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nasal spray addiction
it appears that i have been addicted to the neosyneferin nasal spray for two years now..it all began when i became ill with a siunus infection and i needed something to open my nasal passages..i started on the neosynefrin and could never get off it after that..i also suffer from time to time with what the doctor refered to as medicine nose, which is what i am going through again at the moment..my nose is continually blocked with constant discharge..i need to spray almost every half hour or so and sometimes more frequently..i'm nervous and panicky, irritable, can only sleep at one hour intervals and feel like i'm suffocating...i dread going to another specialist and being told that the only way out is going off the spray cold turkey which is unimaginable or having an operation..please tell me that in this day and age there is another possible route out of this madness..

desperate for your reply,
stephanie
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Thank you for the info...maybe you could stick around and give us alot of advice..which is always welcome here    love to all cin
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I've been having a similar struggle with Nasal Spray but mine goes a little beyond the recovery.  I've been off of the nasal spray for over a year now, but ever since I've had at least one nasal passage full of mucus.  Not only that, but the back of my throat where my nasal passages connect to my throat, there's always a funky taste or smell coming from there.  Gross I know, if I swallow I can feel something.  Ugh it's hard to explain.  but after I told my doctor he sent me to an ear nose and throat doc and he just put me on two weeks of nasal steroids that did nothing.  any suggestions?  could it be a lingering infection of some kind?  The E,N,T Dr. didn't see anything alarming apparently.  I hate the feeling of one nostril always being blocked and full of mucus :(  somebody help!  
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Probably not the case, but I often get Tonsilloliths. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsilloliths
They taste and smell horrible.

Just wanted to say that I quit cold turkey many years ago and I am very happy I did.

Kind of a distant memory in my mind, but I remember being addicted for 4 or so years.
My mom bought Otrivin for me when I was 8 years old because she was tired of me complaining about a stuffy nose.

I started off just using them when I had a cold and couldn't breathe properly.
But then I couldn't get over how easily I could breathe when on a nasal spray.
Even when I was healthy, the nasal spray would allow me to take in incredibly deep and unrestricted breaths of air.

I began to take the Otrivin out of the medicine cabinet and spray it in my nostrils everyday. One gets so used to it, that later on you increase the concentration to meet your needs.

Over the years I always had an Otrivin bottle stashed somewhere. When I went to a friends house for a sleep over I made sure I had one in my pocket.
Missing a night made me miserable. Something my mom couldn't take, so she kept on buying me refills.
Some nights when the container was running low, I would cut the container open and make use of all last drops that I could get out of the bottle.

It was a great feeling -- being able to breathe so well. I despised breathing through my mouth, and at this point, if I ever missed a day, my nasal passages would totally close up -- not being able to breath through my nose at all.

Well, I think it was when I was 12, my mom said enough is enough. She no longer bought Otrivin for me and for the next couple of weeks (forget how long it took), I was forced to breath through my mouth.
It was tough for me. I felt like I couldn't get enough air in and was going to suffocate.
The skin in my nostrils also seemed to get inflamed/easily irritated.

Now I am in my 20's and believe that I can breathe as well as I used to without the nasal sprays.

Again, I am very happy that I stopped and suggest to anyone that is currently addicted to find the courage and stop cold turkey ASAP.


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344205 tn?1196933338
I too used to be addicted to nasal sprays! Mostly dristan.The Only way I got off was with oral steriods to bring down the inflamation!! First they gave me an injection to BOOST the efffect! That worked wonders for me!!! Forget cold turkey! It don't work! Also long term nasal spray use can affect your sense of smell,as it sure did me!! It took 4yrs to get my smell back! I ONLY USE COLD PILLS NOW!!!!! My Dr will give me a rx for sudaophedreine if it is severe.In MN you can't get it without a rx due to heavy meth use here. Sure hope this helps you
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I have a bad addiction to nasal spray an cold turkey will not work I just panic like crazy because I cannot breathe through my nose and it is a horrible feeling. My doc gave me a steroid shot and some nasonex it has been 2 days and the stuff seems to be helping. I also have quit nasal spray in my right nostril for 4 days and in my left I took a bottle of saline solution and added 1cc of nasal spray. Now I am sraying one nostril 5 or 6 times a day but with mostly saline solution with just a little bit of the nasal spray added to the bottle. I believe this is the best way to ween yourself off. I am also taking oral decongestant but I think this may be drying me out. I hope that this helps someone. If you are having trouble try this method. Also Breathe right strips do work well at night along w/ a warm air vaporizor with medicated solution going in the room while you are sleeping. Most Vaporizors will last for 10-12 hrs make sure to add salt to the water for maximum steem. Good luck people I'm know I'm gonna make it now and it feels great. U can too good luck.
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228686 tn?1211558307
This is a very old thread (2001) so don't be surprised if these people don't respond back. :)

I will say that OTC nasal sprays are VERY physically addictive short term. The rebound effect is monstrous!
I had a singing audition once and had a cold, and used Dristan the whole day up to the audition. The next day I thought my head was going to explode. It took a few days before I got back to normal. I'd never use one again unless it wa a like emergency.
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It's me again just wanted to report that is has just been a couple days now it has been almost 27hrs since i have sprayed anything except saline solution and I feel great. This method will work there is help just remeber. First get off one nostril then take steriod shot from your doc or vice versa whichever is easier 4 u. I think getting off one nostril first will make it easier but that's just me. Mucinex decongestant oral works great get this at pharmacy from behind the couter. Then mix down your nasal spray try 1 cc with bottle of saline or mix half an half if this does not work. Gradually reduce at your own pace using breathe right strips at night and when needed. Good luck I know it seems hard now but it not 2 bad trust me I have been where u are.

