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Long-term use of decongestant nasal spray (alpha adrenergic agonist) causes nasal congestion by rhinitis medicamentosa. We clinically reviewed the cases of 33 patients of rhinitis medicamentosa (23 men, 10 women; mean age, 44.4±15.6 years) treated with nasal steroid sprays instead of decongestant nasal sprays in our clinic from October, 2011 to December, 2012. Periods of drug use were generally long. Only 7 cases had a duration of use less than 1 year, and about half (48.5%) had a duration of use longer than 2 years. Causes of use included acute inflammation (n=6), chronic rhinosinusitis (n=2), and allergic rhinitis (n=20) and unknown cause (n=5). About two-third of the patients failed to answer questions concerning their use of decongestant nasal spray in a questionnaire prior to examination; therefore, careful observation was necessary. Among the 33 cases, 31 were followed up, all of whom showed improvement and stopped using decongestant nasal spays within 4 weeks. Periods for recovery were as follows: 3 days in 19 cases (61.3%) and 1 week in 25 cases (80.6%). Duration of drug use did not correlate with the period required for recovery; therefore, these results suggest that patients with long-term drug use are able to improve quickly. Rhinitis medicamentosa with nasal congestion appears readily reversible with suitable treatment.


Atsushi Yuta, Yukiko Ogawa. Clinical review of 33 cases of rhinitis medicamentosa by decongestant nasal spray]. Arerugī = [Allergy]. 2013 Dec;62(12):1623-30

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PMID: 24608651

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