Cold Home > Afrin Warnings and Precautions

Before you use Afrin, warnings and precautions for the medication should be fully understood. Tell your healthcare provider if you have certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma, heart disease, or diabetes. Safety concerns also apply to people who have certain allergies and to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Do not use Afrin for more than three days in a row, as it can make congestion worse.

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Afrin?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to using Afrin® (oxymetazoline nasal spray) if you have:
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Afrin Warnings and Precautions

Some warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to using Afrin include the following:
  • Do not use Afrin more than directed or for longer than three days at a time. Rebound congestion (a worsening of congestion due to the medication) could occur (see Afrin Addiction for more information).
  • Afrin can cause problems in people with glaucoma, an enlarged prostate, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or heart disease. If you have one of these conditions, do not use this drug without first checking with your healthcare provider.
  • Afrin could potentially interact with other medications (see Afrin Drug Interactions).
  • Do not share the nasal spray with anyone else, as this could spread an infection.
  • Do not tip your head back when using Afrin, as this increases the chance of it running down your throat, which may increase the absorption of the medication into the bloodstream and might increase the risk of Afrin side effects.
  • Afrin is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it might not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not currently known (see Afrin and Pregnancy).
  • It is unknown if Afrin passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider before using this medication (see Afrin and Breastfeeding).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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