P.S. Vick's vapo rub and a warm air vaporizor or 2 can't hurt and a friend of mine who did this COLD TURKEY said she kept a Halls Menthlyptus drop in her mouth the whole time almost. YOU CAN DO IT. GET ON IT
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I was addicted to Afrin for 18 years.
I used my own method that beats all of these. I am not looking to make money off this. Just willing to help. I have been off of it since 1996. I did it with no withdrawl symptoms. I already helped a few people get off of it. Feel free to email me at ***@****
Dan
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352798 tn?1399301754
emails are not allowed on the forum, and you are posting on an older post
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I just realized i do have an addiction. i didnt believe myself when i started waking up each night going through he medicine cabinet to find otrivin. i was at the door once going out and found myself runing back in to get otrivin and then i realized there is something wrong here, i think i might have an addiction, it doesnt make sence to me, but now after reading all this i realized that it does happen, i will start trying out the one nostril at a time thing and see how that works, i just cant breath from my mouth!! Thanks for having such a topic discussed.
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I was addicted to otrivine nasal spray for many years. I didn't realise it was a problem until one day when it registered that I'd only bought a bottle of the stuff two weeks before - I thought 'how many of these bottles am I getting through?' I tried going cold turkey a couple of times but just ended up back on the otrivine again - it was too difficult I felt like I was suffocating. I went to the doctor for help who gave me a beconase spray which didn't even begin to touch the congestion or 'rebound congestion' as by now I realised this was what it was. Then I came to this site and read that someone had tried going cold turkey one side at a time. I thought this really made sense so I used otrivine on the left side and the beconase spray prescribed by the doctor on the right as well as inhaling eaucalyptus oil and dabbing a little under my nose before bed. It wasn't easy to start with and I had disturbed sleep at night f or a while but when the right side was nice and clear I then tackled the left side. Three months on I am completely free from the misery caused by rebound congestion and now if I am bunged up I inhale eucalyptus oil-just a few drops in steaming hot water. I also bought a product called SINOL from an internet website which is homeopathic and is not addictive, the peper in it is meant to clear sinuses and congestion - if I have a cold and am feeling  very bunged up I have a few puffs of that but generally do not need anything now. I hope this may help someone - I was so desperate 3 months ago I thought I'd just have to keep taking Otrivine. I took great pleasure in binning the seven or more bottles I had dotted around the house - one in my makeup bag, one in the bathroom cabinet etc etc crazy. Good luck to anyone attempting to free themself from the misery nasal spray addiction causes - YOU CAN DO IT!
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Rhinostat is a joke and it does not work. It's a waste of money, I've tried it. You're better off going cold turkey, the first day is the worst. If you can make it through a whole week you'll be fine. Just don't use it. Don't believe the hype, there is nothing to aid or ween you off. In fact, "weening" will most-likely just lead to full-on use again. Trust me, just put it down and suffer for a week or two and you'll be fine.
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Rhinostat isn't all it's cracked up to be, no - but the idea of weaning yourself off of the compulsion to use the sprays by a dilution method is the only one that worked for me. I was stuck using the sprays for 8 years because I couldn't sleep at night, and the feeling of breathing through your mouth for the 'cold turkey week' was just such pure hell I couldn't manage it. THIS is what works.

I tried Rhinostat. I figured, the only reason you get the rebound congestion in the first place is the result of continued exposure to the vasoconstricting drugs, yes? Lower the exposure slowly, and eventually the rebound effects will lower as well. So I bought a kit. It didn't work because the information with Rhinostat suggests using it in both nostrils at the same time, and the solution becomes too weak too quickly if you use it in the concentration an 'addict' is used to. Then you get rebound effects, run out of diluent, and have to start over again. BUT! Here's how I got off it completely in about a month, with minimal suffering. I still had the rhinostat kit, so I decided to wean myself off the stuff using the diluent method; threw away the stuff they gave me, cleaned out the bottles thoroughly. I bought one bottle of Otrivine drops for the left nostril only (the worst affected one) and used the rhinostat method on the right nostril first with another bottle of Otrivine, and diluting every day what went into that nostril. IN ADDITION, I made up a solution of ordinary table salt and water in the rhinostat diluent bottle and used it frequently on both nostrils in between applications of the nasal drops. In a week I was 50% off the Otrivine in the right nostril, and still on the full amount of Otrivine in the left. The key is using the salt solution I made, because it acts like a weaker version of the drug, drawing water from the swelling of the nasal tissues out of the tissues (instead of constricting the blood vessels), but there is no side effects from ordinary salt water. Using it frequently, it lubricates the nose, keeps the swelling down, and isn't unpleasant in any way. Also, each day I topped up the diluting bottle with more of the same salt water. By three weeks, the right nostril was practically free, and for some reason, once I started on the left, it only took three days of that and using salt solution for it to calm down and not need the Otrivine. Wonderful! I barely noticed the process, and I think it's all down to regular use of the salt water. Yogis use it daily as a cleansing practice, and it's in no way harmful. I am still using it whenever my nose dries out because after 8 years I'm sure the lining of my nose has some healing to do, and it still dries out frequently, or whenever I'm near someone who is smoking. But - I'm free of the drugs, and it feels wonderful not to have to reach for that little bottle every few hours, or have to go and buy it weekly, and of course my nose doesn't swell up when it isn't getting it anymore... just whenever it feels a bit dry the salt sorts it out.

