next >  post replypost new topic
Severe Otrivin Addiction

Posted: December 9, 2004, 11:45 PM

Hello everyone

I'm hoping someone else out there addicted to Otrivin can help me. I'm very addicted to Otrivin nasal spray. I have been using it for several years now and I can only go a few hours without it. As a child I suffered from serious sinus problems and Otrivin was the only thing that allowed me to breathe.

However I would like very much to get off of it. To my shock I not only had the predictable withdrawl symptoms (a very very plugged nose that is extremely painful) but I became very aggravated, depressed and I NEEDED to have the drug. I thought it might be mainlypsychological in that I just need to use any sort of nose spray because I was so used to it, so I tried using saline. The plugged nose is one problem but the severe addiction to it is another. I can't be without it. I also suffer from asthma and getting off of Otrivin causes me to have attacks.

I'm hoping someone can help me. Any advice as to how to get off Otrivin would be appreciated.

I have tried stopping using it in one nostril and using steroid nose sprays but each has been a horrible experience of pain and


Posted: March 28, 2005, 1:33 AM
I have the same addiction. I started using Otrivin years ago to help my plugged nose because I found it hard to function without breathing through my nose. I started using cheaper brands of the same stuff when Otrivin was getting too expensive. It got the the point where I was going through a bottle a week. I have been doing this for years as well. I've tried to stop but my nose gets so plugged that I can't stand it and nothing else clears it. I haven't had nosebleeds or pain..just sinus pain. Unfortunately I haven't figured out how to stop myself. Just thought I'd let you know that you're not the only one with this addiction.

Posted: October 18, 2005, 11:36 AM
I have the exact same problem. I have been a regular Otrivin user for almost a decade. I was most recently using close to one bottle per week. I have been Otrivin free now for one week.
I told my doctor about the problem and he prescribed steriod nasal spray. I was told to double the regular dosage for the first bottle and to continue using the Otrivin when I needed it. Then when I started the second bottle - I was to drop to regular dosage and drop the Otrivin.
Well, it took another week or so before I could actually drop the Otrivin. I have been off for a week now. I have had no nasal congestion during the day but I am still having trouble at night. Luckily for me, at night I always seem to have at least one nostril open with the other plugged up. This happens every single night and I am getting tired of it. I am going back to the doctor soon because I am very afraid that I will slip back into using Otrivin soon if I can't get a good night's sleep.

Posted: January 16, 2006, 7:15 AM
this is a bit late reply but anyways..... i was addicted to Otrivin for 2 years , every day few drops in my nose and i could breathe again. I didnt know how to stop it, so i did little by little, every day i would use a drop less, and after one week i was completly off it. 3 years with no other nose spray I still have some trouble sleeping, one nostrils is always blocked, depending which side i sleep. But still I can breathe quite OK, not as easily as I use to. also specialist for nose can help a lot with special nose spray. The only thing that can hep u the most is your own determintaion to stop using the nose spray with other help or none.

Posts: 1928
Joined: September 14, 2004

Posted: January 16, 2006, 8:10 PM

For mild allergic rhinitis, a nasal wash can be helpful for removing mucus from the nose. Decongestants may help dry nasal congestion. They work by shrinking vessels in the nose. By reducing blockage, they decrease the risk of developing sinusitis caused by viruses or bacteria. Many over-the-counter decongestants are available, either in tablet form or as nasal or inhaled decongestants that are applied directly into the airways as sprays, drops, or vapors.

Nasal-Delivery Decongestants
Nasal-delivery decongestants are applied directly into the nasal passages with a spray, gel, drops, or vapors. Nasal forms work faster than oral decongestants and have fewer side effects. They often require frequent administration, although long-acting forms are now available. Ingredients and brands of nasal decongestants include the following:

Long Acting Nasal-Delivery Decongestants. They are effective in a few minutes and remain so for six to 12 hours. The primary ingredient in long-acting decongestant is the following:

Oxymetazoline: Brands include Vicks Sinex (12-hour brands), Afrin (12-hour brands), Dristan 12-Hour, Good Sense, Nostrilla, Neo-Synephrine 12-Hour.

Xylometazoline: Inspire, Otrivin, Natru-vent.
Short-Acting Nasal-Delivery Decongestants. The effects usually last about four hours. The primary ingredients in short-acing decongestants are the following:

Phenylephrine: Neo-Synephrine (mild, regular, high-potency), 4-Way, Dristan Mist Spray, Vicks Sinex).

Naphazoline (Naphcon Forte, Privine).
Dependency and Rebound. The major hazard with nasal-delivery decongestants, particularly long-acting forms is a cycle of dependency and rebound effects. The 12-hour brands pose a particular risk for this effect. This effect works in the following way:

With prolonged use (more than three to five days), nasal decongestants lose effectiveness and even cause swelling in the nasal passages.

