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Nose Spray Addiction
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Nose Spray Addiction

So, I've decided to clean house.    

I've kicked my Soma addiction back in June, I am kicking my Hydro addiction this week (day 3) and now I want to.......kick my nose spray addiction.  Yes.  I am addicted to Afrin nose spray.  I have been addicted for probably 5 years or more.  Problem is I have BAD seasonal allergies.  From March to June I am a complete mess.  But, July through Feb I'm ok, but can't put the spray down.  I stock up on Afrin like it's the end of the world!!  Out of all my addictions, this one has to be the most....embarrassing.

Anyway, my question is.....have any of you on this board been addicted to nose spray?  I don't even know where to start to kick this bad habit.  How long did it take you to get better?  What was your method for recover?   What was your remedy?

Thanks!
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28 Comments Post a Comment
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175734_tn?1225138040
Wow....I had a problem with afrin too. It shrinks the blood vessels in your nose and so helps you breath.....The more you use it the more you need and then you have stretched the blood vesels out so much that (like and old pair of socks) they will not go back.

I went to doctor b/c my wife couldnt take the nose problems i was having and he said it looks like a shotgun went off in your nose. I snore real bad.

I have not used afrin in a long time and im not real sure why... I do know this...when i get a bottle i spray out like half of it and then add water. That seems to really help.
I think i kinda used this method to taper down. Its been about a year now.
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Avatar_f_tn
Good post! I have been addicted to afrin nose spay off and on for over 10 years.I too have bad allergies. I can't not stand my nose stuffed up at all. My grandpa , dad, and brother all have been addicted to 4-way nose spray. They don't seem to plan on stopping. I am currently using the afrin nose spray again b/c I got sick and had a stuffed up nose. I also can't sleep with my nose just a little stuffed up. The way to get off it is to go to your primary care or allergist or ear nose and throat doctor. They will give you a strong steriod shot and a steriod nose spray such as nasonex, rhinocort, or flonase....they have many more. The allery spray they have doesn't work for me. I use Flonase 2 puffs 2x a day. So I hardly use the afrin. If you do the steriod shot, steriod nose spray, it will get you off of it in about a week or so. If you can't take it , my doc told me to take a cu tip and put a lil afrin on it and put it up your nose to up at the top and I did that and I got off of it many times doing that. It's just everythime I get a cold with a bad stuffy nose I get hooked back on the afrin again. Im trying to get off again. I know its a pain and embarassing using the afrin...well it is for me. You can do it! ?Your primary care or the docs will know what to do. You will be fine. Oh and everytime the doc looks up my nose...lol....he's like omg its a mess but then it gets back to normal!
Good luck sweetie!
Shell
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579469_tn?1311709150
Wow!!  I'm not the only one!!!   You know what's the most embarrassing is feeling like I have to use it everywhere I go.  I've "shot up" in restaurants, at work, at family events, amusement parks, you name it.   HOW EMBARRASSING!  

So, I already have a prescription for Flonase....but need to get it filled.  I fell off the Flonase wagon.  Got tired of shooting two sprays in my nose.  lol  I will restart the Flonase and talk to my doc about possible steroid pills if she deems it necessary.  C/t SCARES me to death!!!  

Good luck to you too Shellbell.  

Coolio, I am so jealous!!!  lol   Tapering sounds smart.
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352798_tn?1399301754
Flonase can irritate if used too often. When your nose plugs up, do some pushups. It will open the nose up. Use a nasal rinse with 1 cup warm water and 1/4tsp plain salt (no iodine) I use a baby's nose syringe and gently rinse out the nasal cavities.
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352798_tn?1399301754
Oh and what you are experiencing is called nasal rebound. When you spray, your nose clears but then the body kicks back in to plug the nose back up.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am just curious I don't know what nose spray feels like I was wondering what it makes you feel like that keeps u coming back to it? Is it like take pills? Do you get a I feel hops feeling? And I wish yous the best of luck stoping. I'm clean 2 week now from percs.
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352798_tn?1399301754
For me it was the freedom to breath clearly. No high just clear nasal passages. Mine were/are usually plugged. It isn't a true addiction but rather, the more you use it the less effective it becomes or it just doesn't last as long.
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210982_tn?1280987495
This is a new one to me...I am curious...what is the addiction? Does it give you a high? I have just never heard of this..

