I also had a very similar, very miserable experience with Afrin. I've used the spray sporadically for the past few years to alleviate sinus congestion from colds. Recently, I had a particularly bad cold that resulted in use of the spray for about 6 straight days (3-4 times per day...sometimes more). This exceeded the recommended 3 day warning on the label, but I am a fairly large guy and figured I could handle the extra dosage without any problem...I was wrong! With each use, my congestion would be relieved almost immediately, but I began to experience severe insomnia, massive panic attacks, rapid heart rate and breathing, shaking and cold sweats. While at work during the day, I functioned normally, but at night I couldn't lie down...couldn't sit still...fealt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin...emotions were out of control...wanted to scream and would have done just about anything to make the attacks stop. Although I never considered doing anything rash, there were definately some psychological side effects from the spray as well. I can see how someone experiencing these types of symptoms for more than a few days in a row could develop some suicidal thoughts...I'm not exagerating...the panic and anxiety were very intense. The experience scared me to death and after 3 miserable nights with no sleep I finally called my doctor. He prescribed Nasonex which helps with the congestion and helped ween me off of the dependency on Afrin. The Nasonex is not addictive or carry the strong side effects that Afrin does. Aside from doing the obvious and reading (AND following) the label warnings, I would recommend consulting your doctor before using ANY nasal decongestant. As for me...I've thrown away every bottle of Afrin in the house and will never use it again.
Thank you for posting this!! My doctor just recommended Afrin yesterday. He told me not to use it for more than 5 days. After my first dose this morning, my face turned hot and bright red, so did my chest. It has been about 5 hours since that first dose, my face is still red, but not as hot. The Afrin is going into my waste basket. I would rather have a runny nose. Thank you again.
I am having the exact same reaction as I type this. I usually try to steer clear from medicine due to the side effects, but this cold was so severe I needed something. Per my doctor's recommendation I used Afrin. I have not been able to sleep and am having severe panic attacks. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Nice to know i'm not alone. Afrin will be going in the trash!
OH WOW. This makes sense a lot now with my current experience. I had a bad sinus infection and the hospital gave me Afrin to help with fluid in my ears... which apparently was NEVER THERE to begin with according to the ENT I followed up with. I didn't sleep for THREE DAYS whatsoever after beginning Afrin and my pain got 10x worse even while on it.. I'm currently dealing with the super closed nose rebound but the BIGGEST and most frightening complaint I have was thoughts of suicide. My parents and boyfriend really thought I was on the brink. After three days no sleep... you can't even perceive what's real or not or WHY you just want it to end. Truly one of the worst experiences of my life. I'm not prone to such problems and I've suffered chronic pain in my throat for years! Never had sleepless nights and thoughts of taking all my pills or slitting my wrists or jumping off the balcony of our house... WTF AFRIN????