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How can I avoid rebound congestion if I use a decongestant nasal spray?


Topical decongestants such as decongestant nasal sprays should only be used for 3 days to avoid rebound congestion. Rebound congestion is the worsening of the original congestion due to a dependence on the nasal passage for the medication in order to keep the blood vessels constricted. The nose develops a tolerance to the medication requiring more medication to produce the same effect and eventually becoming ineffective in relieving the congestion.

Although the precise mechanism of this reaction has not been identified, the prolonged vasoconstriction caused by nasal decongestant sprays is thought to cause a secondary vasodilatation (resulting in congestion) and a decreased response to the nasal sprays themselves.

Rebound congestion treatment

Treatment of rebound congestion consists of withdrawal from the decongestant nasal spray , and replacing the decongestant spray with a topical normal saline product such as Walgreens saline nasal spray. This can be used to restore moisture and relieve dry nasal passages.

The mucous membrane typically returns to normal in 1 to 2 weeks following discontinuation of the nasal decongestant spray.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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