The patient then increases the frequency of their dose. The congestion worsens and the patient responds with even more frequent doses, in some cases to as often as every hour.

Individuals then become dependent on them.
Tips for Use. The following precautions are important for people taking nasal decongestants:

When using a nasal spray, spray each nostril once. Wait a minute to allow absorption into the mucosal tissues, and then spray again.

Keep the nasal passages moist. All forms of nasal decongestants can cause irritation and stinging. They also may dry out the affected areas and damage tissues.

Do not share droppers and inhalators with other people.

Use decongestants only for conditions requiring short-term use, such as before air travel or for a single-allergy attack. Do not take them more than three days in a row. With prolonged use, nasal decongestants become ineffective and result in the so-called rebound effect and dependence.

Discard sprayers, inhalators, or other decongestant delivery devices when the medication is no longer needed. Over time, these devices can become reservoirs for bacteria.

Discard the medicine if it becomes cloudy or unclear.
Oral Decongestants
Oral decongestants also come in many brands, which mainly differ in their ingredients. The most common active ingredient is pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Actifed, Drixoral). The alternative decongestant, phenylpropanolamine (PPA) was taken off the market. [ See Warning Box,Decongestants and Phenylpropanolamine.]

Side Effects of Decongestants
Decongestants have certain adverse effects, which are more apt to occur in oral than nasal decongestants and include the following:

Agitation and nervousness.

Drowsiness (particularly with oral decongestants and in combination with alcohol).

Changes in heart rate and blood pressure.

Avoid combinations of oral decongestants with alcohol or certain drugs, including monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) and sedatives.
Individuals at Risk for Complications from Decongestants. People who may be at higher risk for complications are those with certain medical conditions, including disorders that make blood vessels highly susceptible to contraction. Such condition include the following:

Heart disease.

High blood pressure.

Thyroid disease.


Prostate problems that cause urinary difficulties.


Raynaud's phenomenon.

High sensitivity to cold.

Emphysema or chronic bronchitis. (Such individuals should particularly avoid high-potency short-acting nasal decongestant.)

People taking medications that increase serotonin levels, such as certain antidepressants, anti-migraine agents, diet pills, St. John's Wort, and methamphetamine. The combinations can cause blood vessels in the brain to narrow suddenly, causing severe headaches and even stroke.

A Buddhist Lama once said to me, "Do the opposite of whatever I tell you."
So I didn't.

Get Help for Codeine Addiction Here

Posted: September 5, 2012, 12:48 PM
Hey everyone, i've been using Otrivin regularly for at least 9 or 10 years. It started off only once or twice a day, and by last month I realized even using it every hour it was still barely helping reduce the swelling in my sinuses that it itself had caused. After a torturous month of using it god only knows how many times I decided to "quit cold turkey". I threw out any bottles I had lying around and it's now been 3 and a half weeks since I last used the spray. It's been tough as i'm NOT a mouth breather while I sleep, but i've slowly adjusted to that while my nose has been clogged. I'm finding it's just starting to decrease the stuffiness recently (approx after the 3 week mark), but I still find I can have a really good day or a really bad day. My doctor did suggest steroid nasal sprays but I declined as i'd rather have this heal itself as soon as possible.

Once I quit, I used Sinutab for a few days because I found I would get so congested that my ears would be constantly popping. That intense congestion settled a bit, but recently i've developed a new symptom. Intense pain behind my eyes. It's to the point that i've worn sunglasses inside my office a few times, or else I would have to leave work. Sinutab does help when I have these bouts so I only take when needed (no more than once a day). Other than that, i'm still fighting the fight. You are not alone people!! We can get through this, and although there are those times when you desperately want to use the spray, think of how far you've come and that one day this torture will be a thing of the past and we will all wonder what took us so long to let it go!

Posted: September 13, 2012, 9:44 AM
I was addicted to Otrivin few times in my life.
First it was my allergies for pollen that would plug my nose up and nothing else but Otrivin would bring me back to normal. Then it could be a cold or a flue that would get me on this med again and again and I knew that I would get addicted in no time to Otrivin, however I also knew how to get off. It works for me and my dad as well, so you can try doing it to yourselves and see if it helps.
Prepare the salty solution, use only sea salt. 1/2 tsp to a cap of warm water do dissolve.
Use one of your empty Otrivin bottles and suck your salty solution into it.
When my nose would plug beyond tolerable I would exhale all the air from my lungs and stop breezing for as long as I could. I trained myself to be without air from 15 seconds at the beginning to 45 seconds in few days, running on empty lungs. It is difficult. Right after you take your first gulp of air do a few sit ups or if comfortable do few push ups. The idea is to raise the blood pressure. This could help you open the passages for a minute or two. Do not expect them to stay opened, when the blood pressure drops, they would close on you again, may be even tighter than they were before. Use this 1-2 minutes window to blow your nose and squirt some of that salty solution into your nostrils. It might not be pleasant at first but you'll get used to it sooner that you think. You all did this in the ocean just by swimming. Your nose would start running because of natural reaction of organism to get rig of the salt from the nose and your brain would command to your nostrils to open up for clearing. Train your body this way for few days and then reduce by half the salt content in your solution for few more days and then by half again.
In a matter of couple of weeks you should be off the Otrivin.
God help!!!

