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Afrin Nose Spray & Smell Loss
I've got a bit of a cold and it's allergy/pollen season here in Atlanta so that's not helping either, but I have used Afrin very sparingly over the past couple of days to help with symptoms. I have not used Zicam spray, I've read those can cause damage to olfactory nerves. I did notice yesterday that my sense of smell was gone although I could still breathe through my nose (still a bit congested, but able to breathe). My question is, has Afrin ever been known to cause loss of smell? Is this a temporary thing just due to sinus inflammation or has the Afrin permanently damaged something? I'm a 28 year old male and I've never experienced such a drastic loss of smell. Any help?
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I am too having the same problems since I started using the generic Walgreens version of Afrin.  Which is what brings me to this board when I googled losing taste and smell after using Afrin. I have had a bad cold, someone from work told me to try it.  I did.  Great I could breathe!  I only did one squirt per nostril 1 or 2 times a day for a couple days because NOTHING else I tried worked.

I made a nice Thanksgiving dinner, couldn't smell or taste ANY of it.  The day after I was able to smell and taste a little bit.  But even now, the 29th of Nov I am still unable to smell or taste.  I too can't smell my little girl's diaper... I can't smell garlic or a nasty strong perfume ad.  I'm scared out of my mind.

I have an appt with my Ear Nose and Throat Specialist on Friday.  :-(
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I'm going through this same thing right now. I'm terrified. Can you let me know what happened? Did your sense of smell and taste return?
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I am too having the same problems since I started using the generic Walgreens version of Afrin.  Which is what brings me to this board when I googled losing taste and smell after using Afrin. I have had a bad cold, someone from work told me to try it.  I did.  Great I could breathe!  I only did one squirt per nostril 1 or 2 times a day for a couple days because NOTHING else I tried worked.

I made a nice Thanksgiving dinner, couldn't smell or taste ANY of it.  The day after I was able to smell and taste a little bit.  But even now, the 29th of Nov I am still unable to smell or taste.  I too can't smell my little girl's diaper... I can't smell garlic or a nasty strong perfume ad.  I'm scared out of my mind.

I have an appt with my Ear Nose and Throat Specialist on Friday.  :-(
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I have also been using a store brand version of Afrin due to sinus issues. This medication seemed to be the only thing to clear them. At first the sense loss was intermittent and ranged in severity but now I my smell and taste are completely gone. I have only used this medication in accordance with it's labeling and have now discontinued it completely. Had there been a warning I probably never would have used it at all. Here's hoping I get my senses back.
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Dear tasteless29,

I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I sincerely hope you get it back. Go to https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/medwatch-online.htm to file a formal complaint. I have done this, and if we don't all do this, nobody will know about it. We got to make this problem known out there.

By the way, have you tried my tip of using a saline gel with aloe? I tried it for about a week and saw improvement.
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I was suffering from allergies and sinus congestion nearly three months ago, I began using a generic Afrin nasal spray (equate). I became in the habit of using it nearly every night before bedtime for over a month or so, disregarding the instructions. Soon after, I developed a case of pneumonia, so I assumed the lack of smell was attributed to that. However, now I still CAN NOT SMELL ANYTHING! ANYTHING!  I am almost sure that it is due to the nasal spray. I am just concerned that it is permanently damaged and may not return. After reading some of these posts, now I am even more concerned.
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My experiences with Afrin have been a love/hate type of thing.  I'm the opposite of a mouth breather so I am sure to always have nose spray in the rare case of a cold.  However, the older I've gotten (at the old age of 27 now, but started when I was 14) the more my taste/smell sense has gone out the window during use.  I've always figured the lack of senses was caused by the cold.  However, the last time I got sick I couldn't smell or taste for almost a month after I was back to normal.  Being sick this time, I'd rather have a stuffy nose I think.  I, too, have a child, and a nose is important to being a good mother.  I've given myself food poisoning from bad lunch meat because I had no idea it was bad.

