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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,
120 Responses
Avatar universal
I have never heard of anyone being addicted to nasal spray.  I suppose that you could be addicted to the antihistamine in it.  Maybe there is an oral med that would allow you to taper off the spray?  The hard part of addiction is in dealing with the mental stuff associated with abstinance/withdrawals.  You may want to consult an addiction specialist for this problem.  J.B.
Avatar universal
I don't believe you are actually addicted to the ingredients in the nasal spray as much as you are addicted to what it does.  You see, when you use a nasal spray regularly, it causes your nasal passages to open, then a "rebound" effect afterwards.  Meaning that the passages close up as soon as it wears off (usually tighter than before).  This causes a vicious cycle because you need to keep using it to open them which continually causes the rebound effect.  The same thing happens with asthma inhalers and the lungs.  Your doc was right about going cold turkey.  You have become dependent on them to breathe and you must "train" your nasal passages to open on their own.  Unfortunately this means being completely stuffed up until this happens.  I don't know how long this will take.  I am sorry to hear you are going through this and I hope the info I gave you helps.  I am a nurse and often counsel my patients on the dangers of overusing nasal sprays and inhalers.  Good luck and God Bless, Maryanne
Avatar universal
Have any of you guys ever had CONTUGESIC (Codicontin?)  If so what are they similar too here in the USA?  (Percocet, Lortab, Oxycontin???)
Avatar universal
Steph, I FEEL YOU!!  I just happened to stumble onto this site after looking for information about something else and saw your post.  I too have an addiction to nasal spray and, to be perfectly honest, can't remember the last time I went a day that I didn't use it!  I'm 29 and having probably been squirting for at least the past six years.  I have similar problems to yours and know exactly how you feel.  I have been hooked on one spray (Vick's Ultra-Fine Mist 12hr spray) and it's the only one that works.  I've tried various other brands including prescribed brands from my doctor and nothing else can clear me up.  I say this to possibly support the notion that you could be addicted to the ingredients.  I am currently entertaining the possibility of deviated septum surgery.  You may want to look into this.  I know some people who have done it and they say it worked well for them.  But for now, I've added Claritin D (12 hr) to my daily pill-poppin regimen and it seems to have lessened my squirts.  Of course now, this will be a new addiction!  I know exactly what you mean about going cold turkey too!  Anxiety sets in when I don't get my "fix."  This of course makes breathing that much harder to bear.  Going cold turkey would be extremely difficult but to anyone that's ever done it, I'd love to hear story.  Good luck to ya!
Avatar universal
This is for Stephanie:  I have been addicted to nasal spray many times.  I usually get on it when I have a very bad cold.  The way to withdraw is one nostril at a time.  Don't be in a hurry.  Make sure the first nostril is nice and clear and then withdraw the second one.  There is no yearning for the spray once you have put it aside.  It is not like alcohol or morphine; it does not alter one's psyche so you don't yearn for it once the head is cleared up again.  Also, after you start withdrawing the first nostril it sometimes helps to use 'Breathe Right' at night.  This is a product which looks a bit like a bandaid which you put over the bridge of your nose to help open, physically, the nasal space.  I have been addicted to just about everything and clean for thirty years with the exception of nasal spray.  Good luck, kid.
Avatar universal
One more thing,

I would also use Vics vaporub and a humidifier.  It made the air seem more clear and it was easier to breath out of one nostril or just from my mouth. It won't make that much of a difference, but with all three in place, alot easier.

Avatar universal
Those are good words from Tara.  She mentions some things that I probably should have.  It may take a couple of weeks.  Be patient.  It is difficult but very reasonable and doable.
Avatar universal
Hi Stephanie,

I was addicted to otrivin 3 years ago for about 1 year.  I went to many specialists.  What I've been told is that nasal spray can be as addictive as morphine.  I had it everywhere, a bottle in every jacket and every drawer.  One time I went out of town for the weekend with my at the time boyfriend and in the middle of the night realized I had no spray, only one bottle and it was empty.  I had a panic attack, I thought I was dying and we were in unfamiliar surroundings so we had no idea where a 24 hour drugstore was.  After that I knew I had to quit.

I was also told that I had to go cold turkey.  What happens is your nostrils will swell up if it doesnt have the nasal spray to take down the swelling.  What I did is I took my regular dosage but only put it in one nostril at a time.  This way I could still breath (not perfectly of course), then I would cut the daily dosages in half.  I was completely off of it after 2 weeks.  

I have never used a nasal spray since and I never will.  If I get a cold I will use basic cold med's so that I do not feel that immediate relief and rely on it again.  Just thinking about it, I can remember the suffocated feeling I had everytime I thought the otrivin was wearing off.  It was a very scary feeling.

Try this, hopefully it will help.  I know exactly what you're going through.

Take care,

Avatar universal
Percocet is Oxycodone and Acetaminophen.  Lortab is Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen.  Oxycontin is Oxycodone in a sustained-release form.  Oxycontin is not a true contin, in that it is a short-acting medication that has been placed in a sustained-release form.  When you take Oxycontin, you get an immediate (in about 45 minutes) release of the medicine, followed by a timed release.  With MS Contin, it is a true contin, in that it gives a sustained release of the medication over an 8-12 hour period--no quick bursts of medicine followed by a timed release.  Chad, I do not have any drug books with me, so I am uncertain of the composition of Contugesic (Codicontin).  Maybe the above info will be of some help.  Maria.
Avatar universal
    Yeah I know about all those drugs, I am addicted to most of them.  I was just unsure of what Codcontin is.  It is a drug offered on an overseas website.  I didn't want to order anything with codiene in it, codiene sucks.
Thanks anyway
Avatar universal
I looked up your nasal spray on rxlist.com and found that it contains a drug called PHENYLEPHRINE HCL, a sort of a "poor mans's" speed, similar to drugs like sudaphed (a precursor to amphetamine). PHENYLEPHRINE HCL falls under the same classification of drugs as real speed, namely "SYMPATHOMIMETIC (ADRENERGIC) AGENTS." You've developed an addiction to what amounts to a very mild, amphetamine-like substance. If used in sufficient doses, I imagine it gives you a very mild lift in the same way a couple of sudaphed decongestant pills would. Just be thankful you're not hooked on a true amphetamine. You've simply gotten used to that very mild mood lift that the PHENYLEPHRINE HCL provides you. PHENYLEPHRINE HCL is one of those ersatz speed-like drugs these guys in the back of men's magazine like to sell in black capsules claiming they're legal "black beauties." You've got what amounts to becoming addicted to coffee for its caffeine. PHENYLEPHRINE HCL is so mild (that's why it's over the counter) that, with a little will power, mild exercise and, say, a good strong cup of coffee to give you that lift you'll miss, you should be able to get off the spray pretty easily. The drug is so mild, your addiction is mostly psychological. Stop using it, take regular walks for a few days, and drink a cup of strong coffee if you feel you need a little lift. That should get you past this addiction to PHENYLEPHRINE HCL. Like I said, be thankful it isn't real speed you're trying to get off of. Give what I say a try. I think you'll find that, after just a few days, you won't miss the spray at all. Count yourself lucky it's such a mild drug you're trying to quit. Perservere for just a few days and everything will be alright, I promise. Good luck. Let us know how you do. tom
Avatar universal
speaking of nasal sprays, what's the story with this stadol nasal spray? I've heard that's extremely addictive, used, for the most part, to treat sudden-onset pain like migraines and cluster headaches. Is Stadol an opioid of some kind?
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