Nasal spray is a commonly used drug for treating allergies. In addition to nasal sprays being prescribed in clinics and hospitals, they are also sold in drug stores and pharmacies.
There are so many types of nasal sprays that people are dazzled. They can’t help but worry about which nasal spray is more effective. What is the difference between the nasal sprays in drug stores and hospitals? Don’t worry, let us introduce to you the three common types of nasal sprays on the market, their functions, and the correct way to use nasal sprays.
There are three common types of nasal sprays on the market:
Common drug names: Otrivin, Sindecon
Also known as vasoconstrictors, decongestants, and sympathomimetic accelerators, the nasal sprays commonly found in drugstores on the market fall into this category. Their main function is to constrict the blood vessels of the nasal mucosa, reduce swelling, and thereby improve nasal congestion. For other nasal cavities, Symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itching have no therapeutic effect.
Nasal decongestants are extremely fast-acting and are suitable for situations where nasal congestion needs to be quickly relieved. They are mostly used clinically for “emergency” use and can be used with steroid nasal sprays and antihistamines to improve allergic symptoms as appropriate.
Long-term use is prohibited! What are the side effects of nasal decongestants?
Long-term use of nasal decongestants will cause the drug to become less and less effective, and will produce “rebound nasal congestion” after stopping the drug, causing the nasal congestion to become more serious, forming the so-called “drug-induced rhinitis”, and finally gradually becoming allergic to the drug. Dependence leads to a vicious cycle of relieving nasal congestion with use and severe nasal congestion without use. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid using nasal decongestants for more than 3 to 5 days in a row.
The side effects of nasal decongestants include palpitations, shortness of breath, restlessness, headache, insomnia, increased blood pressure, increased intraocular pressure, urine retention, etc. Therefore, patients with cardiovascular disease, glaucoma, prostate hypertrophy, and hyperthyroidism should use them with caution.
2.Steroid nasal spray
Common drug names: Avamys, Nasonex
The main nasal spray currently used to treat allergic rhinitis is a prescription drug and requires a prescription from a doctor.
Steroid nasal spray is a very effective maintenance treatment drug for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. It is more effective than oral antihistamines or antihistamine nasal sprays. Its main function is to regulate immunity, inhibit inflammation of the nasal mucosa, and relieve nasal congestion and runny nose. , sneezing and other symptoms, it can also help improve conjunctivitis.
Steroids are slow-acting. You need to wait 6 to 12 hours for the first use to take effect, and they need to be used continuously for several days to achieve the best effect. Therefore, they often need to be used for a long time, which is exactly the opposite of the characteristics of nasal decongestants. If symptoms are controlled after using steroid nasal spray, doctors will often recommend adjusting the dose to the “lowest effective dose” to maintain the efficacy of controlling allergic rhinitis but reduce the impact of side effects.
Steroid nasal spray side effects
When ordinary people use steroids, they are often worried about side effects such as moony face, buffalo shoulders, and weight gain. However, the dose of steroid nasal spray is low, and most of the efficacy only acts on local nasal mucosal tissue, and the systemic absorption rate is far less than 1%. Therefore, the chance of side effects is low and most occur only in the nose, such as nose bleeding, dryness, irritation, burning, pain, etc. Overall, steroid nasal sprays are highly safe and very suitable for long-term control of allergic rhinitis.
In addition, although oral steroids are also used to treat allergies, due to their strong efficacy, they are mostly used when symptoms are severe and will not be taken for a long time.
3.Antihistamine nasal spray
Common drug name: Azetin
They are both prescription drugs and must be used according to medical advice. They are not sold in general drug stores. Antihistamine nasal sprays are very fast-acting and can be effective in as fast as 15 minutes. However, they are not as effective as steroid nasal sprays in relieving nasal congestion symptoms, but they can relieve discomforts such as runny nose, sneezing, and itching.
Antihistamine nasal spray side effects
The main disadvantage of antihistamine nasal spray is that when patients use the nasal spray, the medicine will produce a bitter taste or nausea when it flows into the mouth. Common side effects include central nervous system effects (drowsiness, fatigue), anti-acetylcholine side effects (constipation, urination) Difficulty, dry mouth and eyes, increased intraocular pressure), so you need to avoid driving and operating dangerous machinery after taking it. Patients with glaucoma and prostate hypertrophy also need to use it with caution.
Antihistamine drugs first generation vs second generation
Because first-generation antihistamines have significant drowsiness side effects, they are sometimes used as insomnia drugs. However, because of their obvious anti-acetylcholine side effects, the elderly and children should avoid or use them with caution. Second-generation antihistamines have a lower incidence of side effects and longer drug action time, so they are safer and more convenient to use, but the drug tastes relatively bitter.
4. Other nasal sprays
In addition to the above three categories of nasal sprays, there are also the following nasal sprays in clinical practice:
- Cromolyn sodium mast cell stabilizer: It is less effective than steroids and antihistamine nasal sprays and has fewer side effects. The dosage frequency needs to be 3 to 4 times a day. Because it can combat immediate allergen reactions, it can prevent allergic symptoms when taken 30 minutes before exposure to allergens.
- Intranasal anticholinergic drugs: have a significant effect on improving runny nose, but have no effect on other rhinitis symptoms. They can be used for allergic or non-allergic runny nose symptoms.
Six steps to use nasal spray correctly
- Newly opened sprays must be sprayed into the air several times until the nozzle can emit a sufficient amount of spray to ensure that each dose is sufficient. It must be shaken well before each use.
- Clean the nasal cavity: If there is mucus or nasal mucus in the nasal cavity, it may affect the absorption of the nasal spray. Please clean it with a clean tissue in advance, or use sterile saline for nasal washing.
- When using the nasal spray, keep your head upright and tilt slightly forward to prevent the medicine from flowing into your mouth. Insert the nozzle of the nasal spray into one of the nostrils, with the nozzle facing the side of the nose, taking care to avoid the nozzle coming into contact with the nasal mucosa. Use your finger to press the other nostril. (Note: Because the nasal septum is relatively fragile and may be damaged by some drugs such as steroids, the nasal septum should be avoided when administering medication.
- Press the nasal spray completely once and inhale gently to allow the medicine to enter the nasal cavity. Don’t inhale too hard to avoid sucking the medicine into your mouth. Then hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds to increase the retention time of the medicine in the nasal cavity, and then slowly exhale through your mouth.
- Repeat the steps for the other nostril. If two doses are required each time, it is recommended that the left and right nostrils are administered once each, and then the second dose is started from the starting nostril (for example, left and right).
- If you feel the medicine flowing into your mouth during administration, it is recommended to rinse your mouth to remove the smell and avoid unnecessary absorption. Clean the nasal spray nozzle with a clean, dry tissue after administration.