Could it be the cold doing it?  Sure.  But it just doesn't seem likely to affect someone for this long and this many times.

But to ease a few fears...  My senses have been gone for almost a month previously, but usually at least two weeks.  They always seem to come back!  I go to Starbucks, walk in the door, and if I can finally smell the alluring scent of coffee, I'm back in business!

The taste/smell sense should come back!
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MEEE TOO!

I just heard of Afrin a couple of days before I went out and bought my own. I only used it once one night, my friends I know bad, and my sinus cleared up 100% so the next day, stupidly, bought the strongest one when my symptoms were not even that bad. And I didn't read the directions/label/ dosages correctly so ended up using it every day often for 2/3 weeks straight until I really realized something wrong and read label and researched.(not more than 2x a day for up to 3 days straight, I was using way too much!)
Now I can taste food slightly and only for a short while, and my sense of smell...gone. I hate it. I can't even smell what I'm cooking that is right in front of my face. Just 17 and don't want to think this is permanent! Someone please tell me if this is 100% not reversible or any smell therapy or exercises I can do to increase or improve my sense of smell/taste. I heard of smelling something strong daily for a couple of weeks as a form of therapy, not sure. ADVICE! Thanks
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I'm in the same boat, I used the Kroger generic of Afrin back in January and by February 1st. I lost my smell and taste. Now, not one thing taste or smells as it should. I went to my family doctor said it would come back, over three months now, went to ENT specialist, done CT scan and other test, said nothing wrong, hopes it will come back. If anyone has had any success with doctors or centers in the Atanata area please let me know. Thanks.
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How do you feel now? I am having the same issue with Afrin right now. Does your sense come back?
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I use afrin since a nasty infection. I use it sparingly and I smell the bad other than the good. My tastes are off too. But has anyone heard of Afrin leading to symptoms of cancer.  
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Hello,

I have used a generic nasal pump spray from the $1 store manufacture by "Assure" it's name is "Nasal Relief Spray" they don't type in the ingredients.  But, the active and inactive ingredients is listed.  The active ingredient is " oxymetazoline hydrochloride 0.05"

It states on the label it is not the Manufacture of Afrin.  After using it 1x a day for 2 days I have lost a sense of smell and taste.  What bothered me the most was the sense of taste.  Because, I thought I can't smell was due to the cold and it will come back usually.

I was so saddened how everyone in the home can taste and they had the same cold as I did.  But, they didn't use the spray.  I was asking everyone, can you taste the food, "no problem" with them.  But, why me, why am I missing.  So, I went online or thought to see a doctor to see if theres perhaps a medicine to recover my sense of taste.  I thought for sure there might be.  But, before I made the trip to the Dr. I came online and to my shock I found many articles and websites people claiming it was the nasal spray.  The last thing that would of came in my mind. I was very saddened and shocked and hope from all of my heart this is a temporarily thing for me.  I looked for a warning label but "no show" on the label.

Please HELP stop these makers.  Have I known one of the side effect was to lose your sense of taste and smell. I would not have put this thing up my nose.  I have sent my info to the fda.  But, it's too late now, damages have already been done and still suffering no smell and no taste. I feel like crying out loud.  In the trash it goes, I even called my mom to notify her and will warn of thers.

