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Chronic Nasal Congestion caused by Afrin
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Chronic Nasal Congestion caused by Afrin

About 6-7 months ago, I had a cold and got addicted to Afrin. The addiction lasted no more than a week before I noticed the medicine's deleterious effects and quit. But the damage was done: I had gotten rhinitis medicamentosa.  
   After going 'cold turkey', my sinuses have been chronically blocked on and off ever since, mostly at night when I'm trying to sleep. I haven't been able to get a good night's sleep in months. And when I do, I cannot sleep in any other position other than on my back!
My left nostril is mostly the side that is blocked. If it isn't the right side is. Sometimes neither is blocked, usually when I'm standing/moving around.
My symptoms are not continuous which is the strange thing. My nasal lining becomes inflamed when it pleases which makes it hard to detect when you go to doctors. But something is wrong.
I went to the doctor and she gave me antibitotics which did nothing to cure my blockage. Allegra and other antihistimines did little too. Now she's asking me to get a cat scan which I cannot afford. Doctors
don't seem to know what the Hell they're doing.
My internet research has turned up NO ONE ELSE who's had the symtoms (symptoms) of rhinitis medicamentosa as long as I have. Through anti-biotics most people seem to get cured, but i'm left out in the cold.
CAN ANYONE HELP?
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Avatar_n_tn
no idea for this but i dont think the use of afrin is the problem. not after a weeks use at least. find another doctor, and another, until you get the right answer.
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Avatar_f_tn
has an ENT looked at your turbinates? My left nostril is constantly or most of the time blocked b/c of swollen turbinates.Some time when I am up moving around they will unswell and I can breathe some what well. When I lye down at night on my right side, it helps to shrink that turbinate in the left side of nose.   I had coblation surgery done on the inferior turbinate in left side of nose and it worked well for 19 months, that is, until I caught a cold this past Thanksgiving.  Now I am suffering all over again.  I am scheduled to go back to my surgeon next Friday.  I was wondering if you ever got your problem resolved and if it were your turbinates bothering you as well b/c some of your symptoms sound like mine. I agree w/Cargo87 I don't really think Afrin would do this since you only used it a week and usually rebound congestion will deter after a couple weeks. I have used Afrin several times when I am very swollen during a cold (usually for about 2 to 4 days but no longer).  I am usually on prednison which helps w/rebound congestion anyway.  Let me know how you have done since June 2007.
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Avatar_m_tn
I dilute my long-acting (12 hour) Afrin with saline 1:4 (1 part Afrin : 4 parts saline). You might try using it like this and gradually dilute it further to ween yourself off it, if it is indeed the problem.
Some other tricks for congestion that work for me -
Most drastic and quick acting is to rub a tiny amount of extra strength Bengay or Flexall around the outside of the nasal passages and about 1/2" below the eyes. This gets the eyes watering and the nose-sinuses loosened-up and moisurized pretty quick. (It also contains a form of salicylate (aka- aspirin) which is in acne medications, so there can be a secondary benefit.) Just be real careful not to get it in an eye or on any sensitive area, or to get it on a finger that might be touching an eye or sensitive spot at any time soon.
Also drastic and quick-acting is about 1/4 teaspoon of hot pepper (the stuff you might sprinkle on a pizza pie) - pop it in your mouth and chew the seeds. This loosens up nasal congestion and mucus further down.
I often take a forkfull of chopped garlic (available as jars of chopped or minced garlic packed in a glass jar with water (avoid the type that's combined with oil)). You can also slice fresh garlic cloves and chew those and drink water - though it's more harsh taken this way, and can sting the mouth and tongue. Garlic has several properties that are useful to a sinus sufferer - among other things, it's anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and good expectorant. I chew parsley and/or oregano, and use "Fishermans Friend original extra strong" lozenges to lessen the odorific effects.  
A bit of peppermint essential oil rubbed under the nose is helpful too (- again, don't touch an eye with this).
Sleeping with a warm-mist humidifier running in the room with a few drops of peppermint oil or Vicks in the reservoir should help much as well.  

