Addicted to Nasal Sprays. Any Alternatives?

I recently discovered Sudafed as a nasal decongestant and I can't get off it.

I used to have really bad sleeps and feel so restless. After discovering Sudafed, I've had the best sleeps ever.
Does anyone know an alternative that doesn't have a rebound effect?


  • yeah you need to persevere though the rebound effect
    You won’t need it after that.

    • fine ill chop off my hands

      • -12 votes

        Is this advertising for Sudafed?

        I am sick of reddit doing this all the time, apart from the cats and dogs photos, reddit has become a smooth advertising platform. Now Ozbargain.

        • Do you watch anti-street drug ads where people are scratching their skin off because they think ants are in their veins and say: "oh this is just an advert for meth! No thank you, not interested! First Reddit, and now government advertising!"

        • @krampster2: Actually, when I see these PR companies performing on the street in the CBD, I go up to them and shout "oh this is just an advert for meth! No thank you, not interested! First Reddit, and now the streets!"

    • So I didn't use it last night, I started whistling through my hose in public transport.

  • You should visit your GP if you think you are suffering from amphetamine withdrawal symptoms, and as well as sleeping problems.

    Restless sleep can be caused by a wide variety of factors — work related stress, sleep apnoea just to name a few.

  • Do you know what's causing your nasal congestion? Is it snot or is it something else?

    I used to have that problem when I was a kid and had a lot of trouble getting to sleep. But mine mostly used to be only one nostril at a time (but not the same one all the time). Someone told me to try sleeping on the side opposite to the blocked nostril and that worked wonders. Then when the other one is blocked, I'd turn to the other side. I still use this trick occasionally when I can't sleep.

    For eg, if my left nostril was blocked, I'd sleep on my right side and vice versa. Turn around if the other one then gets blocked.

    I don't understand the logic behind it, but it works for me.

    • Something to do with how the phlegm drains down the throat I guess?

    • Not sure, kinda goes away when I go outside. Comes back when I am at home and at work.

      • try sleeping outside

      • You could try a decent air purifier too.. maybe its a reaction to dust in the air

      • Very likely environmental then, consider looking at the factors such as airconditioning, room humidity levels, allergies to house plants, pets, mold/mildew, dust mites, dust and any other toxicity from furnishings, paint etc.

        and as said below, air purifier might help a lot.

      • Get a specialist maxillofacial appt. Could need a rhinoplasty to hollow out that sucker. Solved my roomates issue - now he can breathe and eat at the same time, reducing his cow-like tendencies when chewing.

  • For me, I read somewhere to try Lysine. They are used for cold sores, but they also target sinus areas. It worked for me.

    Google has a few hits when searching for Lysine Sinus Relief.

  • Déjà vu. A few people I know have mentioned this today and I saw a Vice article about it this morning too.

  • The hard way is to go cold turkey, the easy way is to use nasonex.

    • I was in a similar situation a few years ago and tried the cold turkey method. It never really worked so I decided to google an find alternative soloution. What worked for me was mixing the nasal decongestant spray with a saline soloution spray and varied the dosage as per the following:
      Week 1: nasal decongestant spray (90%)/ saline nasal spray (10%)
      Week 2: 80%/20%
      Week 3: 60%/40%
      Week 4: 40%/60%
      Week 5: 20%/80%
      Week 6 and as required 100% saline spray.
      I eventually stopped using the saline spray after another week.
      Also recommended this to a few others who had the same problem and it worked for them.

      • Do you still get blocked nose? I kinda thought that it was because my nasal passage was small. Maybe because parents used to pull me by my nose when I was young.

        • parents used to pull me by my nose when I was young.

          Did you have a bull nose-ring that your parents hooked up to a dog lead to drag you round or something? Sounds like you should have called DHS.

        • Occasionally during winter and high pollen days. The saline spray really helps when It starts to block up again.

      • How did you mix the nasal decongestant with the saline nasal spray ?

  • Coke.

    • How is drinking something going to help nasal congestion? ^_^

      • No no no no no.

        You snort it.

        • But I really wouldn't suggest snorting soft drink!

          Anything else will give you a runny nose! ^_^

        • @bobbified:
          It does give you a runny nose, and a deep severe burning sensation in your lungs.

          You'd be so scared to have a runny nose you'll be consciously able to control your respiratory mucous production from that day onward.

        • But surely, if you have nasal congestion you won't be able to get it up - your nose, I mean.

        • @edwardcr:
          No no no no no.

          You snort it. I watch in horror as the carbonation burns through your fragile respiratory system.

          Then I get so scared I won't dare to produce sinus mucous.

        • @tshow:
          Should I mix it with the saline solution as mentioned above? You seem like you have much experience in addressing this issue.

        • @supaderp:
          Saline… Distilled water… Tabasco…

          Same same but different… But still the same.

