Why is this medication prescribed?
Oxymetazoline nasal spray is used to relieve nasal discomfort caused by colds, allergies, and hay fever. It is also used to relieve sinus congestion and pressure. Oxymetazoline nasal spray should not be used to treat children younger than 6 years of age unless it is recommended by a doctor. Children 6 to 12 years of age should use oxymetazoline nasal spray carefully and under adult supervision. Oxymetazoline is in a class of medications called nasal decongestants. It works by narrowing the blood vessels in the nasal passages.
How should this medicine be used?
Oxymetazoline comes as a solution (liquid) to spray into the nose. It is usually used every 10 to 12 hours as needed, but not more often than twice in a 24-hour period. Follow the directions on the package label or on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use oxymetazoline nasal spray exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor or directed on the label.
If you use oxymetazoline nasal spray for more often or for longer than the recommended period of time, your congestion may get worse or may improve but come back. Do not use oxymetazoline nasal spray for longer than 3 days. If your symptoms do not get better after 3 days of treatment, stop using oxymetazoline and call your doctor.
Oxymetazoline nasal spray is only for use in the nose. Do not swallow the medication.
To prevent the spread of infection, do not share your spray dispenser with anyone else. Rinse the tip of the dispenser with hot water or wipe it clean after you use it.
Follow the directions for using the nasal spray that appear on the package label. If you are using a product that comes in a pump dispenser, press down on the rim several times before using your first dose to prime the pump, according to the directions on the label. When you are ready to use the spray, hold your head upright without tilting and place the tip of the bottle in your nostril. For the nasal spray, squeeze the bottle quickly and firmly. For products that come in a pump dispenser, press down on the rim with a firm, even stroke and breathe in deeply.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using oxymetazoline,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to oxymetazoline, or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the following medications or have stopped taking them within the past two weeks: isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate).
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, diabetes, difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland, or thyroid or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using oxymetazoline nasal spray, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
This medication is usually used as needed. If your doctor has told you to use oxymetazoline regularly, use the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Oxymetazoline may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- increased nasal discharge
- dryness inside the nose
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- fast heartbeat
- slow heartbeat
Oxymetazoline nasal spray may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online () or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat, light, and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not freeze the medication.
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website () for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach.
In case of emergency/overdose
If you use too much oxymetazoline nasal spray or if someone swallows the medication, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911
What other information should I know?
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about oxymetazoline nasal spray.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
- Afrin® Nasal Spray
- Anefrin® Nasal Spray
- Dristan® Nasal Spray
- Mucinex® Nasal Spray
- Nostrilla® Nasal Spray
- Vicks Sinex® Nasal Spray
- Zicam® Nasal Spray