So there it is folks - Rhinostat didn't work, but the bottles they sent me I used in a dilution method I cooked up worked for me, so why not try it with any small sterilised dropper bottles and some home-made saline? Yes, I still use the saline, but my nose lining probably needs a while for the cilia to grow back so it can operate like a normal nose lining again, and saline is safe, extremely cheap to make, and has no rebound effects.
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Oh, and P.S - never try to wean off BOTH nostrils at once - you'll notice the discomfort too much! Keep your worst (most easily blocked) nostril on the full amount of nasal spray while you free up the better one with weaning it off the spray. Administer saline to both nostrils, but only wean one from the drug at a time. Once the better one is free, start on the other, and the process might (through force of habit or some psychosomatic aspect perhaps) be a lot quicker and easier than the first, like mine was!

Good luck, but it really is just a matter of simple chemistry and sticking to the plan!
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Well done you did really well, I'm glad you are well on the road to recovery. Like you I was addicted to otrivine for many years and as a result the lining of my nose becomes dry frequently - I guess like you say it could take time for things to settle down. Your idea of using a saline solution whilst you were trying to wean yourself off the otrivine was  a very good one and I wish I'd thought of that. I have more recently discovered a product in Boots the chemist called Sterimar which probably does exactly what you described - it's brilliant and would recommend that to anyone desperate for a little relief whilst trying to tackle rebound congestion or post addiction dryness (it's an all natural salt water spray with easy to use nozzle - really great for young children with colds too it is safe for anyone to use with no side affect - £6-7.00 pounds from Boots in UK). I also find now that if I get the slightest cold I am prone to suffering from very blocked sinuses, I have found an all natural product called Sinol helps me with this though it is a bit pricey and I don't know if it would suit everyone.The sterimar salt water solution also helps with this sinus problem I now have from time to time. Good luck to you all.
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I can't believe how uninformed people are. The ingredient in the nasal sprays that causes the rebound effect is benzalkonium chloride. It is used as a preservative in most steroid nasal sprays and the OTC nasal sprays like Afrin and Dristan and it is also in those so called "natural" nasal sprays like Sinol. I used Sinol for a week and got a nasty rebound congestion from it. Luckily I have Rhinocort(no benzalkonium chloride) so I am using that to help combat it while my nose gets back to normal. If you are using "all natural" sinol look up the preservative benzalkonium chloride and see what just exactly you are squirting up your nose-that ingredient is far from being "natural" as they claim.
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hey buddy, you posted this on a very old thread, and may very easily get overlooked.

hope you will repost on a new thread...