Pease and god bless.
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I am in the same boat, but all I used was a neti pot with my own solution of a pinch of sea salt and some grapefruit seed extract to help clear my sinuses due to a cold.  I failed to warm the water adequately enough to dissolve the salt, and literally burned my sinuses.  It has been a week and a half and no taste or smell at all.  I know it is because of the salt. I had a full blown reaction until I figured out what happened and rinsed with plain water 3 times. Each time I rinsed, the pain got better, so I know that is what happened, but unfortunately, this burning went on for about an hour before I rinsed it out.  I didn't realize my smell was gone until the next day when I went to eat and couldn't taste anything.
Anyway, I am not a pharmaceutical drug user, and still had this happened- it could be that the combo of the chemicals plus too much sodium could be affecting you all.  I do hope we all get our senses back.  I am a foodie and a mom, and this is devastating to me because I can not tell if my house is on fire, our food is going bad, or if my son is sick (stinky poop), etc. I totally took for granted how important smell is for safety.  Best of luck to you all.
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I have always had an excellent sense of smell.  I was on Afrin for about two weeks and have since lost most of my sense of smell and much of my taste.
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Please don't!  Years ago I teased my spouse for his
"Afrin cures it all!" approach.  When a dire cold/allergies had me at the end of my "rope", I tried it, thinking nothing was worse than my incessantly stuffed nose.

That was eons ago.  With ignorant bliss, I had bottles at home, my purse, gym locker, you name it.  This year with Florida allergy season at all time high, I realized I was grabbing the Afrin whenever I was stuffy.

I have no professional confirmation, but I'm absolutely going in right away - to an ENT.  I noticed when smells no one else could pin point became completely undetectable - to the point I could not tell if the cream, milk & worse - raw meats/cold cuts were dangerously ripe.  We joked at first, but I always took my highly acute sense of smell/taste as a special "gift" and always one step ahead of my poor family encountering fouled food and - ugh - missing previously wet, now putridly mildewed pool towels as their "mystery odors".

I am ashamed that I did not heed my college aged daughter's admonishments.

I will be heartbroken if I in fact have damaged my senses with my formerly beloved Afrin - but not as much as I miss cooking meals I can no longer judge if it is spiced properly, I miss burning cookies in the oven.....I took SO much for granted.  I'm in NO way slamming Afrin - I just want to make sure you research for yourself before you go "off label" and have it in strategic places around your home, etc.

I'll miss it - breathing after the first pump begins to do its magic, but not enough to lose my once coveted special gift of smelling things others could not - and finally stop seasoning things beyond any reasonable level.

I promise I'll check back in - and if anyone else has the data I'm desperate to learn about?  Please kindly post your experience.

Signed,
An Afrin Fan - but to what cost.....

