Cold Home > Effects of Afrin

Afrin® (oxymetazoline nasal spray) is a non-prescription nasal spray approved to treat nasal congestion in adults and children as young as six years old. There are several effects of Afrin, including relieving nasal congestion caused by:
 
The active ingredient in Afrin is part of a group of drugs called decongestants. Specifically, it works by stimulating certain receptors known as alpha-adrenergic receptors. In the lining of the nasal passages, this action causes the blood vessels to constrict, allowing less fluid to leave the blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. These effects of Afrin help to relieve nasal congestion.
 
It is important to limit the use of this nasal spray to no more than three days in a row. The nasal passages become accustomed to the effects of Afrin, and you may find that you must continue to use it just to keep the congestion away, even though the original problem (such as a cold) has long resolved.
 
(Click Afrin Uses for a closer look at the effects of Afrin. This article describes how the medication works to treat nasal congestion in adults and children, as well as possible off-label uses.)
 
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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