Is Afrin Addictive?
Although Afrin® (oxymetazoline nasal spray) is not traditionally considered an addictive drug, it is possible for a person to become dependent on it. If you use Afrin for longer than the recommended maximum of three days, there is a good chance you may become "addicted" to it.
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.
The good news is that the rebound effect is not permanent. If you can suffer through a few days of extreme congestion, you will likely be free of Afrin for good. Some tips for helping to break your addiction to Afrin include replacing it with an oral decongestant, using a saline nasal spray, or using a humidifier or nasal strips to help clear the nasal passages.
(Click Afrin Addiction for more information on why Afrin is "addictive." This article also discusses how an addiction begins and provides additional tips for how to stop using it.)