Once teased for my uncanny sense of smell and the ability to discern
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I've never seen any damage from oxymetazoline use--I spray it in patient's noses on a daily basis to examine them (ENT doc).  Some viral infections cause olfactory nerve damage, but we really don't have a great understanding of the process.  I've seen several patients who have lose sense of smell after a cold.  We usually give it six months to reverse.  Sometimes we do a CT scan to rule out tumors in the olfactory region of the brain, that can lead to hyposmia.  Oxymetazoline overuse does cause rhinitis medicamentosa and it is a difficult condition to treat.  Never use  more frequently than every 12 hours and never for longer than 3 days at a time.
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I was prescribed afrin a couple drops a day and I didnt realize how fast the drops came out so I had alot down my nose and i havent been able to smell for 5 years now......
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used afrin twice a day for 3 days a year and a half ago and have had no sense of smell or taste ever since. I have read some comments and am trying the Ayr's Saline Nasal Gel with Aloe. What i dont understand is that it's not a liquid and can not get up into where the nasal spray used to go. How can that help get my sense of smell back? I am also using a saline to flush but within an hour, i am reclogged and need to use the saline again. is there any safe solution to use that lasts as long as the afrin did so i can sleep and also someday be able to smell again?
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I have had an awful cold for about a week now ... I just got back from the doctor and he told me to take this afrin nasal spray. I'm not big on conventional medicine but my sinus pressure was getting to me. I looked up the side effects for the spray before taking it, as I do with all medications and did not see anything about loss of smell and/or taste. Immediately after using the spray I mixed up a vitamin C packet and went to take some sudafed with it only to realize I could not smell or taste it, although my nose was clear i could taste perfectly fine before the spray.  I was sucking on a cough drop ... I spit the cough drop out to use the spray in fact ... now I cant taste the same type of cough drop at all!!! I only used one spay per nostril and this is my first (and last) time using it. I find this site also by googling "loss of smell and tastse with oxymetazoline" had I known this might have happened beforehand I never would have put this stuff in my nose!! Immediately after reading this I ran to the bathroom and rinsed out my sinuses with a saline solution praying thats its not too late ... I also plan on trying the saline with aloe thank you for the tip hopefully that and some hard praying will bring back my senses!!
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How do you feel now? I am having the same issue with Afrin right now. Does your sense come back?
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I have never used Afrin before however I have used Zicam and yes you will lose your sense of smell. Which stinks because its your sense of taste too. Both go hand and hand with each other. Go Figure. Best advice my EN&T specialist said. Do not use any products up your nose unless its prescribed to you or its plain old Salene. Even with Salene use it gingerly and only when needed. Even the nettt-pot advertised has caused people to lose their sense of smell. So be careful.
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I am a 34 yr old woman.  I use nasal spray very rarely because I have noticed in the past few years that whenever I use it, it allows me to breathe but immediately removes my sense of smell for several days after a single use.  Fortunately, I have regained the sense of smell after each illness (I'd estimate I use the spray possibly 1-3x/year, so not very often at all, and each time maybe once or twice per illness using 2 sprays per nostril.)  I used it last night because I'm in the midst of a cold but now can't smell.  I don't know why it isn't more commonly known that Afrin can have this effect.  I tend to think of Afrin as a last resort given this awful effect and my awareness of its addictive nature that can cause rebound/ongoing congestion.  To all the doctors who posted that they recommend it regularly to patients and have never had someone complain, please consider all these comments before you prescribe it again!
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I am a 40 y/o female. I was sick with a cold since Monday, with congestion and some headache. My husband had it exactly the same way one week ago and never lost his smell or taste by the way. I used Afrin on Wednesday March 14/2012 around 5 pm right after I bought it to breathe better. I have never used it before. I primed it first as they suggest then I instilled one spray only in each nostril. About two hours later my husband was cooking fish. I am a vegetarian. So, I usually complain about the smell. This time I couldn't smell anything. Then I cooked some rice for myself with some indian spices and saffron. I could not smell or taste anything.I blamed it on the cold, although I could remember clearly inhaling some vicks earlier that day and being able to smell all the essential oils in spite of congestion. On the morning of the march 15 I realized that my sense of smell and taste are completely gone. I actually panicked. Usually I am the first one to point out any smell at home or even at work and they joke about me sniffling everything like a dog. I called Afrin company. They told me the problem will go away probably within 48 hrs.So they knew the problem exists. On the 15 th I did a lot of inhalation but put nothing into my nose. 24 hrs later still could not smell or taste anything. On the 16th around afternoon 48 hrs later as they said I was able to smell very strong smells for a few seconds at a time by bringing them very close to my nose (cut garlic, ground orange peel), but was not able to pick any smells in the room or outside or taste anything. Today, Saturday the 17 of March 2012 I could pick up some smells like banana when I just peel it, or chocolate brownie when I bring it close to my nose. As the day went, it got even better, I could smell and taste more subtle things like honey, fresh celery, smell and taste camomile tea, regular sunflower seeds. My nose is still congested by the way, but I don't care.