Posted: September 13, 2012, 9:46 AM
And here is my email for those of you who tried and it worked for them. Please share your experience with me.

Thank you

rezerv at yahoo dot com

Posted: October 23, 2012, 4:26 AM
I know this an old post but I came across it recently and thoughtvid add my two cents in case it manages to help someone.

I've been addicted to nasal sprays for over 10 years now.
Quitting from time to time but always restarting when I catch a cold.

However I'll share my quitting method which does work (as long as you gave the will power to not start again). Its extremely simple really.

Cold turkey! But with a difference. You have two nostrils, use them individually!
Choose a side and stop using your spray; carry on as usual on the other.
I'm not gonna lie, it's uncomfortable and a pain in the arse not being able to breathe on one side but its better than complete cold turkey.
It usually takes 3-7 days for the back-lash congestion to clear but once it does you simply give up on the other nostril. Sometimes I'll reduce the intake of spray on this dude prior to cold turkey so it's not as uncomfortable.

This really does work but you need to want to quit and to keep it up you need to have will power to not restart.

Posted: October 29, 2012, 11:54 AM
From today I am quitting blimmin' Otrivine. I've been addicted to the stuff for 10 years and started taking it cos my nose would feel stuffed up after a night on the booze rendering me unable to sleep. I've been taking it only at nights before bed, but I've had to put up with a stuffy nose during the day times and it takes all my willpower not to have anymore! Drinking always made my nose blockage worse so I carried a bottle around with me for the times I found myself in the pub.
Last night the spray didn't seem to work and I tossed and turned in bed with sheer frustration. I plan on weaning myself off one nostril at a time so I'll report back and let anyone else wanting to quit the spray know how it goes. :)

Posted: November 23, 2012, 12:38 PM
Hello All. I have been using otrivin for 20 years now but I stopped "cold turkey" one week ago. People don't quite understand that it is not like a drug addiction or alcohol addiction but rather, like you all, we used it daily to relieve the blocked nose....that's all a blocked nose. I describe the blocked nose syndrome like having cement in your nose blocking your nostils completely shut and it makes existing very hard to do when you can't breath at all through your nose. Like you all I started using it one time when I had a severe cold and couldn't breath for a few days. But using it one day led to another and another then what do you know I couldn't breath through my nose without it. 20 years later here I am. This is what I am doing to releave the cement blocked nose of mine, and it works.
- First of all quite using all drugs and alcohol at least until we get back to normal.
- Go as long as you can without using anything at all.
- When you have had enough of the "cement head" use ephedrine. Ephedra(ephedrine) is a nasal decongestant and it works. Try not to use pseudo-ephedrine found in all over the counter nasal decongestants. All the over the counter stuff like advil cold and sinus or sinutab or sudafed and the like also contain either ibuprofen or acetaminophen so your body (kidneys) have to process those drugs as well and that is simply no good. Also, the quantity of pseudo-ephedrine in those products resticts urination (at least in men) and that really sucks too. Whereas true ephedrine does not contain any other drugs and does not restrict urination in males.
- Also get one of those Vicks vapoinhaler sticks. The small ones that you sniff. They also help.

So far so good but I must say that night time is the worst. For now I sleep on a recliner not in my bed laying flat because laying flat just worsens the "cement head".

Try my suggestions and good luck. Oh, i almost forgot, to get go to your local health food store or the stores that sell protein powder and stuff for working out, They will have it.

Good luck and I'll update my progress in a month or so.

Posted: December 26, 2012, 5:11 AM
hello...a vry lare post but nonetheless it might b beneficial 2 some/few...
Im 34 n ive been using /addicted to otrivin sunce i was 7 yrs old. Had 3
unsuccessful surgeries which caused me otrivin relapse. Ive tried ever
other nasal decongestant out there, again unsuccessful simply because
nothings effective like otrivin. Ive weaned off otrivin for 2 weeks post
surgery but it didnt last long.

