Although it may seem unlikely, it is possible for a person to become dependent on Afrin. If you use this nasal spray for more than three days in a row, it can result in an Afrin addiction. Because the blood vessels of the nose quickly become accustomed to the drug, a higher dosage may be needed to obtain the original effect.
An Introduction to Afrin AddictionAfrin® (oxymetazoline nasal spray) is a commonly used decongestant spray. It is available without a prescription. Although Afrin is not traditionally considered a drug of abuse, it is possible for a person to become dependent on it (or on any decongestant nasal spray).
Will I Become Addicted to Afrin?If you use Afrin for longer than the recommended maximum of three days, there is a good chance you may become "addicted" to the medication. Afrin works by shrinking the blood vessels of the nose. However, the blood vessels quickly become accustomed to the medication. A higher dosage (which is not recommended) may be necessary to obtain the original effect. Continued use is necessary to avoid a return of the congestion, even if the original cause (such as a cold) has resolved. This is known as a rebound effect.
Some people may have this problem without even being aware of it. They may assume that the nasal congestion is due to an ongoing problem, such as allergies, when, in fact, it is simply due to overuse of the medication. Other people know exactly what they are doing, but find that Afrin use is the only way they can make it through the night (or possibly even the day).