i just went cold turkey on a tuesday in november. i had a cold during the beginning period too – so it was even worse. but i got through it and my suggestion to you all is “just do it.” my blood pressure actually has gone down too. i never thought the two were connected – but when my doctor told me they were – that was the point i decided to throw out all the bottles and never look back. good luck to everyone!

      • Jack in London says:

        I can relate to everyone here. I have been hooked on nasal sprays for nearly 30 years. Growing up, my mom was a nasal spray junkie, and I picked up the habit after a cold or something like that. They have ruined me in several ways: one, I feel like I can’t smell at all, I’ve mostly lost my sense of smell. I noticed when, a few years ago, I was at the beach and realised I couldn’t smell the sea, one of my favourite scents while growing up. Secondly, I have recurring nosebleeds. I am now going cold turkey, as I have had such bad nosebleeds this week that I’ve had to go to hospital twice to have them cauterised. I’m otherwise a very fit and healthy 49 year old. I just think that if something is causing that kind of bleeding, it just cannot be good for you. I’m going cold turkey. It’s difficult and uncomfortable, yes, but it’s the only way. The doctor told me that I must immediately discontinue use of the nose spray, and I don’t much feel like risking it.

  9. john says:

    when I was younger I constantly used the 4-way stuff which has a different active ingredient than affrin, as I could never get affrin to work. I quit using it cold turkey a long time ago and never need anything for a long time. now I have been addicted to affrin for almost five years, but just recently the effect is only lasting an hour or two. I have to do something about it. will probably try the one nostril at a time thing. Wish me luck.
    P.S. what is weird is that for the five years I have been using it, I have not been sick once, no cold, no nothing.(I do sneeze a lot though). has anyone else experienced this or is it just a coincidence?

    • Sally says:

      I can’t believe I’m not the only one who noticed that connection! It must be the acidity of the nasal sprays.

      As for the “addiction” part, I’ve found using saline spray while using a pseudoephidrene pill works for me. Oh, it’s so annoying though. My own fault, though.

  10. Gina says:

    I am a hard core Afrin addict. I have been that way for 10 plus years. Not just regular Afrin…it has to be No Drip severe congestion. I decided I needed to end my addiction. I went to an EMT and he told me that he had seen at least 4 others in the last few weeks with the same issue. He said that it is a huge problem. He put me on a week of steroids and then prescribed me Astepro and Flonase. I was amazed…it totally worked. I have since “relapsed” and an now back to a several bottle a week habit. I have to go back soon and redo the same protocol. Once I could breathe, I wasn’t very stringent with the flonase, which I am sure would have kept me breathing free. It’s interesting to read others fears about being in the hospital without Afrin. I used to have another medical problem which required frequent hospitalizations. I would often beg my husband to bring me Afrin. He hated to do it, but I just couldn’t breathe without it. I can’t wait to get off this stuff again!

  11. OxyMetoron says:

    I am gonna try the one nostril. It’s been about a year and it’s driving me crazy. Kicked a four year coke habit and a 12 year heroin habit that got to 3 gs a day which is almost 500 bucks a day. None of it as hard as this Afrin addiction. Has anyone tried using a netti pot. I tried the saline dilution trick which involved hours of blowing my nose and squirting endlessly which prob meant I consumed the same amount of Afrin in the end … In curious about netti pots. Anyone tried them?

    • Sally C. says:

      I was also addicted to coke which led to the Afrin addiction. The netti pot was great while using coke because it clears out your sinuses of all the build up but it will not help with the Afrin addiction. Your sinuses are constricting, not clogged. Try the one nostril at a time. It completely worked for me and I had a 5 year addiction to Afrin. I have been completely free of Afrin since 1/4/14 and feel completely back to normal! Good luck!!

  12. Karlyg says:

    I was on nose sprays for several months a few years ago. Went to a nose and throat doc and she gave me prednisone. I only needed it for about a week and it was much easier than I thought. The prednisone completely eliminated the sinus swelling and it was easy to give up the spray.
    Obviously prednisone is not a long-term cure for sinus problem, and it has it’s own side effects, but if you just want to deal with the sprays first, it’s fast relief.

  13. Sally says:

    Has anybody here found temporary relief by applying hydrocortisone cream on the nose and sinus area? It only helps for about an hour, but I swear it seems to help.

  14. Tim Granger says:

    Well gang, here’s an update.

    Jan 6th, 2014 visited my primary physician and was prescribed a Medrol Pack of 4mg over 6 days as well as Augmentin 875/125mg
    The fantastic news, the “rebound congestion is all but gone! I can freely breathe and haven’t touched that poison in 2+ days.

    I did the one nostril at a time thing…Left nostril I am 70+ days and clear…the right nostril 2+ days and I am FREE and I can smell EVERYTHING!

    Listen, results may not be typical for everyone, but it’s worth a look. I do, however, have a sinus infection, but the Medrol Pack opened me right up and gang, please look into at least mentioning that to your doctor.

