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What is Xylometazoline?

By K. K. Lowen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Xylometazoline is a medication that is used to reduce nasal congestion. The drug is applied directly into the nasal cavity and functions by narrowing the blood vessels, which decreases the amount of discharge. Xylometazoline is an over the counter decongestant and is available under a variety of brand names.

As a topical nasal decongestant, xylometazoline generally is available in spray or liquid forms. The nasal spray is taken by spraying the substance up the nose while at the same time inhaling deeply. It may be most effective to administer the liquid form while lying down with the head hanging freely, and applying drops into the nose. Following the instructions on the package or using the product as indicated by a doctor is advised.

Long-term use of xylometazoline may diminish the medication’s effectiveness, and the body eventually may build a tolerance to the drug. Chronic congestion may occur after extended overuse of the medication. Prolonged use of the drug also may harm nasal tissue and lead to other health issues. Medical professionals generally recommend that an individual not take xylometazoline more than three times a day for no more than five days.

Research has linked the use of this drug to several side effects, ranging from inconsequential to severe. Mild nasal irritation and sneezing are temporary and common side effects. More serious adverse effects include anxiety, hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, and seizures. Some people suffer an allergic reaction to the medication and experience swelling of the face or throat. Anyone who has an extreme reaction to the drug should seek professional assistance.

Taking more than the recommended dosage of xylometazoline can cause more severe reactions. Using large doses of the drug may lead to an overdose. Dizziness, intense sleepiness, sweating, and a slowed heartbeat are all signs of an overdose.

Xylometazoline can interact with certain other medications and substances. Many of the drug interactions occur infrequently, but a consultation with a pharmacist or a doctor is recommended to avoid unwanted complications. Women also should check with a physician or other medical professional if they are or plan to become pregnant. Breastfeeding women also should ask a physician if the medication is appropriate for use.

If a person has certain pre-existing health conditions, especially high blood pressure or heart problems, taking xylometazoline may not be appropriate. A doctor or other trained medical personnel should be notified of any preexisting health issues before using the drug. Physicians may tell some patients not to take the medication, or will advise a different dosage.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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