I sent emails to all my contacts not to use AFRIN or any other OTC nasal sprays except saline due to that possible side effect. It is the company responsibility to mention this very important possible side effect. I will also make a complaint to FDA online.     I used only one spray in each nostril only once.  I don't know how other people who have been using it for longer periods are doing.   Good luck. Don't loose hope. I read that olfactory nerve and those cilia are able to regenerate even after a longterm abuse. Give them rest and try to avoid foods that produce more mucus:dairy, meat, sweet, refined foods.   Wish you fast healing and the return of all the lost senses.    Julia
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yes i live in newyork and wife suggests for me to use affrin and now i cant smell or hardly taste this has gone on for the past week and ah half why dont they put this on the box and is there any class action suit cuz by the way i see it thousands of people online are suffering from this product thats on the shelfs at our local pharmacy's
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I have not been able to smell or taste since June.  Two months now.  Kept thinking my smell/taste would come back, but now reading these comments I am terrified!  Why is Afrin still on the market!!!  Please everybody report to the FDA now!  This stuff needs to be pulled from the market!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1-855-543-3784
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I just spoke to a woman at the FDA she said EVERYBODY needs to report their Afrin issues. Please call 1-855-543-3784
It doesn't take long!
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I, too , lost my sense of smell after using Afrin.  After 1 and 1/2 years I decided to try acupuncture and it worked!!!  Now I'm very happy.
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I also have lost my sense of smelling ordinary things since using Afrin. However, I do have this sense of an overwhelming smell of "bitter chemicals."  This has been going on for about two weeks now and is driving me batty.  Help.
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I think everyone's reaction is different. I have used Afrin on several different occasions, never exceeding 2 days, and only once a day, two sprays per nostril. I haven't paid attention to my sense of smell, but I used it last on March 11th, and I recall smelling something a few days ago. I am not a doctor, but I take great caution when using decongestant nasal sprays as I hear they can be highly addictive. I don't know if this is true, but someone also told me that once you stop using the decongestant nasal spray after a couple/few days you will want to take a break from using it for at least three days, because you will feel stuffed up from the nasal spray. I won't resume using it until the next cold and only if I am sniffing so much I start feeling pressure in my head. I don't if this helps anyone, but I hope everyone's senses come back!
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I have taken 10 shots of afrin up each nostril since 2006... my whole sinus system is shot to crap... don't get the habit... trust me, loss of smell and taste is the least of your problems... it is an aweful addiction of the nasal passages... the makers should be locked in prison... and I should be whipped in the back for every taking this stuff... as I take 4 more sniffs... I just gotta have it to breathe... can anybody help me??
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I've had a lingering bad cold for weeks.  Doctor told me to use Afrin for congestion.  Big mistake.  I sprayed once in each nostril, 1 time a day, for 2 days and now I can't smell or taste a thing.  It's been about 48 hours since I last used it.  I'm so upset - wish I had googled it BEFORE I squirted it in my nose.  I'm going to call the doctor on Monday.  If he had at least mentioned that this might be a possible side effect, I wouldn't have ever tried it.  And why isn't there any kind of warning on the box?   This is just horrible.  I'm hoping my senses will come back but I'm in somewhat of a panic after reading everyone's comments.  
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How do you feel now? I am having the same issue with Afrin right now. Does your sense come back?
