Every week there are drie à vier patients with a nasal spray addiction at the Diakonessehuis in Utrecht. This also applies to other hospitals, Ferdinand Timmer knows. He is an ENT specialist at the Amphia Hospital in Oosterhout and sees many patients with nasal spray addiction.
Use for a week
“There are two types of nasal spray: the saline solution and the nasal spray with xylometazoline. The latter variant can only be used for a week, otherwise it will backfire”, Timmer tells Editie NL.
If you use the nasal spray with the active substance, the nasal mucosa shrinks and you get air again, but if you use the spray more often, the effect time becomes shorter and shorter, according to the ENT doctor. “You also get a swelling from the use that makes your nose close again. And then you feel like you have to use it again.”
All day long
That is also the case with Marilyn Jiminez Haberland. She’s been using it all day long for 15 years. “I am allergic to many things: to dust mites, dogs and cats. Fifteen years ago I went to the doctor for that and then I was given pills and nasal spray.”
Unfortunately, the nasal spray didn’t work, so she decided to try the drug store nasal spray. It worked. “I was so happy! They didn’t say I couldn’t use it for more than a week and now I can’t live without it.” Marilyn always has a bottle with her. “If I forget it I will go back home or go to the nearest drug store or supermarket.”
‘It’s not for me’
At her own drugstore, she now receives comments from employees that she often buys nasal spray. “I then say that it is not for me. I used to buy several bottles at the same time, but that is no longer allowed by the employees.”
Marilyn tried everything to get off. “I switched to the saline spray, I tried to use only one nostril, and I tried to quit cold turkey. But nothing works.”
Still, according to ENT doctor Timmer, these are the right steps to get rid of it. “You really have to stop. You can first switch to a saline solution, then the swelling will go away. If that doesn’t work, you can use an anti-inflammatory spray. And if that doesn’t work, there may be other problems and it is smart that you go to an ENT doctor. ”