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Oxymetazoline solution

Generic Name: oxymetazoline (OX-ee-MET-azz-oh-leen)
Brand Name: Examples include Afrin and Nostrilla 12 Hour

Oxymetazoline solution is used for:

Relieving nasal congestion due to the common cold, hay fever, other upper respiratory tract allergies, or sinus infection. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Oxymetazoline solution is a decongestant. It works by shrinking swollen and congested nasal tissues (mucous membranes) by constricting blood vessels. This results in relief of congestion (stuffy feeling), improved drainage of mucus, and improved breathing through the nose. Local application (eg, nose drops and sprays) causes more intense and rapid vasoconstriction than oral medicines (eg, tablets, syrups).

Do NOT use oxymetazoline solution if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in oxymetazoline solution
  • you are also taking furazolidone or a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor (eg, phenelzine)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Video: Asthma

How to prevent and treat an asthma attack.

Before using oxymetazoline solution:

Some medical conditions may interact with oxymetazoline solution. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have high blood pressure, enlarged prostate, diabetes, overactive thyroid, or heart disease

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with oxymetazoline solution. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because the effectiveness of oxymetazoline solution may be decreased
  • Cocaine, furazolidone, MAO inhibitors (eg, phenelzine), or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline) because side effects, such as headache, fever, or high blood pressure, may be increased
  • Bromocriptine or cocaine because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if oxymetazoline solution may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use oxymetazoline solution:

Use oxymetazoline solution as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • To use nose drops, gently blow your nose. Lie down and tilt your head back. Breathe through your mouth. Insert the dropper tip in the nose no more than 1/3 inch. Try not to touch the dropper tip to the inside of your nose. Place the correct number of drops in your nose. Continue to lie down with your head tilted back for 2 minutes.
  • To use a nose spray, gently blow your nose. Sit down and tilt your head back slightly. Place the tip of the spray container into the nose. Using a finger from your other hand, press against the opposite nostril to close it off. Breathe gently through the open nostril and squeeze the spray container. If you are using more than 1 spray, wait for 1 to 2 minutes between sprays. After using the medicine, rinse the tip of the spray unit in hot water and dry with a clean tissue to prevent contamination.
  • If you miss a dose of oxymetazoline solution and are using it regularly, use it as soon as possible. If it is much more than 1 hour since your missed dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use oxymetazoline solution.

Important safety information:

  • Do not use oxymetazoline solution for more than 3 days unless advised to do so by your health care provider. Frequent or long-term use of oxymetazoline solution may cause nasal congestion to recur or worsen.
  • Do not share oxymetazoline solution with anyone else; this may cause the infection to spread.
  • Diabetes patients - Oxymetazoline solution may affect your blood sugar level. Your doctor may need to change the amount of diabetes medicine you are taking.
  • Oxymetazoline solution is not recommended for use in CHILDREN younger than 6 years of age. Safety and effectiveness in this age group have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using oxymetazoline solution during pregnancy. It is unknown if oxymetazoline solution is excreted in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you are using oxymetazoline solution, check with your doctor or pharmacist to discuss the risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of oxymetazoline solution:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Increase in nasal discharge; sneezing; stinging; temporary burning.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue).

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.

Proper storage of oxymetazoline solution:

Store oxymetazoline solution at room temperature, between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) in a tightly-closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep oxymetazoline solution out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about oxymetazoline solution, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Oxymetazoline solution is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take oxymetazoline solution or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about oxymetazoline solution. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to oxymetazoline solution. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using oxymetazoline solution.

Issue Date: April 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.2.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Watch this video series to learn about managing severe allergies (anaphylaxis).

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