warm wishes,
mj
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I've been addicted to  Vicks 12 hour nasal spray for 30 years. Was addicted to speed for 15 and I must say it was alot easier quitting that than it is the nasal spray. It's very embarrasing so most people don't know and I never realized how many people had this same problem. I went to a doc years ago who prescribed Flonaise which really was helping and keeping ,e off the vicks but then I ran out and was to embarresed to go back and ask for more so I was right back on the vicks again. I have no insurance now and hav'nt in 16 years so a doc is out of the question. I would love to get off thios **** but it's impossible cause I just can't deal with life without it. Also I wonder if this is not was causes all the headaches I get- I take 4 naproxen every day for the past 15 years, sometimes more because the headaches are horrible. I was on here looking up the vicks 12 hour spray that seems to have changed for the worst. Now comes in bottle with green cap and I swear it different- does'nt work at all and not one store (and I've been in every store in my towm) has what I was buying before- the all have the **** with the green cap which does'nt work at all. Can anyone help me out- did they change or what?
           Laura
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I too am addicted to nasal spray.  When I was addicted in the past, I would withdrawal by substituting the nasal spray for a saline solution (with doesn't cause rebound and helps you to breath).  Also, there is something you can get from your doctor - it's a nasal spray that you use along with the spray you're addicted to and it prevents the rebound and allows you to ween off without soffocating (sorry, I don't remember the name of it - your doctor should know).
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I have been using nasal sprays for years now and it has been of concern to me for a long tim. Whenever I tried to go cold turkey, I end up caving in because it is so uncomfortable with the pressure. But I didn't want the surgery ....so this is what I did
I began to cut back on squirts...I used two each time and cut it back to one each time for the first day.
The second day I continued in the same way, slowly getting the nasal passages used to a lesser dose.
I only needed to use mine twice a day mostly but I know many people use more so cut it back gradually over a few days.
For me on the third day I only give my left nasal passage one squirt when I really needed it. It is a hard day but not as hard as you expect because you can still breath and there isn't that awful pressure if you go cold turkey.
After 4 or 5 days it is breathing on its own so for a few days with the passage that has been getting the spray I used it only when I truly needed it.
Then because the right passage is still working better, I cut it out altogether.
I have been it after just over a week. And I believe I have had this addiction for in excess of 15 yrs!! Now if I can do this, anybody can...good luck guys...YOu can do this
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I have been using nasal sprays for years now and it has been of concern to me for a long tim. Whenever I tried to go cold turkey, I end up caving in because it is so uncomfortable with the pressure. But I didn't want the surgery ....so this is what I did
I began to cut back on squirts...I used two each time and cut it back to one each time for the first day.
The second day I continued in the same way, slowly getting the nasal passages used to a lesser dose.
I only needed to use mine twice a day mostly but I know many people use more so cut it back gradually over a few days.
For me on the third day I only give my left nasal passage one squirt when I really needed it. It is a hard day but not as hard as you expect because you can still breath and there isn't that awful pressure if you go cold turkey.
After 4 or 5 days it is breathing on its own so for a few days with the passage that has been getting the spray I used it only when I truly needed it.
Then because the right passage is still working better, I cut it out altogether.
I have been it after just over a week. And I believe I have had this addiction for in excess of 15 yrs!! Now if I can do this, anybody can...good luck guys...YOu can do this
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I have been using nasal spray since the 12th grade. I am now 28. I used it b/c I would stuff up at night and it was completely aggravating to NOT be able to breathe at night. I am on day 2 of "cold turkey". Its tough! Last night was the worst. I could not sleep at all. I have an uncle who would go off and on w/ the use of nasal spray and I was told you would clear up after a week or two. Sounds tough, but the sinus headaches I've been experiencing lately are worse then my anxiety for nasal spray. I can't be on nasal spray forever. It has to be causing some kind of damage to the nasal passage or sinuses, I would think. But yesterday when I stopped, my headache that I had for 5 days straight, went away. Ur nasal cavity will swell n unswell through out the day. I think the toughest part will be at night. Vicks nasal strips help. So I'm going to give it my best shot!  
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900459 tn?1304996859
My dad was addicted to nasal spray about 2 years ago and once he finally quit using it he said that he wasnt at all addicted to the nose spray at all but he would just pick it up and use it not even realizing he was using it even when he didnt need it at all because he said it just became a bad habit to pick it up and use it because he was used to doing it all the time just like any other bad habit

ABritt
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chrissteena,

I was addicted to sprays as well and here's what I did to break the cycle. I went to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, and he put me on a prednisone pak. By the second night, I was cleared up, and could breathe without using those lousy sprays, and now all I use is a saline spray to moisten my nasal passages. Try it. It worked for me
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I have been struggling on and off for almost 4 years with an addiction to nasal spray. because my nose broke in a car accident 2 years ago, my usage of nasal spray has been at an all time high. i've had 2 surgeries, and after the second one i was able to quit using it for 11 months, until i got elbowed in the face and my nose moved and swelled again. i went back on, and have been on ever since (about 8 months now).

yesterday was finally my last straw. it has gotten to the point where it's not even really helping with the congestion,i use upwards of 3 sprays in each nostril and it returns within 10 minutes of using it. i haven't had a good sleep in 2 weeks because of congestion.

so i went and got some sudafed and some saline nasal mist. and then i went to the doctor and he prescribed me nasonex.

i took the nasonex right away, and have been on constant sudafed. i had to use nasal spray for about 6 hours yesterday, then right before bed i used the nasonex again (its twice daily as prescribed). then i used one spray of nasal spray in each nostril, along with a spray of saline nasal mist. i slept through the night and woke up not very congested!

now don't let this fool you, i am still quite congested while i'm weaning myself off of nasal spray and on to nasonex, but it has definitely eased the process and i am not getting completely blocked up! nasonex takes up to 1-2 weeks to take its full effect, but i can definitely tell its doing something already.

during the next 2 weeks while the nasonex kicks in, i'll be adding saline to my nasal spray in higher and higher amounts.

i saw a ray of hope last night with a solid night sleep breathing through my nose.