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I've been using Afrin for 35 years and while I know it's bad for you due to dependency issues, I don't think it has anything to do with the taste/smell issues you're all having; this us the first time I've read about other people having this issue, until now people have looked at me like I was crazy! About 5 years ago I came down with the flu, and it was pretty bad. I started Tamiflu but it was too late. My fever went up to 106!! When I was over it it took a while to feel normal again. When the fever broke I also experienced smell and taste issues. Bathroom wipes smelled like ammonia, as did shampoo and other soaps; I remember grape juice smelling/tasting like sulfur, the same for orange juice. Taste and smell are linked, so it's hard to tell which was effected more (if you hold your nose you can't experience certain tastes). It was very annoying and I was afraid the high fever had caused damage. But after a few days I woke up and I was back to normal. I never stopped using the Afrin. My opinion is that it's not the Afrin but the illness/fever that caused the problem. Although Afrin can cause vasoconstriction and therefore is bad if you have blood pressure issues, it's effects are mainly irritating to the nasal septum and wouldn't effect perception of taste and smell. That is probably a brain issue; the way your brain processes the information it gets is screwed up. So an ENT is the wrong doctor to see. I realize now how lucky I was that it got better so fast, but I would recommend that you all make an appointment with a neurologist. The common thing we all experienced was an illness if some kind, and my gut tells me that some neural pathway(s) have been effected. Keep me posted!
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I used Afrin one time when I had very bad cold. My sinus was stuffed and my ears were plugged. I couldn't hear very well at all for days. I got so tired of my ears. No matter what I did, they wouldn't unplug for me to hear clearly. So, I went to a local store and got Afrin after reading reviews online about it. This was back in 2009 and I sparingly used in my nasals. Ever since, I can't smell very well. Either the smell has to be very strong or I have to be very close to the source of the oder to smell anything. My smell never used to be this bad before. What's worse is that I also used this product on my 5 year old son around about the same time. It makes sense why he hardly wants to eat anything. That's because he can't smell very well just like me. I believe, they have something in the Afrin product that destroys your smelling nerves.
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I used Afrin one time when I had very bad cold. My sinus was stuffed and my ears were plugged. I couldn't hear very well at all for days. I got so tired of my ears. No matter what I did, they wouldn't unplug for me to hear clearly. So, I went to a local store and got Afrin after reading reviews online about it. This was back in 2009 and I sparingly used in my nasals. Ever since, I can't smell very well. Either the smell has to be very strong or I have to be very close to the source of the oder to smell anything. My smell never used to be this bad before. What's worse is that I also used this product on my 5 year old son around about the same time. It makes sense why he hardly wants to eat anything. That's because he can't smell very well just like me. I believe, they have something in the Afrin product that destroys your smelling nerves.
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I use Afrin once during a bad sinus infection. 2 sprays each nostril as directed, once. Only one use and I could breathe! Later that day, I realized that while I could breathe, I couldn't smell anything. Not coffee, not orange, nothing. It was extremely scary, and so I came across this page while looking for afrin and loss of smell. It isn't listed as a side effect and I would never have taken it had I known I would lose my smell. I couldn't smell a single thing for two straight days, and it drove me nuts. Nothing tasted the same and I was miserable because I love food.  I did try some saline drops with aloe on day two. Not sure if that worked or if Afrin effects finally wore off, bit I am happy to report that on day three my sense of smell did return (although so did the congestion). I will definitely take dealing with congestion over loss of smell!
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I was wondering if you ever regained your sense of smell. I am experiencing the same thing now. While suffering from a very bad respiratory bug, I used Afrin once per day for 2 days. That was a week ago and since then my sense of smell and taste have disappeared. I'm really afraid the loss will be permanent. I'm hoping your outcome was positive.
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I used Afrin over the weekend and can't smell or taste anything. I put my nose in a bottle of nail polish remover and also bleach- nothing! I put a dollop of WASABI on my tounge- nothing but a slight burn. I have never had a cold do this to me so I know that's it's afrin related. I can't believe this stuff is on the market! This is awful! I sure hope that it returns.
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I am sincerely wishing I didn't use this product. I'm an allergist and have always told my patients not to use this product on a regular basis. Feeling congested with a cold, I used it once as per directions and have now lost my sense of smell. I have a very acute sense of smell and even with my cold was able to appreciate the flavors of chai tea, a orange flavored chocolate and some fruits just prior to using this product. I'm  regretting that I had used this product. I'm hoping this is temporary....ugh. I'm not even able to explain why this happened...it's supposed to be just a vasoconstrictor.
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How do you feel now? I have the same issue right now and scared. pls help.
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I used Afrin on Sunday 4-19-15 Morning at 8:00 to clear a severely stuffed nose.  I took ONE DOSE, two sprays, one in each nostril