        • I'd snort Doctor Pepper, now that's a drink with medical qualifications

  • I use a nasal irrigator. Shooting water through my nasal passages works a treat. Takes a bit to get used to and is a bit gross at first when snot starts coming out your mouth. You can also get electric ones which are lots of fun too.

    • I use a nasal irrigator. Shooting water through my nasal passages works a treat. Takes a bit to get used to and is a bit gross at first when snot starts coming out your mouth. You can also get electric ones which are lots of fun too.

      You're supposed to breath through your mouth and flush out the other nostril whilst leaning forward over a sink.

      Flo brand is great, I've used it for ages on and off as required and it's cheap to use. Just make sure you use boiled water that has cooled and not water from the tap.

      • Just make sure you use boiled water that has cooled and not water from the tap.

        Just posting to emphasize this. You're probably fine in Victoria and most of Australia because our water is pretty good quality. But if you're using tank water or overseas, the consequences of using non-sterile water for nasal irrigation can be dire - when irigation became popular in the US after Dr Oz episode on indian "neti pots" a few people died from Naegleria fowleri infection - an amoeba that can get into your brain through the sinuses and literally eat your brain.


      Yep I too recommend a nasal flush. No drugs. No side effects.

    • Similar if Mizone bottle does the same? I mean if its $30 for a nasal irrigator, i will just end up buying 2 sudafed.

      • +1 vote

        You shouldn’t be paying more than $10 for nasal flush equipment and saline sachets

      • Chemist gave me a free bottle as a sample with some sachets. ENT specialist gave me a different brand's bottle and sachets as a free sample as well. Just ask your closest pharmacy :) And if you're really tight and don't want to buy satchets make your own saline with salt.

  • wasabi and horseraddish.

    blow your nose on a rag dosed in eucalyptus oil. dont get it in your eye.

    wear a mask at all times, so you look like a doctor or commuter on a japanese train.

    dont eat dairy or wheat.

    run for 15 minutes a day, getting your heart rate up regularly.

  • Hey mate,

    2 things

    1) as recommended above, try sinus rinse/nasal irrigator, brand name is 'Flo' available at chemist warehouse. Works great before bed

    2) I just keep a vicks eucalyptus inhaler (or woolies substitute) and basically use it 2-3 minutes on 2-3 minutes off when I feel congested. Does the same thing as nasal spray but slower, and no rebound later.

    Keep your sudafed spray for relief in important events like job interviews though.

  • Yeah +1 for saline irrigation, although ungraceful. Additionally, I suffer from heartburn/reflux, and my sinuses are much worse when this is uncontrolled. So Zantac or similar would help in that scenario, as would not eating too late and maybe sleeping on an extra pillow. If you don't get heartburn, you could try Nurofen, which is anti-inflammatory, and is effective for Sinus inflammation.

    (Non-drowsy) Antihistamines could help if you have hayfever/allergies, but the best thing in that case is usually the Nasonex/Steroid sprays, which are intended for much more extended use than Sudafed. The idea is because the steroid is sprayed on the area affected there's not much systemic absorption - at least in theory. They are relatively slow-acting - you could try it for a month to see if it helps. I think all these are still available without script?

  • Try Dymista. It's prescription only and can be used long term

  • Doesn't it contain steroids?

    Don't use it for long periods of time or your mucus membranes will atrophy and have trouble producing enough mucous.

  • Mary Joanna … Will help you sleep.


    A family member was the same as you. GP prescribed Rhinocort Aqueous. After about 4 months was all good. Best of luck

  • Saline spray is the natural product replacing what you use

  • I had the exact same issue. Have you tried nasonex (allergy nose spray you can use long term).

    I use it once a day before sleep and takes about 2-3 days to take effect but you can use it longer terms compared to temp relief ones. It is most likely to be caused by dust in the house.

  • Why don’t you try smoking, gambling or porn like a normal person?

  • If symptoms worse at home and work, it could be an environmental allergen so saline spray or wash like Fess or Flo should help wash it out and you can use them a lot more throughout the day than you can Sudafed. I wouldn't use anything else long term - if you're finding that's not possible and your GP isn't coming up with anything else that's working, ask for a referral to an ENT specialist so they can pop a little camera up there and have a look.

  • If your nasal congestion is caused by allergens get onto Beconase (or similar) to replace the nasal decongestant, but remember such sprays take a few days to be fully effective.

    You have to use it regularly for the effect to be at its best too.

    I have a deviated septum and sleep apnea and was constantly using decongestants to be able to breathe properly even with a CPAP machine.

    Regular use of Beconase has solved the problem. Cheerz Wabster

    • +1 vote

      oh my, are you me?
      i'm probably going to get a septoplasty later down the road, screw this
      get on those nasal strips as well

  • I suffered same problem since childhood and an amazing gp tested my dust and mite allergy. She suggested buying those dust and mite proof matress, pillow and quilt cover. Wash bed sheet regularly with slightly teatree oil. I also use neilmed nasal rinse everyday and it works well for me. When very bad occasion I used dimesta ( it’s combination of antihistamine and steroid). Those bed covers cost fortune, but really worth the money for me. The current one I using been 6 years already.