    Be assured, I read everyone of these postings and I know where you all are at and I know it’s pure hell.

    They should NOT allow that poison to be sold.

    Good Luck gang and please…look into my posting ok ?

  15. jb says:

    Have anyone experienced not being able to sleep from using AFRIN lately I haven’t been able to sleep seem like I have shortness of breath at times and I sweat all of a sudden, have anybody else had this feeling using AFRIN any positive comments would help. Thanks

    • Amy says:

      Hi JB,
      I am up and on this site right now because I used some Afrin severe congestion menthol spray before bed and woke up with a panic attack… heart pounding, shaking, feeling like I couldn’t breathe. :-( Found a bunch of sites confirming these symptoms. First time it’s happened to me, though!

  16. Debby says:

    Having the problem with withdrawal myself, have to do it off and on whenever I have a cold. However, I have never been able to use saline solution, it swells my sinuses. I remember when I was young and went swimming, getting water in my nose would swell the sinuses just like the solution does now. I will try the one side at a time as suggested by many. It doesn’t take me weeks to get over it but it sure does hurt the head until I am withdrawn.

  17. Renee S. says:

    Here is my Afrin problem:
    I was addicted to it a few years ago and couldn’t get off if it. Finally I got the will power and managed to wean myself off. I suffer from extreme seasonal allergies… From march till about mid July my nose is so congested I can’t stand it. After going through a series of allergy pills I found Allegra D to work best for me, and finally NO AFRIN! :)
    Well… Currently I’m pregnant! :) however I came down with a Nasty cold and was so congested I broke down and got some afrin, thinking… This will help for the 3 days. Wrong! It’s been about 3 months maybe? Still on it, and now worried it’s bad for my unborn baby. I had asked my OB if it was ok to use… And she had said yes it should be fine… But I’m sure she wasn’t thinking I’d be on it for as long as I have been.
    I tried the one nostril thing and it didn’t seem to be working this time. I’m worried!!! Being congested to bad gives me anxiety!
    Help!
    -Renee

  18. Dana T says:

    I bet I can top all you’re addictions… I have been addicted to afrin since I was a child! I am 26 years old and have been using for like 15 years! I can’t stop and I’ve even had 2 surgeries to “fix” my problems!!!

    #imattictedtoafrin

  19. DAVID sMITH says:

    Great Site, so glad to know I am not alone. I have a messed up septum and had the surgery in 2006. The surgeon did not pack my nose during recovery as I use a c-pap and require my nose to breathe at night. Long story short the surgery didn’t take and I began using Afrin. Fast forward to 2014, still using the Walmart version, I find it actually works better, but my “window of relief” is growing smaller and smaller, (currently 2-3 hours). But my problem is the darn c-pap. If I do not apply the nose spray I will not be able to breathe through my nose and ultimately cannot sleep.

    Help!!??!!!

  20. Stu padasso says:

    Hey how’s it going guys thanks for taking the time to write down your experiences. I’ve been addicted to afrin severee Congestion no drip For about 1 year now. I’ve tried every allergy medicine before finding afrin… This last year has been like heaven to me I don’t snore anymore which is great too. I’m 5 minutes in to the one nose method. I hope it works I don’t even really want to get off I love it. yolo!!!

  21. Steven says:

    Reading this all makes me feel better and that I am not the only one going through this.

    My story… 4x per year habit initially (when I had a cold)… I was always able to get off of it in a few weeks.

    stopped smoking one day, started using nicotine nasal spray, used that for 3 years. FUBARED my nose. Then tried to break the nicotine spray and Afrin was the only thing that could do it. Nicotine spray habit was extremely difficult to break… On afrin for 2 years solid now… Couldnt break it….

    One nostril was always better than the other…. I decided to stop cold turkey (day 3 now). The one nostril was bothering me always kinda being clogged. I read that the more air through one nostril, the more open it stays. When both are “kinda” clogged, you can never get one nostril to get air through… So.. I did the drastic… I shoved a bounty paper towel (in a small piece that no one can see) up the blocked nostril… Just figured.. well its nearly blogged anyways.. so plug it up completely. Since I did that I can breath through the other “sometimes open one”. I realized I can survive breathing through one nostril…

    Both though? man, I don’t think I could go through life not breathing through my nose at all. So… block the closed one off. Bounty papertowl, little piece… Shove it up there so no one can see it. Change it once every 2 hours. You will notice when you take it out (at least at day 3), the other one will get clogged pretty quickly proving my point.

    Good luck…..

  22. Megan says:

    I have been addicted to afrin no drip for 3 years now. It’s pure hell everyday making sure I don’t go, or do anything without it. I want to try the one nostril thing, but I am terrified. The pressure is unbearable and I sound like an idiot when I’m swollen. My head hurts terribly when I go without for longer than 4 hours. I hope I can do this. I can’t smell anything and food just doesn’t taste the same anymore.anyway, I have high hopes so wish me luck.