I have not been able to smell anything since then, though I am able to taste.  I have also had a nose bleed and several blown clots

I used this on my daughter, earlier this year, and again, ONE SINGLE DOSE.  I was recommended this by an ER nurse after taking her in for severe nasal congestion.  

She has not smelled anything since, or catches very faint whiffs of the most pungent, rancid odors.

I'm going to use the saline spray with Aloe starting today and pray hard and schedule to see a doctor.  

This is insane.
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How do you feel now? I have the same issue right now and scared. pls help.
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Hi everybody on May 14 2015 I took afrin. But unlike most of you I accidentaly lifted the Afrin Bottle and a squirt came into my nose. Making a burning effect. I though it would go away. And it did. But I could bearly smell anything. I sprayed Axe in my hand and had to be extremely close to smell it. I was so scared I started thinking of suicide. I need help PLEASE! :(
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How do you feel now? I have the same issue right now and scared. pls help.
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I have had a bad head cold for the last week and I used the Kroger equivalent to Afrin. It helped keep my sinuses open but my sense of smell is gone completely. I can taste OK. I hope this isn't permanent.
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How do you feel now? I have the same issue right now and scared. pls help.
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Same thing here. Complete loss of taste and smell after 3 days of use.
It's only been 2 days and have stopped using the CVS Sinus Relief.
I've started flushing with saline wash and using Ayr Saline nasal gel with aloe.
I cannot smell the aloe at all.
Hopefully my senses return..
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How do you feel now? I have the same issue right now and scared. pls help.
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As well as the rest of you I lost my sence of smell and taste after using three times OMG how aweful this has been since FEB 2015 I've seen 2  E.N.T.Doctors and they can't help nothing they can do so I talked with lawyer nothing he can do So who can do something what kind of life is this now coulden't even smell the flowers this year so aggervated.With all these people you think someone could make this right this product should come with warning label WILL LOSE SMELL AND TASTE FOREVER guess what I would not buy that but I did no warning now this effects my life forever thank you AFRIN....Shame on you
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As well as the rest of you I lost my sence of smell and taste after using three times OMG how aweful this has been since FEB 2015 I've seen 2  E.N.T.Doctors and they can't help nothing they can do so I talked with lawyer nothing he can do So who can do something what kind of life is this now coulden't even smell the flowers this year so aggervated.With all these people you think someone could make this right this product should come with warning label WILL LOSE SMELL AND TASTE FOREVER guess what I would not buy that but I did no warning now this effects my life forever thank you AFRIN....Shame on you
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How do you feel now? I have the same issue right now and scared. pls help.
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I have been addicted to Afrin for 20 years.  I have no sense of smell and car barely taste.  I wonder if my senses can be restored.  Has it affected your senses also?  
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I used Afrin ONCE! yesterday and my sense of smell and taste were GONE!  I stopped using immediately.  I can taste today. Smell is slowly coming back. This product should be BANNED!!!  I am very upset!
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How do you feel now? I have the same issue right now and scared. pls help.
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I starting using Afrin for the first time about 2 weeks ago due to severe nasal congestion. At first it was great, it really worked. Until...about a week into using it, I completely lost my sense of smell and taste. I stopped immediately. That was about a week ago. I visited my doctor yesterday and she said she's had numerous patients that have come to her with the same thing. She told me "Afrin is the devil." When she looked up my nose she said my nasal tissue is literally shredded and it going to take time to heal. She said my loss of smell and taste she completely come back 100% with time. She prescribed a high dose antibiotic and told me to do a saline rinse every few hours with a pure saline spray.  All I can do now is follow her instructions and wait. This really *****, I wish I never used Afrin!!!!