Thanks...I do hope you get thru this and I am sorry this is so tough for you..keep us posted
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352798_tn?1399301754
Look at my post above you.
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579469_tn?1311709150
About Nose Sprays:

There's absolutely no high when using nose spray.  What you get is clear wide-open nasal passages.  Nasal spray is a God-send when you have a bad cold or allergies and you can't breathe.  The directions say only use 3-4 days or so.  Beyond that you start to develop a physical addiction. This means that abrupt cessation results in your nasal passages swelling shut for up to 4 - 8 days or so with virtually no relief until they open back up naturally again, i.e. breathing through your mouth for about a week, day and night.  NO.  FUN.  You can get migraines and bad headaches from having swollen nasal passages.  You're uncomfortable in your head for about a week.  There's no nausea or or anything like that.  Your sinuses are going through physical withdrawals.
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579469_tn?1311709150
Hey scaredmommie,

Congratulations on two weeks clean!!! Wow!!  I am going on day 4 of quitting Hydros.  I quit soma in June.  The w/d's were 1000 times worse than the hydro w/d's.  Good luck to you, and everyone on this board!!  What a great place!
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Avatar_f_tn
Well I never tried the steriod pills b/c I hate the side effects and the way they make me feel. Most every doctor that Ive been to for the past 15 years will give you a steriod shot or corsizone...spelled wrong..bascially the same thing. The steriod shot will help big time with the swelling of the nose for about 2 to 4 days, depends on the person. Flonase and all the steriod inhalers help so much and the doctor will definatly give you that. yeah and just like GoingTo MakeIt said the Afrin,4-way nose sprays, etc. will give you a rebound effect and thats why people get addicted to them....like me...everytime I get a cold or allergies. I can not stand having a severely stuffed nose. Oh and yes using O/C saltwater spray helps clear things out up there too. Ive gotten off it many times and I CAN NOT STAND having a stuffy nose at all. Im almost off the afrin now. Yea! Good luck to everyone getiing off the nose spray!
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579469_tn?1311709150
I'm the same way....I can't stand not breathing though my nose.  I feel like I'm suffocating.  It's just awful.

Never had a problem with steroids.  Had to take it twice in my life in the last 2 years.  Once for some really bad swelling on my face and again from getting hives from penicillin (now I have to wear a medical bracelet for penicillin allergies).

***** to be me. lol
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372416_tn?1242669352
I had nose spray addiction in my teens and didn't even know it.

I just thought I had severe stopped up nose.  I was using spray for about a year, when my mother finally sent me to a doctor.

I couldn't beleive that my problem was the nose spray.  But I did as the doctor said....throw it away, and in less than 10 days I was all clear!

It's hard to put it away without sounding like you speak w/a hot potatoe in your mouth, but it'll be worth it!

Best Wishes,
Pamela
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey sparkie,
lol Im allergic to pennicillin (penicillin) too and sulfur anti-biotics. I broke out in hives when I was a baby from pennicillin (penicillin) and my doctor said when I was 17 and I had mono with a bad throat infection, they tried me on it again b/c sometimes you can grow out of it. Nope i didn't. OMG, I had these horrible little red , itching bumps all over my body for over a month...so embarassing, especially being a teenager with a cute bf...lol. It's a shame b/c pennicillin (penicillin) is such a good anti-biotic. I never thought about wearing a med. bracelet. Need to get one. I just remembered that my face was swollen from the mono and the hives and I had to re-take my senior pics 3 times b/c I was so swollen in the face. the first 2 looked horrible and then my 3rd take it was night and day...perfect pic! But, my yearbook pic has the first one so I taped my good one over it..lol. So glad your doing well. Don't worry you will be fine getting off the nose spray. I am personally having now severe allergies from the debris and everything being stirred up in the air from GUSTAV. So I am taking the Afrin just a little bit with allegra -D and Flonase. Oh yeah , get some allegra-D too. That will help you wean off the nose spray too. Forgot about that one.
So proud of you! Good luck! PM if you every need anything!
Shell
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579469_tn?1311709150
WOW!  My sister has severe allergies to sulfates.  She has to watch everything she eats and uses on her body (detergent, soap, shampoo, perfume, etc.)  She had an allergic reaction to penicillin years ago and the doc put her on a sulfer based antibiotic.  She developed a worse reaction to that than the penicillin.  Her life has never been the same since.  

When I had my allergic reaction to penicillin this past winter, the ER doc (I was in ER at 2am)  prescribed sulfer based antibiotics even after I told him what happened to my sister.  He prescribed them anyway.  I never had the script filled.  Grrr.  I wanted to throw it in his face.

So what were we talking about?