  23. Sarah says:

    I recently started using Afrin to get rid of some allergy congestion… I used for about 2-3 weeks. Little did I know the addictiveness of that convenient little bottle. I am attempting the one nostril technique combined with diluting the afrin spray. Right now I am only using the spray on my right nostril and the left is completely blocked. The spray has been diluted with a simple saline spray (50/50). I am hoping that I can wean the right nostril and allow the left to repair on its own…. Fingers crossed! I am a baby when it comes to a stuffy nose. I will never use Afrin again! I will stick to using a Neti Pot, saline spray and visiting the doctor at the first sign of any nasal congestion. I will report back with my results as soon as I see some!

    • Sarah says:

      Well… I am still using the diluted spray in my right nostril BUT I have seen some improvements on my left. I took a long shower this morning and I have been able to breathe through my left (which has not seen any Afrin for 3 days) my right is congested but I am waiting to only used my diluted spray at night when I need to get to sleep. My left does get congested at night when I sleep. I still wake up every few hours because I cannot breathe BUT it is not as blocked as before. I am also chugging tons and tons of water in hopes that staying hydrated will help with this healing process. I have been doing a lot of research and have discovered that even saline sprays that do not contain the Oxymethazoline hydrocloride still contains a preservative (Benzalkonium Chloride) that may also cause some rebound congestion. I have stopped my saline spray as well and looking for an all natural saline without preservatives. Still on the search. Will let you know when I am back to “normal”.

      Relief is possible… your body just needs time!

  24. Pam says:

    My husband has been addicted to nasal spray for about 10 years. It’s hard to have to watch someone that you love suffer so much. And here we are at 1:00am reading about other people who have his same problem.

    As weird as it sounds, I am thankful to find that he is not the only one suffering with this problem. And he suffers EVERYDAY. He has nasal spray bottles beside the bed, on the dresser, in his coat pocket, in his car, in my car, EVERYWHERE!

    Thank you everyone for your post.He is sitting here now (and will probably be sitting here all night) with a wet rag that has “Vicks” vapor tub on it, over his face. (Wet the rag, put vapor rub on it, put in the microvave for 30 seconds … hold it close to your face .)

    He wants help … but it will almost be impossible for him to break the habit.

  25. jess says:

    I’m 24 hours into weaning off of afrin in one nostril. It’s going better than I expected. Very stuffed up on that side but it clears a bit every few hours before clogging back up, so occasional relief. After several attempts at using the neti pot today the liquid finally flowed through to the other side. Lying down seems to help more than anything.

    Also, I am far less itchy in my nostrils and sneezing 1/10th as usual. Wasn’t expecting that to clear up so quickly, especially since I’m still medicating one side. Good luck everyone!

  26. will says:

    Best thing to do is begin deluting the afrin with saline spray. Like 10% each bottle. Eventually the percentage of afrin is negligible and presto you’re free. I was addicted for a couple years and near the end it was awful. I would wake up in the morning and literally spend ten minutes spraying nasal spray in my nose. Sometimes as many as 12 sprays each nostril. When you use the dilution method if you notice there is less clearing from the same amount its okay. Just use a little more but keep diluting each bottle more and more eventually it won’t effect you at all. One day the congestion just never came back.

    • Nicole says:

      I can also attest to this 10% dilution method. I was addicted for 8 years until about 6 months ago when I decided to try dilution. I made up a spray with 18mls of Affrin, and 2ms of saline. Every time the spray ran out, I would put 2 mls less Affrin, and 2 more of saline (so ratio 16/4, 14/6, 12/8). Eventually I got down to straight saline which I continued to used alone for a couple of weeks, at night only. My security blanket of sorts! It’s now been almost 6 months and I have sprayed a thing into my nose since.

      Prior to kicking the habit I would have panic attacks if I couldn’t spray, so had bottles everywhere. Even the smallest amount of congestion would give me anxiety, so I would spray even when I wasn’t congested if i knew I wouldn’t be able to spray for an hour or so (say when in a meeting). Now I’ve only had a mild cold in the past 6 months, but I could handle the little bit of congestion without feeling anxious or using spray. It is so great to be free of the stuff!!

      • Nicole says:

        I should also add that I made sure that the saline I used was preservative free. Some studies found a link between the preservative found in Affrin and rebound congestion. While I couldn’t get the actual Affrin preservative-free, I reasoned that if the saline was that might make a difference.

  27. n.snapir says:

    My doctor who is a head of adeparment of nose-ear and throat in a well known hospital- told me that using once a day (before night sleep) tow drops of Otrivin in each nostril-does nay cause any harm.He calims that Otrivin is avery safe drug and that he has patients woh use it for mare than 20 years.

    • Michelle says:

      I had been with Otrivin for how many month now and I think it’s still not okay. My nose is still clogged, my situation hasn’t changed a bit unless I use the Otrivin and now I’m having a hard time to stop using it.

  28. Breanna says:

    I’ve been using sinex for over 4 months now. I use it every night before bed. Now I am congested and I cannot breathe at all! It’s driving me up the wall. I’ve known I needed to quit using nose spray for a while but I honestly couldn’t sleep without using at least a squirt of it before bed. I’m going to try the one nostril method. Has it worked out for you?

