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You probably know someone who has had a runny nose for more than a week, maybe even more than a month. New research has found that it may not be wise to use nose drops periodically, because it can be addictive.
If you have a minor nasal-related problem, you should try some other solutions first, such as saline. If you have serious problems, seek a doctor’s advice. Most doctors include nose drops as a simple treatment option, but how easy is it to develop nose drops addiction?
Medical term for nose drops addiction
Rhinitis medicamentosum, or RM, is a fancy name for being addicted to nose drops that many people use. Do we really know what happens when the nose becomes stuffy and we cannot sleep? We just use the nose spray and open the breathing pathways quickly, so we can rest easily.
However, later on the nose clogs up again, and we use the drops again, maybe more that the first time. In the beginning, we only use them every 12 hours or so, then every 8, and then every 6 hours. Some people even reported they have to use nose drops every 4 hours. Although we know the bottle says “only use for a few days”, the nose plugs up unless we use the drops. Meanwhile, some people experience nervousness and irritability. This is the adrenergic effect of the drops, whether taken orally or as nasal spray.
There are some common nasal sprays that can cause Rhinitis medicamentousm, such as Oxymetazoline, known as Afrin, Phenyleherine or Neosynephrine, and Xylometazoline known as Otrivin or Inspire. Any constrictor nose drop can cause you to become addicted. There is evidence that although Afrin shrinks the nasal tissue, BZK irritates it so that you need more Afrin. The important conclusion is, products without BZK may not cause RM. There is high incidence of RM probably because these medications are so readily available.
It is easy to tell the patient to stop using the product, but their misery is quite severe and often willpower does not work to keep them away from the addictive cure. One solution is a course of Prednisone with antibiotics, which shrinks the nose and reduces inflammation.
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