Oh, nose sprays. lol

So, I ordered a...don't laugh...nose spray taper system called Rhinostat.  Ever heard of it?  It's supposed to slowwwwly taper you from your nose spray to a placebo water solution.   I think it's a 30 day program.  Yeah, that's a long time, but I'm a BIG FAT WIMP.   :)  
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Avatar_f_tn
great post!

i recently got hooked on the stuff (the last month) and YES, it feels like if i don't use it now i can't breathe... and the allergies right now are heinous everywhere.  

thank you for the good advice!!

and again to those who asked - there is no high.  it just really ***** when you can't breathe thru your nose...
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Avatar_f_tn
I just recenetly in the past 5 years b/c allergic to sulfur.Yeah its not fair b/c we can only take certain anti-biotics that are strong and expensive. I know of the steriod nose spray Rhinocort...maybe its the generic. I know Rhinocort which is a steriod nose inhaler works awesome, its similiar to flonase, nasonex, etc. You will get releif in a week or so. With my steriod shot and allegra d, flonase and putting a cu-tip  way up my nose with a little afrin on it helped big time. I am a Big baby too and I got off it in less than a week. I just read about Rhinostat and its basicly afrin diluted with saline sloution. A longer wean. Its does say you can use a steriod nasal inhaler with it, which would probably get you off faster. I couldn't wait 30 days or even 2 weeks personally. But good luck to you!
I hope its works well for you. ps.I am scared to death of shots but my nose and severe congestion was so bad , I said do it....they can put lidiocaine in the shot and you barely feel it. I basicly helps you big time with the first few bad days. If I can get off it, you can too. Well Ive gotten off it a bunch of times b/c I always have to use the afrin when I have cold, severe sinus infections and BAD allergies. I am proud of you!
Again good luck!!!
Shell
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Avatar_n_tn
hi guys i thinki may have the same thing i'm very addicted to nasal sprays had a real bad sinus infection that will not go away been to the ear nose and thoat doc  have to go on monday and take a ct scan .oh the first doc said that he saw a nasal polyp but the last doc didn't, i'm waiting to have my ct scan to see what he see but anyway the  addiction is very bad i need the spray all day and nite
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653923_tn?1225948192
Years ago, I had an afrin issue, but my dr said it was OCD?? Who knows. I now use a neti pot daily, it looks like an actual tea pot, it is filled with saline solution, you pour it in one nostril and it runs out the other. Clears up all my allergies. I have been using this for 2 years. You can get them at walgreens. It's just salt water... Thought this might help
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Avatar_m_tn
thry the saline nasal spray its not addictive
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441382_tn?1329196690
I've been hooked on those stupid nasal sprays three different times in my life, and all the times that I've gotten off them, the only thing that worked for me was to just CT and stop using them.  I would have approximately 24-36 hours of not being able to breathe through my nose and then after that it started to clear up.  Within a week I was breathing normally without the aid of the "sniffer"  In all three instances I KNEW I shouldn't go back to using one, but I had develoed HORRILBE head colds complete with a totally stuffed, itching nose, and it was either use a nasal spray or go crazy!  I knew that as soon as I used one I'd be hooked instantly again, and I was right.  But as long as you can tolerate the stuffiness for a day or a day and a half, cold turkey is the way to go with those things.  It's so nice to not have to worry about forgetting to take it with you if you go away for a weekend!

Ghilly
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Avatar_n_tn
r there any alternatives to afrin?  ive been using for almost a year now and would love to stop.  Only problem is that my nose swells shut 100% and out of the many many allergy pills/sprays/medicines ive tried afrin is the only 1 that works.  im allergic to dust and pollon and most likely need surgery.  ive narrowed it down to either being nasal polyps or just really bad allergies all over (i have yet to confirm these tho).

It was so bad at one point that for an entire year i got no more then 5 hours of sleep per night then would burn out in the middle of the week and sleep all day because the feeling of being 100% swollen shut was so uncomfortable.  also i use a neti pot when ever i can but usually my nose is so swollen (even afrin hardly works anymore) that the water cant get through my nostrils.

any advice?
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Avatar_n_tn
*status update*

well its been over a month and in that time ive weened myself down to using afrin twice a day once in each nostril.  Once in the morning after i wake up and once at night right before i go to bed.  Although in the morning i usually go back to sleep because a swollen nose is what woke me up in the 1st place.