  29. Hooligan says:

    I had a septoplasty and turbinate reduction surgery in July of 2012. My ENT doctor told me it was ok to use Afrin in very small quantities once a day before bedtime to help me reduce swelling and get to sleep. I used it in that manner for almost a year following the surgery. Just a very small squirt in each nostril. I decided one day to stop using it as I had recovered nicely and I felt it was no longer necessary. So I stopped and had no issues whatsoever. My problem started back in early January when I got a cold. I hadn’t used Afrin in a long time at that point and decided to use it to help me get through. Well after the cold I developed a sinus infection, and now I was finding that a shot at night and a shot in the morning was “helping”. But I’d get up every morning and just sneeze my head off, at least two hours of grief. I was superficially aware of the fact that this crap could be addicting and I started to read into it more. Suffice to say I dumped it yesterday and went cold turkey. I had a Flonase prescription that I hadn’t used in some time, so I renewed it. I also bought some Sinus Buster which I have not had to use yet. I bought some Advil Cold and Sinus which does a good job of reducing swelling. Finally I bought some Breathe Right strips.

    With the combination of the Flonase, Advil, and Breathe Right strips I had a very good evening last night. When it was time to sleep it took me a while but I did, and got about 5 hours. The best thing about it all? I woke up this morning with a completely different feeling not only in my nose but also in general. Going forward I will NEVER touch Afrin again.

    The Breathe Right strips really help a great deal. I was always hesitant to try them because they looked uncomfortale, but they are a Godsend. If you haven’t tried them, give them a try.

    Good luck to all.

    Scott

  30. Miss says:

    I was an afrin user and I actually stopped using it today. The trick that really helped me was putting saline solution in my afrin bottle and I used it last night and I only woke up once and I could breathe fine. I used it this morning with the saline in it and it worked like a charm!!! I couldn’t be happier and I never knew that I could work so I am happy to say that if u are having these issues than do what I did and at night, add a nose strip bc that definitely helps too! I’m done w afrin and I will no longer purchase that awful stuff!

  31. Canadian says:

    Hi all! Back in 2011 I came across this website, read dozens of people’s stories and determined that, just like you, I was addicted to nasal spray. It all started when I was going through an awful Ragweed season – my allergies had me stuffed up 24 hours a day and the only relief was nasal spray. Ever since that day when I felt instant relief, I was hooked. I went about 5-6 years of being fully dependent on it before coming across this website and gathering the courage to do a cold-turkey quit. It has been 3 years now so I’m just here to offer my encouragement and support to anyone in the process of quitting or anyone considering quitting. You CAN do it, you WILL do it, and the freedom is SO SWEET!

    For anyone who is interested in my quitting experience:

    I will not sugar coat it. It was not easy. It was not just uncomfortable, it was downright painful and awful and I don’t wish it upon anyone. I decided to throw out my stock pile and just do it. No questions. It took about 45 minutes for the stuffiness to set in after my lass ‘puff’. I knew instantly I would be in for a treat, when the stuffiness just got worse and worse as the hours passed. I thought about digging the bottle out of the garbage, but I refused. By that evening, I was in pain. The stuffiness just kept getting worse and as it got worse, I got agitated and angry and had a few anxiety attacks. It was the typical chemical addiction withdrawal – agitated, aggressive, sweating, crying. The pain travelled down the back of my neck and through my jaw. I felt like my head was full of cement and overnight it just got worse. I did not sleep for one minute. But by the next morning most of the intense pain was subsiding. I was still stuffed up and would be for the next 2-3 days, but it was more just that irritating stuffiness than anything else. I was amazed that it took just under 24 hours for the worst of it to be over. Over the next 2-3 days, the stuffiness decreased gradually. I had a few moments where I went completely clear, but would stuff back in a few moments later. The stuffiness rotated sides, and eventually, it all just went away. For the next month or so I would get occasional stuffiness but it was very manageable. I purchased Hydrasense lubricating spray that has no chemicals, just watered-down vaseline/lubrication of some sort which eased the ‘raw’ feeling in my sinuses.
    I used it about 5 times a day, just to keep my sinuses lubricated, and by the time the bottle was finished, I was home free.

    It has been so worth it. It has been just about 3 years now, and I cannot tell you how great it has been to be off this stuff. I have never ‘relapsed’ and will never touch a bottle of this stuff again. Not even during the worst colds…It is the devil.

    I KNOW every one of you can do it!! The first 24 hours are pure hell but trust me… you CAN.

  32. CK says:

    I have been using Afrin for more than a year that started with a simple cold and as time passed my nasal congestion got worse until nasal spray would only provide minutes of relief. After going through total misery, I decided to go cold turkey and stop using Afrin. After two days of complete and painful congestion, I visited my doctor who worked with me and said not to ever touch nasal decongestants again and continue with my withdrawal that could last several weeks. He did give me a steroid shot that after a day or so provided some relief. After four or five days, I started seeing improvement each day. Yes, the first week was absolute misery. Now three weeks later,I am virtually back to normal and can breathe through my nose. Looking back, it was worth the days of discomfort and frankly torture to kick Afrin and the negative impact it has had on me. For those suffering there is hope if you can endure the withdrawal misery. Don’t be afraid to talk to you doctor.