just to let you all know that there's hope and ways out of this addiction.
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Wow Hi! I'm here to kick pill addiction and I'm a newbie so no advice for anyone on that. But the nasal spray addiction, I've been through that and IT *****! I have allergies so been on the spray for years. Back in february I started using the 4 way fast acting. That was a big mistake. wound up desperate in my drs office one morning (I was actually waiting in the snow @ 8 for them to open). He gave me nasonex and a few other things it was hell waiting for that stuff to work. Not being able to breath really freaks people out. So. finally a pharmacist told me about a method and turned me on to the saline. The method is to use the spray on one nostril. Let the other heal. Then go to the other. And clean with the saline. This was a life saver. Within 2 days the one nostil with the help of only the saline was opening. Then the other took 3 days and I was done. Never touch that crap again. When my nose is stuffed now i ride it out. Just went thru the worst of hayfever season and i'm good. So many people suffer from this and don't have a clue as what to do. Hope I can help someone with this cuz it really is the worst thing ever. Can't believe I'm such a wus about alittle pill WDs...
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its winnipeggirl again... update!

the nasonex is starting to kick in, im using less sudafed every day too.

the first day when i tried weaning both nostrils off the nasal spray was hell, so i decided to try the one nostril at a time method too! i found one called dristan fast acting, which has a different chemical than the ones i've been using so it keeps the one nostril REALLY clear so i don't go insane, since the other ones i was using were barely doing anything for me anymore.

anyway, its day 3 of only having one nostril on the spray, the other one i'm using saline only and the congestion comes and goes in it. but it's never been completely closed up, which is great.

one nostril at a time! it works! i have a deviated septum so its a bit more difficult for me to tell if the one is getting completely cleared up. so i'm just going to wait a solid week before i try to get the other one off.
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I have been addicted to nasal spray for about 4 years now. But my allergyst gives me a treatment that keeps me clear for 3 months!!! She gives me one shot and about 6 prednisone pills. I believe they may both be prednisone. I am not completely sure. I just know one of them is Prednisone. Although it is only temporary and after every 3 month mark, I begin to feel the nasal passages closing up. I wish the 3months lasted longer because I seriously am 100% clear for that period of time. I am currently looking into other alternatives, like suregery. The thought of goinf through this my whole life scares me! As you all know, its uncomfortable, irritating and can bring anxiety if you dont have that nsal spray bottle around at all times!  I will try some of the suggestions on here also. good luck to everyone, I am glad I came across this site!
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I was addicted to Afrin for 6 years. When ever I stopped using it I couldn't breath so I continually used it for years.

I got the flu last year and didn't use it for 4 days. After that I could breath normal again,
It's been around 14 months now and I will never use nasal spray again.
If you can just breath out of your mouth without using your nose for about 3 days you will be back to normal.


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I was addicted to nasal spray for over a month.
I started by throwing away the contents of every bottle that I had (in my purse, coat, night-stand, job drawer) and replacing it with simple saline. The saline doesn't do anything for me, but knowing that it isn't habit-forming, I could use it over and over again, every 5, 10, 15 minutes, whenever I felt like I couldn't breathe and needed my spray.
At night I took 2 nasal decongestant pills, for 3 nights in a row. Every time I woke up not able to breath, I did the saline.
It is my 5th day now, and I am completely off any pills, spray, saline.
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there are ways to reverse nasal spray addiction.  the natural way is to pinch your nose and blow until your ears pop, do it 2 or 3 times about 3 times a day.  you'll notice it decongests you intantly but then goes congested again, it takes a week or two.  then the alternative is a steroid called betnasol nasal drops, put them in bed time and fall asleep on your back, then 2 hours before getting up in morning, put the drops in and go back to sleep. takes about 2 days to notice difference, about 1 week and you are off dprays for good.
good luck
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Don't panic all that it takes is to quite but you need be mentally decided. You will go through a couple of hard days and you could even experience some nausea and loss of appetite. If you start slow it may be less hard on your body so try to start doing it during the day. Use it less and less every day and then stop using it at night. The problem is not to use it when you get sick otherwise yo will get addicted again.My best advice is to exercise, sleep at least 8 hours and eat properly.

Good luck!
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I used Otrivin for about an year to get rid of my blocked nose..i thought i will never be able to breathe without Otrivin....then i started searching about overuse of nasal spray and found that nasal spray could worsen the condition....and there is only one way to get out of this problem...stop using nasal spray....i had to undergo cold turkey for about 3-4 days...and after that i am perfectly alright....i know its not easy..and its horrible to sleep with blocked nose..but 4-5 days of struggle may solve your problem....i used vicks inhaler so that i could breathe from one side....you can also take the help of mustard oil...all you have to do is heat some quantity of mustard oil and garlic on gas and keep it in a bottle....apply this oil inside and outside your nose two times a day..whenever you apply this oil heat it a little....applying mustard oil helps in getting rid of the cough stored in your nose.

Hope this may help

Regards

Ankita
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I just came across this thread... I know it's old but I will contribute my experience.

I have been addicted to nasal sprays about 3 or 4 times in my life, serious addictions. My first I was about 22, was living and working in the UK (I'm from Australia) and my allergies over there were shocking. I had heyfever 24 hours a day 7 days a week for months on end. Before going to England I had never had heyfever in my life. Antihistamines did nothing but nasal spray helped me breath. After about 8 months, towards the end I was spraying every 5 minutes. Like someone else said, I had a nasal spray in every bag, pocket, purse, draw, under the pillow... you name it. I saw a doctor because it just stopped working all together and I was told that I had to go cold turkey. I was screaming outside and in. I have never taken recreational drugs but this is my closest experience to being a drug addict. My second day into cold turkey weaning, I seriously (and I mean seriously) wanted to throw myself in front of a truck and be put out of my misery. I cried and screamed at my now husband for now giving me the nasal sprays which I had previously asked him to hide from me. It was awful but I got there.