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Hey everyone, I too had this issue! I had a really bad cold due to finals week and my immune system being down because of all of the stress!! So I just took Afrin and ibuprofen and hoped for the best because I've used both before with no problem. On the 5th day of use (about once a day) I realized at lunch with friends that I couldn't taste A THING, or smell ANYTHING. I was terrified and panicked. Immediately went to my doctor and he said he had heard of this before and had some options for me. He wrote me a script for Prednisone to decrease all the swelling from my acute rhinitis, and recommended Sudafed as well. He also said the most effective way of "washing out" the Afrin use is to use Saline Washes (which I have read many of you have!). I took both medicines and used the rinse twice before I went to sleep. On about hour 36 from the time I realized I had no taste/smell, it was restored! It was faint at first, but progressively my taste and smell has gotten back to normal. So, be patient, I know how panicking it can be, but your body will rid itself of that Afrin (threw it right in the trash) and return to normal in time. Definitely recommend the saline solutions and if your doctor recommends, a oral steroid for inflammation which was probably the primary cause anyway! Good luck all!
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In May 2015 I used one application (spray) of Severe Congestion Afrin (mentholated) to clear my nose so I could clear my stuffy nose and sleep with a cold. I experienced a strong stinging/burning sensation that lasted for a couple of minutes. My nose cleared and I could breathe while sleeping; BUT the next day and for the following year to date I have completely lost my sense of smell and associated taste. I visited an ENT doctor about one month after this loss occurred and went through evaluation and treatments of Prednisone, Flonase and Ceftin with no improvement. The ENT scoped my sinus passage and I even had an MRI but none of this attention got me anywhere. I am sure that the cause was the Afrin because it was a sudden result of the one-time spray. My ENT says that he has not had a patient with this experience linked to Afrin and is just mystified.  I've filed a complaint with the FDA and note that many other individuals have too. I'd like to see responses from physicians and/or anyone who actually has confirmation from physicians that are in agreement that Afrin can and has caused anosmia that was temporary or permanent as mine seems to be.
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I just went through this issue. Used Afrin for 5 days, every 12 hours. When I stopped, I lost my sense of smell and taste completely for three days. I was terrified. But, i used the saline gel with aloe and everything came back today. Totally back to normal! So, there is hope! But,I'll never use Afrin again and i do plan to file a complaint with the FDA. There should at least be a warning on that box!
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How long it took to recover after you stopped using Afrin? My wife is under similar condition. She used for 3 days and stopped about 48 hrs ago. She is saying she could smell few things only like 40% rest 60% she is getting some other bad smell along with it. Is this sign of recovery?
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Don't panic everyone! I always lose my sense of taste and smell for about a week after using Walmart's generic equivalent of Afrin when I get a cold..and it always comes back after about a week. And I use it way over the recommended amount..two sprays per nostril every 4-6 hours..because otherwise I can't breathe. I would rather be able to breathe than taste my food..plus I know my sense of taste and smell always comes back. Yes..this is very unpleasant..but it's not the end of the world and being able to breathe through my nose..especially when I sleep..is way more important. So once you don't need the nasal spray start doing saline nasal washings with a neti pot..and NEVER use plain water..even if filtered..as it will irritate your sinuses and may introduce dangerous bacteria into your sinus cavities. I make my own saline by boiling in the microwave 8oz of filtered, non-chlorinated water..after it is hot add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt or pink himalayan salt until dissolved..then filter the liquid through a paper coffee filter to remove any impurities from the salt..and then cool down and use in the neti pot. I have never added aloe to this because you don't want to add anything into your sinus cavities that could end up hurting or irritating them -Pure saline is always best for safety. Good luck everyone and don't worry..99.9% of the time your sense of taste & smell will return after about a week. If not..please see a doctor ASAP.
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I have been using Afrin on and off for a few weeks.  I had stopped for 3 or 4 days, then used it for two days and realized I had lost most of my sense of smell.  I haven't lost all of it, but enough that I am going to toss the bottle out.  I also reported it to the FDA and will do so to the company as well if I can find out who manufactures it.  They should all be aware.
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It's very easy to report it to the FDA on-line, it only takes a few minutes.  https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm?action=reporting.home
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Any updates on this? I used an oxymetazoline spray almost 3 days ago and still have no sense of smell.
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Update: my sense of smell just started to return - exactly 72 hours after last use of spray. I used a saline rinse morning and evening over the last few days, as well as a saline spray with aloe and chamomile today
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