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kelticman 06-23-2004 06:38 PM

Addicted to nasal spray (again)
About 9 years ago I got addicted to nasal spray (the UK equivalent to Afrin). In the end I had to have an operation (cauterize?) and I was told by the surgeon that it would last at most 5 years. Well, 9 years later and I've been doing fine. I moved to a more humid climate (Florida) and lately my nose was getting a bit stuffy. So against my better judgment I bought some and about a week later here I am and cant get off the stuff because every time I stop using it my stuffiness comes back 100 times worse.

Can anyone suggest a method of getting off this? I donít want to have to go through the whole surgery process again!


motherearth 06-27-2004 06:49 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
Come off of it the person is trying to get help.Is this not what these boards are for.Being addited to something is not a easy game.So give people a little sympathy.It might be the only thing they need So lay off.You might be in his shoes some day.

kelticman 06-27-2004 07:32 PM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
Blahblah grow up you ************ child.

MrsLee 06-28-2004 07:47 PM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
What a rude post--the last I checked, the purpose of these boards was not to lecture or belittle anyone. There is no such thing as a dumb question, and believe me kelticman, this question is nowhere near dumb. So I will provide an answer that may actually be constructive for a person with a serious health question, because that is the purpose of these boards.

I have been addicted to afrin many times, and it is very bad for your health. But once you stop, you get so stuffed up that you can't breathe. When you are unable to breathe it affects your quality of life.

Kelticman, I will tell you what the doctor told me, and how I quit using it. It is so hard to quit because of the rebound effect. After you have used it for an extended period of time, you need to use more and more to get the same effect, and after awhile just to function. Your blood vessels and turbinates in your nose shrink when you use the afrin. When it wears off, they are starved for blood, and then swell up again, causing stuffiness. After awhile your turbinates will just become swelled all the time.

There are other ill effects to using afrin, but I am not sure of the specifics. So here is how I quit using it. The doctor gave me a steroid shot, which temporarily reduces inflammation. I also take decongestants everyday. I take Aquatab D twice a day. I also use rhinocort twice a day. This is a steroid (like flonase), but since it is used in the nose (instead of ingested) it is pretty safe for everyday use. If your stuffiness is due to allergies, an oral antihistamine (claratin, allegra, benadryl) and a nasal spray (astelin) would help. You can get allergy meds with decongestants.

When I quit, there were a couple times I had to use a spray of it to get by. So I guess it wasn't completely "cold turkey." But within a week I was off of it. Another thing I did--and I don't know how healthy this is, but it can't be worse than the afrin addiction--was take nyquil every night. Basically, nyquil has a decongestant and an antihistamine. But you don't want to get addicted to that either. It really did help that first week or so though. Just don't take it with another decongestant or other drugs.

Every once in awhile I use Afrin, like if I cry, because I get SO stuffy I can't breathe at all. But really the best way to stop the addiction is to throw the stuff away and don't buy any more. Or if you need to hang onto it like me, give it to someone else and ask them to hide it, and if you really need it they can give it to you. The hardest part is getting un-addicted, but then it is so important that you do not start again. You may have to use some or all of these drugs (if you don't already) that I mentioned, but they are better for you than the afrin.

Well I hope this information helps you somehow. Although I am risking getting a verbal lashing by responding, I wanted to let you know you are not alone., Do a search on this site and you will find many posts about this issue. I wish you the best of luck, take care kelticman!

motherearth 06-29-2004 06:19 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
It took me a long time to sign up here.I thought that maybe this board was a little difference .But know I'm having 2nd thoughts.This board is all the same.Someone is asking for help and someone is basiclly laughing at him.Sorry about the spelling. I'm so dishearted about this BLAH_BLAH.Lighten up.What I was saying tha tBLAH_BLAH may need help and no one will help.Kind of like the boy who cries wolf.He or she did have a geart idea.Maybe the pulbic should be aware of certain otc drugs being addictive,
I'm so out of here
Motherearth :blob_fire

susieq0726 06-29-2004 07:18 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
BlahBlah you are very rude, and I hope you get banned for your reply.

Anyway,,,yes. Becoming addicted to nasal spray is common and happens to alot of people. I am just recovering from a really bad sinus infection and my doctor said to use Afrin, but only for 1 week as you can become dependent on the stuff. I don't know what to tell you that will help you stop using it, but felt you needed to know that you're not crazy and nasal spray addition is very real. Good luck with it and I hope your feeling better soon.

MsPeace 06-30-2004 11:22 PM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)

I know how you feel. I've been addicted to nasal spray as well. I was first addicted to Afrin and then to 4-way (they have 2 separate ingredients) In my opinion the 4-way was way more difficult to quit. Without it I felt like I was suffocating. I couldn't concentrate on anything but my inability to breath through my nose. Nasal Spray addiction is actually a huge problem in recent times and the companies are banking off this type of addiction. At times I would go to the store and "my type" of nasal spray would be temporarily out of stock...I'm sure this was because it is so highly addictive. I kicked the habit by dilluting the spray with saline solution and every week I would continue to dillute it. I also took nasal decongestants, which helped. Good luck:)

MrsLee 07-01-2004 08:34 PM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
Blah--I am glad to see you can make a comment without being rude to others. There is nothing wrong with sarcasm, but when it is meant to humiliate someone and make them feel bad, then it has progressed past sarcasm to just plain hurtful.