My last nasal spray addiction was this time last year and I am now 32. I tried the one nostril at a time approach but it didn't work for me. With one side being so stuffy and congested and feeling like my eye ball on that side was going to pop out, and the other side clear (for 10 minutes at a time anyway) made me feel physically unbalanced as well as anxious and short tempered to say the least. The way I weaned was to keep a dairy and delay each subsequent use by 15 minutes. The next time I would really need my spray, I would FORCE myself to wait 15 more minutes, then 30 minutes, then 45 minutes and so on. Those intervals were absolutely terrible but manageable. The good thing about that approach though is that the weaning was happening so quickly. After only a day The intervals that I was needing it were more spread out. I was pretty much off it 7 days later. It is slower then cold turkey, but more achievable and I felt more control.

Anyway, the reason I came looking for nose spray addiction information is because I have a terrible cold at the moment and have used nasal spray for the last 2 days. This is the first time I am back on it after my addiction a year ago. I KNOW that I am doing the wrong thing here, but oh how it brings such instant relief. I MUST STOP NOW, this stuff it BAD.
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They are right! I had this happen to me some 30 yrs ago and sadly - started to use them again about 4 wks ago when I had a head cold and was SO congested! BIG MISTAKE!  As the others said - you don't get addicted to the drug itself but what it DOES - and that is opening up the nasal passages so you can breathe. My Dr. had to put me on a oral steroid for 7 days due to the inflammation and swelling in my nasal passages many years ago - but you're right - it's COLD TURKEY to get over this rebound effect they cause - and the only way IS - is to STOP using them 100%! I found that using an oral decongestant (like Tylenol Cold) works pretty well for 12 hrs at a time and will help you get over the roughest spot of not using the spray any longer...but for days it's NOT fun! I agree that the Breath-Rite strips will help a lot if used at night time as well until those passages and inflammation shrink back to normal again. I am also a RN so I know that all of the above IS good advice as well.
Good luck - you can do this and so did I before...and I was free of this NIGHTMARE for 30 yrs!
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I say that the cold turkey thing can work but you will suffer like no other. The best way I have found to get off the stuff is the same way anyone would get off of any drug. Slowly decreasing dosage amount of the nasal spray.

How I did it. I took a quarter bottle of nasal spray. Then I mixed the solution with plain saline water (salt water). This will also help dry up anything causing drippage. use it for about a week. If you run out remake it. You will feel a slight closing but not nearly as bad as cold turkey. After the week put in 1/8 bottle of nose spray and fill the rest with the saline. continue for another week. Then keep cutting back. I remember the last time I used it I was putting in one drop of nose spray and the rest saline. at that point I just said screw it theres no point now. And I was right after stopping it no more swelling.

Also sometimes a anti inflamatory like motrin can help with swelling membranes in the nose.

Now the sad thing is I had gotten addicted to the stuff simply because I quite smoking and my nose stopped up after a couple of days of not smoking.

But this method is tried and true and will work and make it more bareable to getting off the stuff. And I also felt the mix worked better than most nose spray for the fact it was drying up dripping and actually made it easier to breathe.
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I have the same problem!! and it's driving me crazy:( I went to a few doctors with this problem and they have never heard of it! all they gave me were allergy sprays that did nothing cuz I don't have allergies... and one doctor suggested an operation but that is way to scary for me! I need help so badly! were you able to get rid of your addiction? if so pleeese tell me how you did it.
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The only way I got off Otrivin spray was to have nasal turbinate surgery.  I was on the sprays for 10 years.  Surgery was in October and I am drug free today.  No more Otrivin for me.....ever.  :)
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I to had a afrin addiction. I used the spray for almost a year! I would carry a bottle in my pocket, at home in my dresser, one at work and one in my car. I would stress everytime i would get low. I did not want to run out and not be able to breath. I researched on the internet and tried everything that everyone was suggesting and nothing worked. Then one day i got a bad, bad sinus infection and a head cold. My Husband went and got me some Mucinex D and I started taking that and it cleared my nose within a week without having to use any of the Afrin. I did have a little stuffiness for about 2 more weeks after that but, it wasnt nothing I couldnt handle. I am completly free of Afrin today and am so happy! I think Afrin nose spray should be taken off the market.  

