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Otrivine Adult Nasal Spray

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

Otrivine Adult Nasal Spray contains a decongestant called xylometazoline. It is used to relieve a blocked nose (nasal congestion) due to colds, sinusitis, and allergies such as hay fever.

Doctor’s advice

How does the medication work?

Nasal congestion occurs due to the swelling (inflammation) of blood vessels in your nose. These swollen blood vessels trigger mucus production from nasal mucosal glands. Most decongestants are vasoconstrictors and work by narrowing the blood vessels in your nose, reducing the swelling. Consequently, this leads to an improved ability to breathe through your nose and relieves the discomfort associated with a blocked nose.

Healthwords pharmacists' top tips

The medication is only suitable for adults and children 12 years and above. You can administer one spray into each nostril up to three times a day.

Some of the top tips from our pharmacist on perfect administration include:

  • Blow your nose before using the nasal spray
  • Tilt your head forward slightly when ready to administer the spray
  • Squeeze the bottle once and sniff at the same time to release the spray into your nostril
  • Try not to blow your nose for the first few minutes after using the nasal spray to allow it to work

If you use the medication for too long (more than 1-2 weeks), it can worsen your nasal congestion (known as rebound congestion). Therefore, you should try not to use it for longer than seven days in a row. Make sure you discard the bottle 28 days after first opening it.

Who should avoid the medication?

Do not use Otrivine Adult Nasal Spray if you are allergic to xylometazoline or other decongestants, or any other ingredient listed in the medication. You should not use the medication if you have recently had neurosurgery (brain or spinal surgery) or have any of the following medical conditions: an enlarged prostate, narrow-angle glaucoma, a rare tumor of the adrenal glands (pheochromocytoma), or long-term nasal inflammation and dryness (atrophic rhinitis or rhinitis sicca).

You should speak with your doctor before using the medication if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any of the following medical conditions: high blood pressure, diabetes, an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), or cardiovascular disease.

Xylometazoline can interact with other medications. If you take a certain type of antidepressant (called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor) or you have recently stopped taking one (within the last 14 days), you should not use Otrivine Adult Nasal Spray. If you take any other medications that you would normally ask about interactions, ask your doctor or pharmacist whether it is safe for you to use Otrivine Adult Nasal Spray.

Are there any side effects?

As with all medications, some people may experience side effects. If any side effects become bothersome, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Some common ones can include headache, nausea, and nasal symptoms such as irritation, dryness, and discomfort.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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