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Avatar_n_tn
I too, used Afrin for about the same length as you did. In fact I used 2/3rds of an ounce. Thats less than one small bottle. I was lucky I saw a docter on my 6th day who told me to get off Afrin and through it away. When I got home I threw the Afrin in the garbage and quit cold turkey substituting a ton of saline every half hour. BE PREPAIRED !!!! This is not easy, you will not be able to breath through your nose for the next 3-4 days and then only partialy. You must continue with the saline. If you can, get help from a friend or loved one. You might suffer from severe panic attacks and possibley suicidal tendencies. THIS IS NO JOKE... It depends on how sensitve  you are to the drugs. Have some one stay with you  to help you and watch you. After 3-4 days you will be able to breath out of one nostril or both but only one at a time. After that it becomes tolerable and your on your way and can be left alone. You have already completed the most difficult part of recovery, just dont relapse. Keep using the saline.  The tissue in your nose will eventually repair itself of the damage caused by this drug.
I am breathing through both nostrils now but I still use saline when ever I feel I need it.(Dry or stuffy nose)....Take a weeks vacation, stay home and with a friends assistance, beat this dreadful painful addiction. You will feel so much better for it. Your rhinitis medicamentosa condition will continue to improve, Keep using the saline............ Ps......Do not use any menthol saline or cold formula salines try to get just saline, I used Simply Saline with .09% sodium cloride. Get a friend ,You can do it, You can do it!!!     Your breathing will be hell for 3-4 days but your life will improve dramaticly, Good luck, If I could do it so can you !!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Try Ocean Complete Nasal Sinus Irrigation.  This stuff is much better than Simply Saline.  Available at Costco, Wal-Mart, Long's, Rite Aid, Walgreen's
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Avatar_f_tn
hiya
have you tried sterimar?
have you tried a nasal ******?
these two things have helped me a lot - sterimar cleans out your sinuses and helps you breathe
too much nasal spray can rebound on your symptons!
also - i went to an allergy clinic  - i had intolerance to mushrooms bananas and yeast! and ive cut out these things in my diet and im much better !
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Avatar_n_tn
you have to go to a doctor who knows what they're doing and get Rhinostat.  The congestion problem happened to me too and now it happens every time I have a cold.  A couple of times I used other nasal decongestants and didn't develop the rebound symptom effects of nasal spray, but sometimes it happens and the only thing that works is Rhinostat.
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Avatar_n_tn
you have to go to a doctor who knows what they're doing and get Rhinostat.  The congestion problem happened to me too and now it happens every time I have a cold.  A couple of times I used other nasal decongestants and didn't develop the rebound symptom effects of nasal spray, but sometimes it happens and the only thing that works is Rhinostat.
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Avatar_n_tn
I, too, was "addicted" to Afrin and here is the solution:
Go to your doctor, explain the problem and request a steroid allergy nasal spray (Flonase, Nasonex). These sprays, in combination with a decongestant, such as Sudafed ---- will relieve your issue and free you from the horror of Afrin.

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Avatar_n_tn
I took afrin because my nos ewas so stopped up, and then it got where I couldn't quit using it. I would use it every hour if I needed it. Now I'm quitting cold turkey. It is horrible!. I have tried ocean spry, Neti Pot, breath right strips, and even a vicks inhailor (in conjunction wiht other oral nasal decongestants) And nothing has realy worked for me. I can go all day and be fine and then at night I', completely stopped up. I  can blow my nose until it is clear and then it just fills right back up. It's horrible adn gross. I have read a lot of home remedies, and tried a few. PUTTING BENGAY ON YOU NOSE BURNS LIKE FIRE !!! Eating spicy foods is a must, it does help.I've been told to eat garlic, and put pepperment oil on my nose but I haven't tried thoes yet. I've also been told that Olbas oil will help-put some on a tissue and leave it on your pillow while you sleep. I just can't seem to bring my self to go to the doctor and say her doc, I'm addicted to nasal spray and I just can't sleep at night anymore. I don't want him to think I'm a wierdo or something. Anyway If any of you have any other home remedies please share them with me. Thanks a million!
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