Im lucky somewhat i only need to use it whenever i lay my head down to
sleep or if its extremely hot. Apparently a lot of places are on back
order for for me as i cant resort to any other nasal
spray. I can honestly say my condition has not worsened nor got better
post surgery n neither with otrivin usage.
KIKI Belgium

Posted: February 28, 2013, 8:20 AM
Desole de vous repondre en francais.
J'etais intoxique a l'otrivine depuis des années.
Un medecin a trouve la solution suivante.
Antihistaminique oral (CLARINASE ONCE) pendant 7 jours et emploi de serum physiologique.
Ensuite emploi d'un spray antihistaminique (cortiquoide AVAMYS) 15 jours et emploi de serum physiologique.
AVAMYS pas plus de 15 jours car il peut amener des saignements de nez a la longue.
J'en suis a 3 semaines et je n'ai plus touche a l'Otrivine depuis 3 semaines.
Les 4 premiers jours sont un peu difficles.
Je n'y croyais pas mais cela fontionne.
Bon courage.

Posted: March 16, 2013, 9:51 PM
If you want to get off Otrivin, start by using it in one nostril only at night, and use a steroid spray for your nose too, when the other nostril is ''healed' you can stop Otrivin.
Mi ha

Posted: March 27, 2013, 9:28 PM
Is it bad to use if I only take it every few months to help elleiviate stuffed nose due to a common cold???
Andrew Li

Posted: April 20, 2013, 4:43 AM

hi everybody!! I am a normal guy in Hong Kong. I am severely allergic to moist weather. My allergy has been a trouble to since I was young and I do not have clue to soothe it, so I decided to find a doctor last month and he recommended me to use Otrivin. For the first week, I keep using it in regular dose but as the addiction got rooted, I cant help myself to overdose, and I cant live without it!! Therefore, in the third week, i had determined to quit Otrivin, it was tough. I felt dizzy and even got a bit paralysed( Not joking). Today(20/4/2013), is the third days without using any nasal spray for me, I still feel a little hard to breathe right now, but much better than before. I hope someone could tell me what should I do to breathe better after using Otrivin by email me and i hope those who still struggling on quitting Otrivin to keep up, you are not alone!! :)


Posted: May 27, 2013, 4:55 AM
Hi, to get rid of Otrivin, i suggest you a simple ayurvedic medicine, that helped me to recover :

1. Take a teaspoon of mustard oil, and warm it for few minutes, till it turns to transparent colour from yellow.
2. Cool the oil on room temperature, till its easy for you to touch it.
3.Take the dropper, you can use your old Otrivin bottle dropper also, fill it with the oil, and put two drops in each nose,in the same way as you put Otrivin drops.
4. Keep laying on the bed in the same position for 5 min and then start working as usual.
5. Do this once 12 Hrs, and slowly you will find easy and comfortable.

Any question reach me @

Posted: June 12, 2013, 10:31 PM
Came across this post. I've been using this stuff for 35 years. Had 3 surgeries for sinus issues, once as a teen for frontal sinusitis and then two more decades later to increase the size of the ostia for drainage. Have a deviated septum, allergic to pollen, pet dander mildly (have 2 cats- I know) and one sinus is (ethmoid) genetically smaller. I use a bottle a month and my ear, nose,throat surgeon is not concerned. There are just too many things working against me and breathing is really nice. I recall paying $1.49 a bottle as a teen and now it is upwards of $8.00 Canadian. I guess a reasonable increase over 3 decades. I'd love to get off the stuff, have tried but always turns into a sinus infection. Take care and good luck.

Posts: 1
Joined: July 6, 2013

Posted: July 6, 2013, 11:47 PM
I was addicted to Otrvin for 15 yrs a bottle once a week...I suffered from a cold 1one day and bang I was hooked....I had allergy attacks from it rushed to the Hospital via ambulance blah blah blah....Anyway the way I got of it was a simple but a long process i have been off it for about 2 weeks feels great.....

1. Switch to the Wallmart cheap kind first $3.50. I found it not as strong,your sinuses will adapt....and it is cheaper....Take your time..
2. Take the cap fill it with The Otrvin from the bottle....dump it in the sink...
3. Then fill the empty cap with warm water and put it in the bottle shake snort...
4. It may not last as long as pure Otrvin so you will get clooged up faster..that will go away after repeated use...
5. After you fell you can last about the same amount of time with the watered down stuff as the full stuff go the 2 caps then etc..etc..etc

It took me about a year to stop cold...I do not use it at all any more....So water it down slowly..Take your time....I hope this helps....

This post has been edited by jayplay on July 6, 2013, 11:57 PM
stuffed up

Posted: July 7, 2013, 2:52 PM
I have been using nose sprays for approximately 3 years; it started when I had a cold. I found the other nose sprays weren't working anymore so I switched to Otrivin, now I can't breathe without it. I saw my family dr and she told me to stop using Otrivin immediately and she gave me Nasonex. Is it helping? Not as much as Otrivin but its only been over a week and I'm using Otrivin once a day. Usually at night, I really want to get off Otrivin and breathe on my own,
post replypost new topic