  33. marco says:

    Well all the stories sound repetitive. As they are all very similar to mine life. I am 48 and have been using Afrin at a full ounce every 2-3 days since I was 18. I wake up 3-5 times every nt to spray just so I can sleep a few min. I wont go any were without a bottle and keep 4-6 spears in my house at all times. I keep an extra one in my car also. If I have to go under for a surgery which I have I would hide one between my legs so I can spray before I go under then after I wake “such fear”. I get so nervous with just the thought of not having it. I am about to start to wean myself off some how. Ive tried 1 at a time and cold turkey. I am feeling locked down and with no one but myself to do it. So here goes. I am starting with one nostril and to dilute at the same time…….I will keep you all posted…

  34. Adrienne says:

    Hi All -
    Thanks to everyone for posting such candid and helpful information!
    Can anyone tell me, is the symptom of rebound congestion simply stuffiness with very little mucus? I have had small bouts if overusing nasal spray for most of my adult life, I am currently 17 weeks pregnant and have been using it for about 5-6 weeks while getting through 2 back to back colds. I can’t tell if I am still having cold symptoms or if I am strictly in the rebound phase. I still have yellow mucus coming out, particularly in the am. I am sure I am having some rebound, but I don’t really want to start trying to wean off until my cold is gone. Any thoughts on this? Is rebound congestion the same symptoms as a head cold? Thanks all!

    • Renee S says:

      Hi Adrienne! I am also prego (22 weeks) and am stuck on using afrin. I have been since nov or dec when I got a bad cold. Basically the rebound is your passageways swelling back up and blocking the air from going in and out of your nose. If you can stop using afrin now I highly and strongly recommend you do so. Benadryl and sudafed ( the one you need your ID for) are both safe to take durning your pregnancy. Also the nasal irrigation bottle is really great and pushing the gunk out of your nose. It’s in the allergy aisle next to the netti pot. I prefer the irrigator over the netti, because you have to actually push the water through your nose.

      Stop the afrin and see how your nose reacts. If you get clogged up after 4 hours you’ve used it too long and most likely have the rebound congestion.
      Good luck, I’m still fighting it too… And good luck with your pregnancy!
      -Renee S

      • Adrienne says:

        Hi Renee – I just saw your response to my post, for some reason I didn’t see it before. It is nice to know there is someone else out there who is pregnant going through the same thing. How are you doing? I was doing well with weaning off using a saline mix and then my whole family got hit with a cold which I have now been suffering from for over 10 days. I know the congestion is being worsened by the Afrin, I am having to use it every 2 hours, and I was never at that high of frequency before. I am just so frustrated because all the over the counter stuff does nothing for me, Sudafed, Mucinex etc….At this point I think I am going to have to try 1 nostril at a time with a saline mix and suffer through it. I just cannot deal with the anxiety I feel when I can’t breathe….I feel like my doctors don’t really understand the issue. Has been such a frustration to go through this!

        • Renee says:

          Hey!
          It’s going… I’m 27 weeks and still stuck on afrin. :(
          My dr told me to “just stop” and I laughed, as I had been through that before. No fun!
          Try sudafed behind the counter, you get ID’d for it… Thy helps if you have a runny nose… But won’t help with the nasal swelling.. And it will raise your BP.
          Try one nostril at a time. I didn’t have any luck but I think that is because being pregnant makes you more congested.
          Good luck!

          • Adrienne says:

            Hi Renee – Here I am, up since 3am, I am at a point where the Afrin doesn’t even work on my right side. I did close to 10 sprays and NOTHING….so I am trying to fight through it. I have a toddler in addition to being pregnant so looks like this day is going to be hell. I just ordered the Rhinostat kit online and emailed my doctor to see if I can get Flonase or Prednisone? From reading this and other sites it seems like people have had some luck. Takes her a couple days to get back to me but I am Kaiser and when I call the advice line they also just tell me to stop :o( I tried cold turkey on one nostril yesterday and lasted about 3 hours….I get so anxious and panic stricken, feel like that is worse for the baby! UGH! I feel like this is so ridiculous and embarrassing!