Even if it seems to be a question a doctor or website can answer, a lot of people find comfort in knowing others are going through the same problems. Before I found this board, I had no idea there were other people with tonsil stones, or TMJ disorder, or even afrin addictions. I thought I was a freak. But finding other people on here and hearing their stories has really taught me a lot about lesser known health problems that your doctor just doesn't address.

As for the warning on the afrin bottle-yes, there is one. But it does not describe the extent to which it can harm a person. Is it smart to keep using it past three days? NO. But once you have, and become "addicted," it is too late for an "I told you so" about the warning label. Kelticman didn't want a lecture or sarcasm, he wanted to hear from someone who had experienced the same problem and could offer some advice. I think it is great that people can express their opinions on this board--I just like to see constructive comments rather than hurtful ones.

susieq0726 07-06-2004 07:14 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
I am sure Kelticman did not reply to you because of your rude tone. You probably made him feel stupid. Shame on you. :nono:
You said it yourself: "Everyone else responded to your negative tone" What does that tell you?????

MRI MAN 07-07-2004 08:48 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
I was addicted to that stuff as well, when I was a teenager, the problem is not FLEM it is the swelling of your nasal passages to the point of not being able to breath. This was worse than a cold it was like someone holding your nose totally closed 24 hours a day.

I sought help from a doctor and this is what I was told to do, and it worked for me. First off you may need to go seek medical advice. If you want to try this on your own this is what I did. Get some Neosynphrine, once you have used up that bottle fill it with salt water, just normal tap water and salt would do. If you have access to normal saline ( you can buy it over the counter for nasal problems now, but could not way back when I was a teen) Put the saline (salt water) into the neosynephrine container and use it. I had to refill it twice with saline but was FINALLY no longer needing Afrin or the like to breath.

Seek a doctor if you have any bleeding and such.

Good luck and don't worry about BLAH BLAH he does not deserve an answer for being such a jerk about your serious breathing problems. Oh and in the future NEVER again use the Afrin or the like.

But you all ready know that. ;)

VegasGirl 07-07-2004 09:42 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
That happens a lot, happened to me once about 12 years ago. I had a bad cold and was using the nasal spray, then after a month or so I noticed that the stuffiness wasn't going away and put two and two together. My doctor gave me Prednisone for a week and some kind of non-addictive spray similar to Flonase. Worked like a charm! He said to never use nasal sprays and that they are very addictive and shouldn't be allowed on the market.

jorjac 07-07-2004 09:44 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
I can definitely relate to being addicted to nasal spray...I had the same problem about 30 years ago while I was pregnant with my son. My sinuses got infected and I could not get air through my nose at all...Doctors put me on all kinds of antibiotics but nothing worked. I was using over-the-counter nose spray in order to get any air at all. Finally, I was given a prescription for Afrin. After a time, I couldn't get air through my nostrils at all unless I cleared the passage with nose spray. I finally had to tell my doc that I was addicted to it and was concerned about the baby. So, I was finally sent to an eye, ear, nose specialist who in turn did exactly what kelticman did...I had my nose cauterized...One nostril at a time...two weeks between. Since that time, I have not used nosespray. I'm sure I would get the same dependency again. So, it does happen...I sometimes have stuffy nose, but I live with it now. J

susieq0726 07-07-2004 12:41 PM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
I hope some day that you have a problem that someone makes fun of. Didn't your mother ever teach you that if you have nothing nice to say, then shut your mouth and don't say anything! :nono:

Super123 07-07-2004 02:14 PM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
Blah Blah, you're a jerk. If you don't like being called a jerk, just stop being one! It's as simple as that! (Isn't it?)

I sympathize with the Afrin addiction. I had septoplasty and sinus surgery three weeks ago, and had the left turbinate removed, so that can't swell ever again- but the right side has been intermittently stuffy off and on since. I try to use the stuff very sparingly. last night I couldn't sleep because my right side was swollen up. I tried saline spray, and I also tried a bit of exercise, which often helps to open up the passage. I got up and ran a long flight of stairs up and down ten times. After three times it opened right up. Unfortunately, this time it didn't stay open (sometimes it does) so I said screw it and shot two hits of Afrin up there. I don't plan on using it again tonight, hope I don't have to.

The exercise ploy helps sometimes, so try that first. Walk briskly around the block, climb some stairs, do jumping jacks, about 5 minutes.

MsPeace 07-08-2004 12:24 AM

Re: Addicted to nasal spray (again)
Blah, If you don't mind me asking, what is your purpose for searching this board? Are you looking for support/info regarding a specific topic?

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