Rhinitis medicamentosa is a fancy name used for being addicted to nose drops.
when the nose is stuffy and cannot breathe , what you do? you just put nasal drops or spray and open the nose beautifully, so you can breathe well. However, the fact is that later, the nose clogs again and you use the drops again, maybe more that the first time. At the beginning, you only use them every 12 hours, then every 8 and then every 6 hours. Some people even reported they have to use nose drops every four hour.Some patients finish a botlle a day!
What are the dangers?
Not only one get addicted to it causing rebound effect and Rhinitis medicamantosa, the ingredients can increase your BP (the adrenergic effect) and patient may experience feeling nervous and irritable
The drops usually available over the counter (OTC) are Oxymetazoline, Phenyleherine or Neosynephrine and Xylometazoline-Otrivine, Nasivion etc.
In some cases where the medication you used for a long time and you are already addicted to nose drops, the cilia fail to work causing sinusitis. Ciliary movements are important for the nose to clear the dust and other allergens.
What to do then?
Don’t treat yourself. If at all use these vasoconstrictor drops, use as prescribed by the doctor. Don’t use it more than 5-7 days, if it’s for a common cold. If you have nasal obstruction due to allergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis, these drops are not the treatment. You see an ENT doctor and consult him.
Treatment of Rhintis medicamentosa
1.Stopping use of the offending nasal spray- not that easy.
2.Reduce it by substituting saline nasal drops instead.
3.Short course of Steroid- tablets and nasal spray
4.If the nasal blockage persists see the ENT doctor
5. If all the above fail, Laser turbinectomy can be tried under local anesthetic.
Very simple procedure. It can be done in the clinic setting.Laser beam reduce the enlarged boggy turbinates and give you good airway to breathe. The procedure takes say 10 minutes. And you can go back home or to work as soon as you finish this small procedure.