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Drug Profile

The information on this site is intended to supplement and enhance, not replace, the advice of a physician who is familiar with your medical history. Decisions about your health should always be made ONLY after detailed conversation with your doctor.

Generic drug name: oxymetazoline (ox ee met AH zoh leen)
Brand name(s): AFRIN, DRISTAN NASAL SPRAY/MIST, DRIXORAL NASAL SOLUTION, DURAMIST NASAL DECONGESTANT SPRAY, NEO-SYNEPHRINE DROPS/SPRAY, NOSTRILLA NASAL DECONGESTANT, RHOFADE, VICKS SINEX NASAL SPRAY/MIST
GENERIC: available FAMILY: Decongestants
Find the drug label by searching at DailyMed.

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings [top]

Pregnancy and Breast-feeding Warnings

There is no information in the labels for these drugs. Consult with your doctor or pharmacist if you already are or are planning to become pregnant or to breast-feed.

Facts About This Drug [top]

Oxymetazoline is the active ingredient in over-the-counter nasal drops, mists, and sprays used for temporary relief of nasal congestion from the common cold, sinusitis, hay fever, or allergies. The medication lasts up to 12 hours. Nasal decongestants are useful because they treat congested noses topically, as discussed in Cough and Cold. Treatment should be limited to a stuffed-up nose, since a runny nose promotes drainage. Minimal medication gets into the rest of your body, thereby avoiding...

Oxymetazoline is the active ingredient in over-the-counter nasal drops, mists, and sprays used for temporary relief of nasal congestion from the common cold, sinusitis, hay fever, or allergies. The medication lasts up to 12 hours. Nasal decongestants are useful because they treat congested noses topically, as discussed in Cough and Cold. Treatment should be limited to a stuffed-up nose, since a runny nose promotes drainage. Minimal medication gets into the rest of your body, thereby avoiding the need for an oral decongestant medicine that treats your symptoms indirectly and requires over 25 times more medication, therefore causing more adverse effects. Nasal decongestant sprays should not be used for more than three days in a row, however, because they can cause “rebound congestion,” in which the lining of the nose becomes more swollen.

Before You Use This Drug [top]

Tell your doctor if you have or have had:

  • pregnancy or are breast-feeding
  • allergies or sensitivity to oxymetazoline or other nasal decongestants
  • coronary artery disease
  • heart disease, including angina
  • hypertension
  • enlarged prostate
  • diabetes
  • glaucoma
  • hyperthyroidism
  • dry mucous membranes

Tell your doctor about any other drugs you take, including aspirin, herbs, vitamins, and other nonprescription products.

When You Use This Drug [top]

  • Do not use this drug for more than three days without checking with your doctor.

How to Use This Drug [top]

  • If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it if it is almost time for the next dose. Do not take double doses.
  • Do not share your medication with others.
  • Take the drug at the same time(s) each day.
  • Store at room temperature with lid on tightly. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not expose to heat, moisture, or strong light. Keep out of reach of children.
  • Wipe the tip of the applicator with a clean, damp tissue and replace the cap right after use.

Interactions with Other Drugs [top]

Some other drugs that you may be taking (either over-the-counter or prescription) can interact with this one, causing adverse effects. Ask your doctor what these drugs are and let him or her know if you are taking any of them.

Adverse Effects [top]

Call your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • rebound congestion (increased runny or stuffy nose)

Call your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of systemic absorption:

  • blurred vision
  • fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeat
  • headache, dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness
  • high blood pressure
  • nervousness
  • trembling
  • trouble sleeping
  • weakness

Call your doctor if these symptoms continue:

  • burning, dryness, or stinging of nasal mucosa
  • increase in nasal discharge
  • sneezing

last reviewed February 28, 2021