Oxymetazoline (Into the nose)


Oxymetazoline (ox-i-me-TAZ-oh-leen)

Treats stuffy nose caused by a cold, allergy, sinus infection, or upper respiratory infection. This medicine is a decongestant.

Brand Name(s)

12-Hour Nasal, 4-Way Long Lasting, Afrin, Afrin Extra Moisturizing, Afrin No-Drip Sinus, Afrin PumpMist, Afrin Sinus, Afrin w/Menthol, Dristan 12-Hr, Duramist Plus, Good Neighbor Nasal Spray Pump, Good Neighbor Pharmacy Nasal Spray, Good Sense Nasal Spray, Mucinex Full Force, Mucinex Moisture Smart

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine


  • Take your medicine as directed.
  • Follow the instructions on the medicine label if you are using this medicine without a prescription.
  • If you are using a brand that has a pump spray, you will need to prime the spray. To do this, point the spray away from your face and press the pump several times until some of the medicine sprays out. Now it is ready to use.
  • Before using the medicine, gently blow your nose to clear the nostrils.
  • With you head upright, spray the medicine once into each nostril, sniffing while squeezing the bottle quickly and firmly. If needed, blow your nose gently again. Repeat the spray process, if needed, until you have used the correct number of sprays.
  • After using the nasal spray, wipe the tip of the bottle with a clean tissue and put the cap back on.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Keep the bottle tightly closed when not using it. Store at room temperature, away from heat and direct light.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking this medicine. Check with your doctor if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, an overactive thyroid, or an enlarged prostate.
  • You should not use this medicine for more than 3 days unless you have talked to your doctor.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Tingling in the hands or feet

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Burning or stinging inside of the nose
  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Sneezing

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch)

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.