Nasal Spray Addiction: Is It a Cause for Concern?

Closeup on pills pack in hand of ill young woman laying on sofa
nasal drops

Some types of nasal sprays can be used safely whereas others have been shown to, with repeated use, cause overuse complications. While not a true “addiction,” it is the result of damage to the nose that leads to overuse or misuse of nasal sprays.

Key takeaways:

  • Saline nasal sprays are drug-free and are considered to be safe for all ages. They help loosen and thin mucus with no known side effects.
  •   Steroid nasal sprays contain corticosteroids that help with inflammation, runny nose, and sneezing. The sprays require a doctor’s prescription and have side effects such as headaches, nosebleeds, stunted growth in children and cataracts.
  • Antihistamine nasal sprays block histamine that causes allergy symptoms. The cromolyn sodium type is the most common antihistamine spray and is non-addictive.

Because saline nasal spray is drug-free and considered safe, it is often the first choice for mild congestion due to allergies and colds. Neti pots are also an effective way to flush mucus and allergens out of the nose.

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Mike Dilkes ENT is based in Central, North, East and South London. Most of our consultations and treatments are carried out either at The Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth or The London Independent Hospital. The Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth is one of London's biggest and most prestigious private hospitals.

It is in St Johns's Wood, a leafy area of the west end, just north of Harley Street and Regent's Park. The London Independent Hospital is in Stepney Green, hidden away just behind Mile End Road, just to the East of the City of London. Formally The London Jewish Hospital, it is a purpose built modern building with full facilities, beautifully appointed rooms, state of the art laser systems and, in case anything goes wrong (it really shouldn't), a fully covered Consultant 24 hour ward and Intensive Care presence - the only private hospital in London to have this.