Hope this works for you and anyone else that reads my post!   Good luck!
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2213612 tn?1339254315
I have been using Veramyst for about a month now, and when it stopped working in the first 2 weeks, it made me more congested and I also have asthma and very high risk allergies to other things as well. When I called my asthma specialist and allergist, all he told me was to double up my doses, it doesn't uncongest me at all, so the doctors are telling me to just quit everything at once, which is the WRONG THING TO DO!! When you have asthma, and you can't breathe, not breathing out of each nostril ontop of not being able to breathe from your lungs is about 10 times worse. I've been to the ER 4 times because when I would be sitting upright in a chair, i would start choking on my saliva and let alone water, it kinda *****. And they said I got addicted to it, and it makes me worse. So we have no idea what to do now.
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There is strong scientific evidence that nasal decongestants can be ''addictive'' if taken for a longer duration than recommended by the manufacturer.They will actually cause you to need more and more to keep your nasal passages clear.Any M.D.worth his salt will be well aware or this,however the patient MUST INFORM the doctor,or an inaccurate diagnosis can/will occur.Then the doctor can ''wean" the patient off of the nasal spray..
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There is strong scientific evidence that nasal decongestants can be ''addictive'' if taken for a longer duration than recommended by the manufacturer.They will actually cause you to need more and more to keep your nasal passages clear.Any M.D.worth his salt will be well aware or this,however the patient MUST INFORM the doctor,or an inaccurate diagnosis can/will occur.Then the doctor can ''wean" the patient off of the nasal spray..
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sounds like  addiction to me.
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Hi, Stephanie, I am Marc and I know exactly what you are going through.  

I had a nasty little coke habit about 7 years  ago.   I did so much coke that I get blocked so bad  I could get it up my nose....I really  liked that **** I guess.  But I digress.   One  of my  "snowboarding" friends told me to try Nasal Four  - Fast Acting. I disregarded the typical "warning."   It worked wonderfully...no more nasal passage  burnout on the weekends. Well, needless  to say,  once  I was off the coke, I found myself addicted to the Nasal Four  just to breathe.

I typically go through  3 bottles a week and buy 5-6 at a time. I wake up 3-4 times a  night to hit the "bottle."   All day long every  couple of hours.   Hell I can't go anywhere without it.  Sometimes  I even have to stop in  the middle of  sex to hit  the "bottle' right quick so I can breathe again and get back to  business.   Thankfully  I  have an extremely  understanding and patient girlfriend.  Needless to say,  that  began to bother  me...a lot.

I have tried  to stop, but when the chemical effect wears off and you can't  breathe, that **** is  out the window.   I have seen several doctors, got put on Flonase and have had  my turbinins burned.  The steroid spray  worked....sorta, but I am a type 1 diabetic and it really screwed with my blood sugars, and ...since it didn't work that good anyway....I  chalked it up as a  fail and got more  Nasal  Four.  Bam!!!! cleared me right up. So I kept using  it.

Anyway, to get to the heart of the matter, I again saw another doctor last  week and he got started on the whole Flonase  thing,  cold turkey, etc., but he gave it a  twist.   Rather than just putting me  on the Flonase, he also put me on a 6 day MethylPrednisolone regimen.   The idea behind the pills  was  to super charge my system with the  Steroid and  use the Flonase as needed to give additional relief.  

It  is  screwing with my blood sugars pretty bad, but I can BREATHE!!!!!  I started yesterday, Monday, September 17th and it is 2 days later  and I am very, very  pleased.   I  have been able to  sleep  through the night with no breathing  issue.  Today I needed less spray than   yesterday.   I was  actually able to run a nettie pot rinse through both passages!!!  Which was not possible prior.   I am confident that I will be  off the Flonase by the  end of the weekend and breathing unassisted :)

So....my  recommendation,  see your  doctor  and  get started  on the 6  day Methylprednisolone and Flonase PRN...Stat.   If you  keep using the Nasal Four, you run a huge chance of developing saddle nose (nose  flattens)  and other good  stuff like that.   It seems to  me you have a genuine  concern and I hope  this  information and  my own struggle help you in some way.

Good Luck!!!!!
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4264275 tn?1351910497
I feel your pain with regards to this problem! Everytime I go through a cold I have to resort to the nasal sprays because I just cannot take being blocked up! I usually end up using the sprays for another couple of months after the cold has gone. I usually wean myself off the spray over a day or two going cold turkey. What I do is work it out so that the effect wears off in the morning or when I get out of bed. Then if I occupy myself during the entire day I find that I start to get relief after about 12 hours in one nostril. It really is a case of perserverance (sorry about my spelling lol) but if you go cold turkey this way you find you will recover. Keep a window open at night for cool air or even keep a small fan on at night if its not too cold. If you can't sleep then read or listen to music. Just try your best and stick with it. The one nostril thing works but I find it takes too long and I end up cracking! I am currently using the spray at the moment (had a cold 3 weeks ago) but Im finding that its giving me headaches now so back to cold turkey! I am relieved to know I am not the only one going through this because for a long time I thought I was weird! It's good to know that other people hate have a blocked nose too! Anyway all the best and wish me luck!

Cole. x
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I have been addicted to Otrivin for about 10 years now.  I tried the one nostril at a time thing and didn't like it.  I almost kicked it just recently using a weaning method that has been partially described above.  Recently they pulled the Otrivin off the shelves here and I found myself cut off of my weaning program.. I have switched to Dristan (not nearly as good) but plan to wean off that as well.