        • Renee says:

          I have been there before with the 10 sprays and nothing happening.. I would get so anxious!! It was awful.
          Have you tried a saline irrigator? Not the netti pot, but the irrigator. You’d have to do it on a time you can breathe out of both nostrils other wise you can push fluid into your ear… When I had a cold that’s what happened to me. Very frustrating!!
          I can’t seem to get off this stupid afrin, even when doing the one nostril I end up caving.
          I can go about 3-4 hrs with 2-3 sprays… Once I start feeling the congestion coming back I spray again. That helps with the anxiety if being completely blocked up. But doesn’t help with stopping.
          Hopefully the product you purchased will help.
          I worried about labor for me.. If I am still taking afrin I’ll need it during birth! Awful thought…
          I basically hide the fact I use afrin all the time. :(

          • Adrienne says:

            Hi – So annoying, the site isn’t prompting me when there is a reply so I didn’t know you had responded. Seems like we are right in the same boat, If I am lucky I can make it 4 hours. Lately it has been 2 hours. Since my last post I have been to Kaiser twice, yesterday I saw an ENT and Allergist. ENT says I can’t take Flonase, basically my only option is to try to wean off. I got the Rhinostat kit yesterday, but it says you should only start it if you are 4-6 hours between sprays, so until then they recommend slowly spacing your doses by 5 min at a time. I got an email from my primary doc and she is now scaring me saying that the theory is that Afrin could cause blood vessels to constrict and restrict blood flow to the baby. But no studies done yet. I have a prenatal appt. next week and will talk to OB further, but in the past she is basically like “stop taking it”…hate when docs don’t understand the anxiety side of it. ENT seemed to understand but options are limited until birth. I had congestion with my last birth, and wound up having a C-Section and was lying on the table completely stuffed up. I wasn’t hooked on the Afrin as badly as I am now….but it was horrible. As some people on this site have mentioned, when you have a surgery they dope you up with Norco and other drugs and it helps stop the rebound congestion, that is what happened when my son was born. So at this point it is my last hope if I can’t get off before the birth, I am having a scheduled C-Section this time. If you are ever interested in emailing off this site let me know, it is nice to have the support of someone in the same boat with pregnancy!

    • Renee Sloope says:

      Hi Adrienne,
      I replied to you message but I don’t think it got published because I included my email address. :(
      You can find me on Facebook though!
      I’m struggling with the afrin still! So frustrating :(
      How are you doing?

      • Adrienne says:

        Renee –
        So sorry I haven’t responded sooner, are you in MA? I think I found you on FB, can send you a request.
        I am actually doing much better, I received the Rhinostat kit and was concerned because I was using the Afrin more frequently than they recommend for starting out, so I have to work on spacing out my usage to 4-6 hours. In doing that, I actually found I started having success with staying decongested for longer periods of time. I would only let myself push through the congestion on one nostril at a time, but I just kept setting goals for myself, I would pick a time I would try to make it to and then keep myself very busy and occupied until that time came, and then in some cases I felt comfortable enough to try to keep going past that. Before I knew it I was hitting 12 hours between usages and I am now Afrin free during the day. I am just having to use the Rhinostat at night in my right nostril, I haven’t used anything in the left for over a week. Have you tried something like this? I am not sure if I got lucky or that I maybe did have some sort of cold congestion that was also going on that was making things worse. let me know how you are doing, I want to be here to support!!

  35. Michael says:

    I use mostly just a cvs brand of nasal spray and i am currently using 1 squirt in each nostril roughly 2-3 times a day and most certainly once right before i go to bed otherwise its like clockwork, i will wake up completely stuffed with a dry mouth and a leather tongue because my nose closed up show on the breathing business and my mouth had to come in for relief. It is a vicious circle, you guys have said it best on here but I just don’t know what to do to get off the stuff, I cannot remain blocked when I’m trying to sleep. Thanks for the great ideas and i hope some of you are able to completely rid yourself of this stuff.

  36. Veronica Staples says:

    I am currently 14 hours into going cold turkey from my Afrin addiction. However, my situation differs from others that I have been reading on here. I am 3.5 months pregnant, which was the underlying cause (I think) of my congestion to begin with. Pregnancy rhinitis. I was wanting to ask those of you who went cold turkey all at once how long did it take before you started noticing an improvement in the swelling?

    • Adrienne says:

      Hi Veronica –
      I just saw your post, wondering if you had luck with the cold turkey at all? I am also pregnant and have been suffering from colds on and off since Xmas….I don’t know if some of it is pregnancy congestion or not, a lot of it is definitely sickness as my husband and son have also been sick. I am currently trying to fight through cold turkey on one nostril but I tried yesterday and only made it about 3 hours before caving in. Did you have success? How long did it take? Hope you are well!

