Help, I have a nasal spray addiction, how do I get rid of it?

Everyone gets a cold sometimes. The doctor can prescribe you a nasal spray, but you can also get it from the pharmacy without a prescription. It is always recommended to use the nasal spray for a maximum of seven days. If you use the nasal spray for a longer period of time, it can become a habit. You will use your nasal spray more and more, making you dependent on it over time. Yet there is a way to get rid of this annoying nasal spray addiction.

Nose spray

A nasal spray is medication in the form of a spray into the nose. The purpose of the nasal spray is to shrink the nasal mucous membranes. These are swollen when you have a cold or a respiratory infection. Because the nasal mucous membranes shrink, you can breathe better. The active substances that ensure this are xylometazoline, oxymetazoline or tramazoline.

Xylometazoline, oxymetazoline and tramazoline

Xylometazoline, oxymetazoline and tramazoline in themselves are not harmful to your nose when the medicine is used correctly. For example, it is recommended to use a nasal spray for a maximum of seven days, with a maximum of three times a day. This means that there must be a minimum of eight hours between each spray. Xylometazoline works very quickly. After five minutes you should be able to breathe more freely. The product lasts approximately twelve hours.

Which nasal sprays contain xylometazoline, oxymetazoline or tramazoline?

Most nasal sprays contain xylometazoline, oxymetazoline or tramazoline. These three active substances are related and work in the same way. You will almost never find a nasal spray under the substance name, but you will find it under the brand name. When you read the package leaflet, you will notice that one of these three substances is mentioned. Nasal sprays that sound familiar and contain one of these active ingredients are:

  • Otrivine
  • Otrivine duo
  • Nesivine
  • Nasa Rhinathiol
  • Nasasinutab
  • Rhinivex
  • Xylomaris
  • Rhino spray
  • Dexa Rhinospray


How do I get rid of a nasal spray addiction?

The cause of a nasal spray addiction is that you have used the active ingredient of your nasal spray for more than seven days or you use the product too quickly in succession. The danger of a nasal spray is that it seems very harmless and you also get results from the spray very quickly. This will make you more likely to use a nasal spray if you have a stuffy nose.Xylometazoline, oxymetazoline or tramazoline can also contribute to a stuffy nose. This only happens after a week. Then the nose simply touches the nasal spray. The blood vessels in the nose become accustomed to the nasal spray and expand. This will also cause the mucous membrane to swell. Your nose is now blocked and you are trying to clear it using the nasal spray. Because the nasal spray deswells the mucous membrane, you are temporarily relieved of the stuffy nose. However, because your nose is used to the nasal spray, you will need more and more sprays to clear the nose again. Over time, you will notice that your nose immediately becomes clogged again when you try to cut down on your nasal spray.

Is my nose damaged by the nasal spray?

The active substance in the nasal spray can damage the nose. Mainly the cilia and the nasal mucosa are affected. These are a natural barrier against viruses and bacteria. Because these are damaged, you are also more susceptible to infections. This damage is reversible. When you try to stop using a nasal spray and your nose gets enough rest, the cilia and nasal mucosa will recover, allowing you to breathe freely again without a nasal spray.

How to stop using a nasal spray?

As mentioned earlier, continuing to use the nasal spray maintains the addiction. You will have to stop using the nasal spray for a while. This is certainly not easy at first, but you will be happy that you do not always have a stuffy nose.

Stop using the nasal spray immediately

Immediately stopping the nasal spray is a good method, but you will have a few difficult days. As soon as you stop using the nasal spray, you will immediately feel short of breath and walk around with a stuffy nose. You will also sleep poorly. You may also experience complaints of a dry mouth. You may also be irritable or feel the urge to use your nasal spray. This can last for several days to a week. If you persevere, you will notice that after a few days the nose is less clogged than before. This is because your nasal mucosa learns to shrink on its own instead of waiting for the nasal spray. This way you can breathe freely again. Try to stay away from the nasal spray if you stop immediately. One spray is enough to lose all your progress. Then you have to go through the more difficult period with a stuffy nose again.

Gradually stop using the nasal spray

If you find it too difficult to immediately stop using a nasal spray or you notice that your attempts are failing, you can also gradually stop using the nasal spray. You do this by choosing one nostril where you allow yourself to still use the nasal spray. The other nostril no longer receives nasal spray. In this way, the mucous membrane and cilia will be restored in one nostril, while the other nostril will remain free until then due to the nasal spray. The advantage of this method is that you will sleep better because you can breathe freely through one nostril. You will still experience the symptoms you have if you immediately stop using a nasal spray, but to a lesser extent. A disadvantage is that if you use the nasal spray, there is a risk that you will also use the spray in your other nostril out of habit. When a week has passed and you notice that your nostril is free of nasal congestion without a nasal spray, you can omit the nasal spray. The nostril that you first treated will have already recovered, allowing you to breathe freely through it.

Tips for stopping the nasal spray

There are some tips that can help you stop using a nasal spray. These are:

  • Provide distraction. When you are busy with something, you think less about your stuffy nose, which means it also bothers you less.
  • Place your nasal spray far away. This way you always have to get up and walk to a certain place. This way you become aware that you are going to use the nasal spray.
  • Try to remain calm when your nose is blocked. Know that this is part of the process and give your nose the chance to breathe freely again.