Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableDrug class: Respiratory

Afrin

(Oxymetazoline)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableDrug class: Respiratory
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Clears your sinuses.

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Our bottom line

Afrin (Oxymetazoline) clears stuffy noses well, but don't use it for more than 3 days in a row or your congestion could get worse.

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Upsides

  • It works right away and each dose provides relief for up to 12 hours.
  • Can use for nasal congestion caused by colds and allergies.
  • It only affects your nose, so there aren't too many other side effects.
  • Available as a nasal spray and a nasal mist.
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Downsides

  • Afrin (Oxymetazoline), like all other sprays used for stuffy noses, can make your congestion worse if you use it for more than 3 or 4 days in a row (called rebound-congestion).
  • Can cause temporary stinging, burning, or dryness in your nose.
  • Can't be used for kids younger than 6 years old.
How it works

Afrin (Oxymetazoline) is a nasal decongestant. It reduces swelling in your nose to make breathing easier.

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Side effect rates for Afrin (Oxymetazoline)

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These are side effects of Afrin (Oxymetazoline) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.
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Risks and Warnings for Afrin (Oxymetazoline)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Using Afrin (Oxymetazoline) for more than 3 days

    Don't use it for more than 3 days in a row. Continuing to use Afrin (Oxymetazoline) for longer may cause “rebound” congestion once you stop using it, meaning your congestion could come back again, just as bad or even worse. It's best to slowly lower the amount you use over a few days and use a non-medicated nasal spray, like saline (salt-water), to clear up stuffiness.

Common concerns from people taking Afrin (Oxymetazoline)

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