All in all this is the perfect balance barely have to buy new spray bottles anymore because i use it only wen compltely necessary.  So for anyone out there like me my advice is this.  If you absolutely need to use nose spray like I do use it only when it's most vital.
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Avatar_n_tn
The bumer in nasal sprays is Oxymetazolene HCL.  If taken for  more than 3 or 4 days in a row the reaction
is a congestion worse than you began with. It is a counter reaction.  Anyone taking over the counter
sprays for more that 3 to 4 days is giving themselves the congestion they are trying to cure.  Oxymetazolene
HCL shrinks the blood vessels.  The best cure is quite "cold turkey" if you can take the "reflux" for a day or
two. To help during "cold turkey" exercise and breathe cold air to cool down the inflamation (inflammation).
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1546806_tn?1293682713
I am among those who have been addicted - and then got addicted AGAIN (and yet, again) - to nasal spray, particularly Afrin. The first time was when I was 11 years old, and now at 39, I've been on it for 3 years straight. I know how scary nasal spray addiction can be. I've been there many time. As an RN, I wanted to post my experience for those who are bravely approaching the realization that this habit has to stop at some point.

1) Congrats for being brave. Most of us have some sort of chronic sinus condition (I have recurring sinusitis related to seasonal and pet allergies) that lead us to use the product for something other than an acute common cold.

2) This is a CHEMICAL. It isn't good for our bodies. Just because it is OTC (over the counter) does NOT mean it's ok to use for more than three days at a time.

3) The best way, in my opinion, to fight the physiological rebound condition in the nasal turbinates (your nose) and sinuses AS WELL AS the psychological fear that the pain of quitting might bring is to go "cold turkey." By doing it all at once, you break ranks with having to use a product in order to breath.

3) Create a serious space for yourself to do this if you can:
      a. If you can, do this on your day-off. Plan to spend it in bed with a box of tissues.
      b. KNOW that it will NOT be long before you can breath again. Take your last spray at bedtime so that it will give you a good
           night's sleep. In the morning, you will feel the rebound coming on. It's ok. Set up your space to be "sick" for a day. You are sick!
           But it isn't a recognized condition in the medical community as "needing acute care help" yet.
      c. Here's how it went for ME this week: spent the day with SOLID sinuses for 18 hours (complete with mouth breating!),
          stuffiness for 24 hours, and am now breathing comfortably now at 36 hours.  It will take a good week or so to have it out of our
           consciousness, but at two days, I'm healing and can sleep at night. It takes more energy to go out and pay $8 to replenish our
           stash of Afrin than it does to quit.
      b. Over-the-counter items that can help:
              1. Advil or ibuprofen per the box's instructions as an anti-inflammatory and for body aches.
              2. Diphenhydramine (the pink allergy pills) to combat any allergies that can make quitting worse.
              3. Alka Seltzer - (I had body aches. AS really helps me psychologically, too)
      c. Your doctor might be able to help you out with Prednisone or prednisolone as a steroid to help you quit in the first three
           days,then a steroid nasal spray like Nasonex to deal with the underlying condition that makes you want to use the spray for
           chronic conditions in the first place.

Good luck. My name is Anne Judson on FB if you need help or a friend to hold your hand. I've done this for most of my life and know how GREAT it feels to let go (again) of the need for nasal spray. If we pay it forward enough, perhaps the FDA will make the company provide to physicians a protocol to others who get into our situation.
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Avatar_f_tn
i know this was posted 2 yrs ago but it caught my attention. did you break the nasal spray habit?  i was addicted for many years, longer than you. my ear-nose-throat doctor had to do several surgeries. but after the third one i was finally off for good. i've got better controll now, buz surgeries in your sinus cavity ***** monkey balls. i hope you did better than i did. it took 3 surgeries for me to get off it.
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Avatar_m_tn
I was on Afrin for 2 years, and my doctor gave me Sudafed and said that it would keep my nasal passages open enough for me to quit Afrin cold turkey. It worked, but barely. The Sudafed would allow me to breathe through my nose but it took an effort to breathe in and out. I suffered it out for around 6 days and finally one miraculous day, my nose cleared up. Then a few years later, I got a cold and used Afrin again (what a dummy!). Had to go through the whole cold turkey thing again, and it was a miserable several days. Recently a pharmacist told me to not use Sudafed. It "clogs the pipes" if you are a guy. That is, when you pee, you just trickle. It doesn't flow well if you know what I mean. Also, Sudafed is not a semi-controlled substance. Here in Utah we have to let them make a copy of our driver's license when we buy Sudafed, and we are limited to 2 packs at a time. It is used to make meth, and is usually kept behind the counter at drug stores. Mucinex Sinis-Max is better, but both it and Sudafed also give you the jitters and makes sleeping difficult. You just have to tough it out and it is worth it once your nose opens when it is good and ready to.
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