  37. Jacob says:

    I’m so much like so many of you. When I was a young teenager I had a severe cocaine adiction and although it only lasted 2 years before I kicked it completely. I was using about an 10-15 grams of coke a day and have permanent damage to my sinus cavaties from it. When seasonal allergies hit I have times I cannot breath at all through my nose for days and I have sneezing attacks constantly, not all the time but during seasonal peaks about 6 or so times a day I have sneezing attacks for about 15 minutes. Anyways I had tried allegra and other allergy meds to no avail when I found Afrin no drip menthol. Like doing a line of coke, clear sinuses, can breath, felt great right? Wrong. The rebound congestion was so bad that I could not breath or even force air out or in my nose. So I only use Afrin on very severe cases when I absolutely cannot breath. To overcome the rebound congestion, I use flonase and all natural sinus wash every few hours a day until my sinuses heal. Flonase helps a bunch but nasonex does nothing. Regular saline does nothing and I am highly considering seeing a ENT DR. about checking to see if I have polyps or a deviated septom in my nose and get possibly sinus surgery to fix the problem. It sucks cause even when I have a clear nose it feels irritated and feels like I have a nose full of boogers and a sinus cavity full of mucus and that’s on good days. Hang in there people there is relief but you have to be patient and deal with the discomfort a little while until your sinuses heal. Flonase can help a lot with allergy like symptoms and at walgreens or most other drug stores they have all natural sinus wash kits for a few dollars those really help better than chemical sprays especially once the addiction starts to wear off they really work better. Also I have found that at least for me every day I use Afrin after it wears off it takes one full day(24 hours) for my sinuses to return to normal. 2 days use, 2 days recovery and so on. Hang in there people and you can beat the addiction.

    • Mike says:

      Wow, I never knee there was such a site for afrin addiction. I am 35 and up until 2 months ago I had never used Afrin. Right around Christmas, I was in the hospital for severe acid reflux. The acid reflux was then giving me a sensation of having a heart attack which then led to anxiety. Since then I have been on liquid carafate and prilosec to control the acid reflux with the occassional Ativan to help me sleep. Also during this same time I developed a cold, which led me to using Afrin, which I cannot stop. Thats why I am sitting here at 2am as I cannot breathe at all, and am contemplating using Afrin to get me through the nite. Just wondering if anyone has had acid reflux, anxiety, and the nose congestion all at once? And if so, how did you deal with it?

      • Ryan says:

        My story sounds similar to yours. I too, have acid reflux, panic/anxiety, and nasal congestion. It all started 4 years ago when I started to develop allergies at age 34. ( up until then I had zero) so I started to use afrin nasal spray. I was up to 4 squirts a day. Long story short I began having panic and anxiety attacks. Nasal spray constricts blood vessels and increases blood pressure. At the time I did not put the two together. So after 4 years of ssri’s and trying everything else, I have come to the conclusion that afrin(satan), has been the root cause of torment and discomfort. Started my detox today… Mixed half saline and half afrin to start. Plus my doctor prescribed Flonase. Good luck to everyone!

  38. Brian says:

    I have been cold turkey for the last four days,I have been taking sudafed and mucinex with little relieve haven’t slept more then 2 hours a day for the last four days,Icouldn’t take it anymore so I just took one squirt of afrin up each nostril and chased with saline how do you mix it when both bottles are sealed.I don’t have a empty squirt bottle.I hope I didn’t screw up I feel dizzy as shit now.

  39. Michelle says:

    never thought about this until I went to visit ENT yesterday and they can’t find anything wrong with me aside from their suggestion of removing an excess bone on my nose which is so ridiculous. I did a research and luckily found this site. I will try to do cold turkey on my right so I can still breath normally on my left. Hoping this will help me.

  40. mike says:

    Has anyone tried balloon sinuplasty? Has it helped you quit Afrin? I have been on Dristan, then Afrin, now Afrin with menthol (I use much less that way.) I also use flonase, as it cuts back on my afrin use. So, it balloon sinuplasty can help me quit afrin, I would do it!

  41. Joanne D says:

    Hello!
    I have been addicted to Afrin on and off for about 20+ years. About 10 years ago I started to use the Rhinostat system. It weens you off Afrin! Best system ever. Every time I get sick I use Afrin. Get addicted. Then use the Afrin systems to get off the addiction. It can be hard but within a week your good again. I also put peppermint oil under my nose to help me breath too.

  42. Sara says:

    I was addicted to afrin for just over two years. I was so relieved to find this thread of comments because they have really helped. I originally started by quitting cold turkey in my right nostril. Twice I slipped up and out of habit (in the middle of the night) sprayed my right nostril. Once I stopped using Afrin in my right nostril I noticed an immediate effect. It would get stuffed and then open and then get stuffed and then open. I went a month keeping that nostril free of afrin and only spraying my left nostril. I noticed at night that even though my nostril had been open all day, once I would lay down, the congestion would move from nostril to nostril depending on what side I was laying on. Once my nostril was free all day I decided to quit using the afrin in my left nostril. Two months after starting this I am happy to say i am completely afrin free! I feel like I can breathe better than I ever have and I am

  43. I Am Free says:

    I had been using a nasal for the past 6 years. Yesterday i decided that I am tired of freaking out whenever i cannot feel the bottle in my handbag when i am out of the house. SLeeping last night wasnt as bad i thought it would; day 2 today and i feel great :-D

  44. Colleen says:

    My husband is going thru the same problem. Right now trying cold turkey. We’ll see. He says Afrin should be a Rx. medication, and Flonase should be over the counter!