    • Does the teatree oil create a scent to get rid of the bed mites?

      • Both eucalyptus oil or teatree oil effective. I don’t like eucalyptus oil smell. Or jst wash all bed sheet in hot water over 60degree it will kill mites.

  • 3 days max, then it has no effect apparently

  • Rehab

  • Try 'Flo' starter bottle and sachet packs - it's a saline nasal douche/wash/spray. You can get it at Chemist Warehouse and it's cheap.

    Similar nasal irrigation / Ayurvedic / neti-pot action that Indians have been using for a long long time. Very good natural approach to treatment.

  • I found that all the non-Sudafed nasal spray solutions didn't work except for one. After taking NutriBiotic nasal spray with grapefruit seed extract I was able to stop using Sudafed. Give it a try:

  • For sleeping aids try,

    melatonin pills
    ZMA pills

  • There is a very easy trick to get rid of this addiction its funny but it works.
    1) Slow down the frequency of usage and dosage in one nostril, this doesn't make your life complete hell as you will still be using and hence breathing from one nostril.
    2) Once you are coping better decrease the frequency on the other one. And this way keep repeating the process until totally gone.

    e.g. if you are you are using 2 sprays in each nostril every 6 hours, start with decreasing to one spray in one nostril every 12 hours.

  • Just switch to a safer substance to snort. Eg . Coke, ice (or Ajax, if you're on a budget).

  • Ask your doctor if he thinks it is hayfever. It happens to me every winter…

    It's very easy to build a tolerance to the instant unblockers but there is a solution!

    I use the generic brand of Nasonex which is also a nasal spray but doesn't work instantly. It is a pharmacy medicine (No script) and you need to use it every day constantly throughout the season.

    After about 3 days of using it, your nose will be unblocked.

    • Will give it a go

      • I second Nasonex. Don't think i've tried the generic brand. I've been using it for a few years now and was originally prescribed it before it could just be bought over the counter. To start off with I used it daily but eventually only used it every 2-3 days. I can now go a week or two without it. I would never use Sudafed daily. I only ever use Sudafed when it becomes unbearable.


    Wizz fizz yo

  • op's nose is fine when he is outdoors, probably needs to get outdoors more.

  • Ever thought of going to a ENT specialist and check your self out?

  • What about Mentholatum?


    Look up catarrh. The feeling of post nasal drip and the nose congestion. I have this problem and was told that it is reflux by the ENT specialist and given the PPI tablets. Didn't help at all.

  • I've done this a few times (need to do it again its easy to relapse with just one spray!). I also use Avamys prescription spray once a day while using, it cuts down on the number of sprays you need of the normal nasal spray but its expensive ($40 - lasts 2 months though)

    Over the course of 3 or 4 days, just stop using it in one nostril so you can breathe out of the other when you sleep. I use Eucalyptus Fess (saline basically) on that nostril to help, sometimes I just quirt heaps to clear it out or use it as often as you want.

    After a couple of days, do the same with the other nostril, in less than 4 days I'm done. Works every time and not too uncomfortable.

  • Haven’t read ALL the comments. As someone said earlier normal saline is mist is more than enough at so many times. I am in the medical profession but not a Doctor. Prolonged usage of phenylephrine, oxymetazoline, xylometazoline etc can cause a myriad of symptoms.
    Usually it is not meant for more than 2-3 days.
    What happens if you use more than that time is your superior and inferior turbinates inside your nose becomes inflammed and you will experience the same symptoms such as rhinitis for which you started using the spray in the first place
    Now why you have those symptoms is because you might have a condition called ‘Rhinitis medica mentosa’ . It’s not from any outside allergen it’s a condition which is caused by excessive use of these above said compounds which are marketed under various names.
    Please stop using it and consult your GP you may be given some steroids for a short time and total abstinence is required and it will improve. If not a specialist visit would become necessary.
    Sorry for the long message I am not a Doctor but I am working in a high level role as a clinician at the hospital. Hope it helps

  • eucalyptus oil

    Put some on a tissue

    Or on the collar of your flanno PJ's

  • Had the same problem with Otrivin (spelling?). I now use Dymista and i sleep brilliantly with a clear nose. The downside is that it’s only available by prescription and is just under $50 for about two months worth (depending on how much you need). But my health fund refunds $10.19/script. An ENT specialist said it’s the best medication for stuffy nose he’s seen. You MIGHT be able to stop sudafed and start Dymysta to avoid the rebound affect. (Used Nasonex previously. Worked well for several months and then stopped having the desired effect).

    • my ENT specialist said to use otrivin then dymista after 5 minutes. i found otrivin really clears the nose, and dymista keeps it clear and less stuffy. mite see how using just dymista will go.

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