The weaning is pretty easy.  I took a empty pump and cut a small hole in it.  Then with a cheap eye dropper I would mix 36 drops Otrivin with 4 drops of saline (10%).  Do that twice ('bout 3-4 days), then 32 drops otrivin and 8 drops of saline..  Then 28 and 12.. finally 24 and 16.. I was down to almost 50/50 when the Otrivin vanished from shelves.  It seemed to be working, i used pretty much as normal and at 24 drops Otrivin I was still getting cleared.

Straight Dristan is far less effective than the diluted Otrivin though..  It'll probably be a tougher battle now but I'm kinda glad they pulled it although it will be coming back I hear at half strength so I may be able to resume right where I left off!

Best of luck!
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After reading a bunch of the more recent comments, I can say that evilcowboy comes the closest to the right way to get off these nasal sprays! There is now a company that actually offers a kit that I have gotten. It is called Rhinostat. Go to Rhinostatnc.com. It is a weaning process. They give you a small bottle of your kind of nose spray with a larger bottle of purified, preservative free, saline, that you add as a dilutent over time. It takes abotu 17 - 28 days to go through, but both sides of your nose are clear during the process! None of the "let one side be free and the other side close off: B.S,! Sorry, but that just doesn't cut it! My anxiety and nervousness have increased so much since being on the 4 hour nasal spray that used to work for 2 hours, now I'm at 2.5 - 3 hours. I even set my  alarm for every 2.5 hours so I don't plug up. I have plugged up aabout 4 times in the last 7-8 months that it scares me so much I knew I had to get off this nasal spray. The new system wants you to use drops but I found some new nasal spray bottles that I ordered and am going to put the solution in that and use it like my normal spray since that is what I am used to. I beleive it is going to work! If you go to their site they have a lot of testimonials, that say how well it works. I'm scared to the point of paranoia sometimes and I hate it! I hate that my life is being controlled by a little white plastic bottle with some clear liquid in it!
On top of all that, for those using the saline, look at the labels! There is a chemical called Benzalkonium Chloride in all of the nasal sprays and salines. It is a disinfectant used to clean surgical equipment, and floors! IT says to not take it interally, and it causes.....swelling! Now why would these companies put in what they call a preservative into a product that is supposed to help us breathe, that results in our nose swell more? Answer me that one, someone, please!
Anyway, I hope that Stephanie and anyone else that has posted here has either found relief or like me is about to, These nasal sprays should either be banned, or taken off the shelves until they are made safe with no rebound effect! The addiction is not to the product, it's the to the natural, two nostril ability to breathe! We have two nostrils! We should be able to breathe out of both of them! For some of us it panics when we can't. For some it's only an a small problem. I envy those people! The fear is very real for me, and I stand 6'5" and feel like about 2" high when I get like this.
I am going to defeat this. I am going to win! It's just going to take longer than I want it to. I want cured now! Wish me luck and ask me anything you want. I am here to help anyone else looking for relief! Thank you!
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JB, please don't speak if you don't know. Nasal spray addiction has nothing to do with mental issues like drug and alcohol addictions! It is completely physical... It states in very fine print not to use more than 3 days... But that should be in huge bold print right on the label! What happens is if you use more than 3 days, afterwards you have to continue to use because if you don't your entire nasal passage gets completely blocked off that you can't breathe at all with your nose. But it congests you so badly that your head feels like you're 500m under water... The pressure is very intense and it will give you a bad headache if not relieved right away! Also, breathing through the mouth with you're entire nasal passage blocked off and so much pressure is very tough and uncomfortable, quickly drying out your entire mouth and throat to the point where you can't even breathe through the mouth! I personally have been addicted for about 2 years now. I go through 1mL spray bottle of OXYMETAZOLINE HCL 0.05%, which is your standard Afrin and 1mL spray bottle of PHENYLEPHRINE HCL 1%, your standard 4-Way Nasal Spray, but for both I buy store brand because it's cheaper going through both 1mL bottles every 1.5-2weeks, 1-2 sprays of each about every 2-5 hours depending on how much mucous has built up over the day, and other factors! It is freaking horrible and I've tried nasal pills, Nasonex, saline flush, this herbal spray that's like spraying Vic's Vapor Rub into your nose, and nothing works at all! I have no clue as to how I can get off, and cold turkey would be unbearable! So please don't tell us to go see an addiction specialist as if we're addicted to drugs and alcohol because there's nothing mental about it! Just can't breathe without it!
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Thank you for this great advice! I am addicted to Nyal Decongestant and no other spray works...its been like 3 years. I panic without it and know I am totally addicted to it. I will try to only spray one nostril as you said - what a great idea that way the other nostril has time to repair itself.
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I used to be addicted too.  Addicted to breathing that is.  And I was using Neosynephrin every day.  I had to to breathe.  I weaned myself off of it slowly.  When you feel like you need to use it, wait a little while before you do.  The next time wait a little longer.  Eventually you won't need it at all.  Seriously, it can be done and it doesn't take that long.  I haven't had any nasal spray in my house for years, and it used to be that I wouldn't go to bed unless it was right there beside me every night.  Good luck.
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