  45. D J says:

    Then there are those of us who never suffered rebound, but had chronic congestion before the spray. Does everyone have rebound, or am I the only one who doesn’t? Of course, I don’t use more than two per night, per nostril and I don’t cheat. If the air is unusually dry during the day I can get congestion well after the 12 hours are up just like I did before spray, but no cheating. I don’t even have a bottle at the office. No matter what–no cheating. The Afrin does work for me for the full 12 hours (more like 14) even after long term use.

  46. Ggirl says:

    Im reading all these post about people being addicted to nasal spray, I myself am addicted and have been since I was pregnant with my first child, he is now 18 years old. At the time my Dr told me that young girls who become pregnant will suffer from nasal congestion and using the spray will not harm myself or my child. needless to say I never got over it. Somedays I can go all day without using it but once or twice and others days I can use it several times. I wake up in a dead sleep just to use it at times. When Im sick with a cold it doesnt work at all. I never leave home without it,and have several bottles every where in my house or car. If I do happen to leave without it, I start feeling like I cant breath and need it ASAP. My question to everyone and anyone that knows the answers is, What is so wrong with using it? What harm is it doing? Like I said Ive been using it for almost 19 years and I have No problems form it what so ever and I dont plan on stopping anytime soon. I have had several Dr`s tell me its not going to hurt me.

  47. Cat says:

    Join the club as they say….been there done that….all those sayings seem to fit us all. Well, here is my experience. I have been seeing an allergist for 10+ years who told me to use afrin up to 3 times a day..who knew? Well, along with that he prescribed prednisone (medrol) and I was taking upwards of 100 tablets a month. Holy cow the pharmacist said, but it all worked. Well, until the next month. The allergist told me the best way to get off afrin is the prednisone, but how do you get off prenisone, which is VERY bad for your body. It would take me pages to tell you all the side effects of both meds. Long story short, I was addicted to both, and miserable to say the least. Took a trip last summer and hubby was in a Whole Foods store and talked to a lady there about my problems…she recommend I try a product called XLEAR. It is a spray made up of all natural ingredients, mostly the sugar substitute Xylitol and grapefruit extract. The website says it is primarily to keep the sinus cavity moist and therefore helps keep bacteria at bay. Well, I started using it several times a day (sometimes more) on Aug. 29 of last year. I have NOT had a single prednisone since and my afrin use cut back to maybe once or twice a month using it one day only. My smell came back this past Jan. and I was elated. It truly was a miracle for me because while I once in awhile felt a little stuffy it was nothing compared to the past. I continue to use it several times a day whether I feel the need or not.

    Two weeks ago I came down with a terrible head cold (some in the chest too). Well, as in the past I was going to use the afrin only once or twice, but this darn cold has hung on and hung on for two weeks now. Yes, I admit, I have used afrin EVERY day and it scares the hell out of me. I only use it once a day, but that is enough to get the nasal passages addicted. So, I feel the head cold is finally starting to get better, but now the battle to stop the addiction again. Last time it was so easy and I am hoping this time will be as well.

    If you try the XCLEAR, just go cold turkey and use only the XCLEAR, even if you have to use it a dozen times a day. It can’t hurt you and there is no addiction, other than making your sinus feel normal.

    Good luck to everyone and to ME as I try again to “get clean”….lol

  48. Katrina says:

    I was hooked on nasal spray for 14 years. I finally kicked the habit , cold turkey. Just went off of it, threw the bottles in the trash and called in sick for 3-4 days because the misery I was going through. I was “clean” for years, about 9. Now , I have been using it for 6 months now because I got a stupid cold and got “hooked” again. I tried to go off of it today , cold turkey. My passages swelled up so tight, my head felt like it was going to explode. My nasal passages were dripping…. I don’t know how it got around the clogged turbinates. I was sooooooo miserable, I squirted again…. Now breathing comfortably…. But I failed. I have to stop this crap. I am a nurse practitioner and I know better. I am trying the one nostril method. I just don’t have the will power to stop cold turkey like I did before…. I feel like a druggie.

  49. tedB says:

    This has helped me find the courage to started the ween one nostril at a time. My last spray in my right side was yesterday at 2pm. I got the breath right strip to help with the pressure. It’s still congested. But not nearly as bad yesterday. I was able to spray my left nostril before bed and took a Zanax to help with panic attacks. I was able to sleep a whole 6 hours without waking up to spray my left again. I’m hoping with my doctors appointment in a few days my right is not as stuffed so I can start on not using the spray on my left. I have been addicted for 2 years now since I had severe congestion while I was pregnant. I’m so done with all the side effects afrin has caused me.

  50. Chris says:

    ****continued*****
    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.

  51. Val says:

    Looking foward to your update!

  52. 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.

  53. cat says:

    Chris, definitely want to hear your results!

  54. abby says:

    hey chris! how’s it going?

  55. svolan117 says:

    read my comment above yours man

  56. 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!

  57. hookedonafrin says:

    did this ever work?

  58. 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?

    Majella

  59. bill gimbel says:

    sinus buster made it worse for me

  60. 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

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  1. […] nose spray addiction started last year when I was having what I swear was the biggest congestion problem on earth. Last […]

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