Oxymetazoline is a topical decongestant. It is sold over-the-counter as a topical decongestant in
the form of Oxymetazoline hydrochloride in nasal sprays. Oxymetazoline nasal spray relieves
nasal discomfort in colds, allergies, hay fever, provides relief from sinus congestion and
pressure. Oxymetazoline as a nasal decongestant narrows the blood vessels in the nasal
passages. It has also been approved to treat persistent facial erythema associated with rosacea
in adults and its vasoconstricting properties are used to treat nose bleeds and eye redness due
to minor irritation. Children under six are not allowed to use and kids age 6-12 are also given
these sprays unless recommended by the doctor.
Oxymetazoline is sold in many popular brand names around the world such as Otrivin, Afrin,
Operil, Dristan, Dimetapp, Oxyspray, Facimin, Nasivin, Nostrilla, Utabon, Sudafed OM, Vicks
Sinex, Zicam, SinuFrin, Drixoral, and Mucinex Full Force.
Fruhstorfer of E. Merck Darmstadt developed Oxymetazoline in 1961. It was approved in the
USA for topical treatment of persistent facial erythema and in 2020, it also received approval
from the USFDA for the treatment of acquired drooping eyelid.
Dosage Forms & Strengths
Oxymetazoline is sold as an intranasal solution of 0.05% concentrate. For temporary relief from
Nasal Congestion, the patient has to drop 2-3 gtt of the sprays per nostril. This can be repeated
every 12 hours, but more than twice, and should not be used for more than 5 days.
The price of Oxymetazoline
In the USA, the consumer has to pay around $10 for nasal spray 0.05% for a supply of 15
milliliters. This medicine is significantly cheaper in developing countries. In India, the 10ml
supply of spray costs around $1.
How does it work?
Oxymetazoline has direct-acting sympathomimetic activity and is an imidazole derivative.
Oxymetazoline activates alpha-2 adrenergic receptors by selectively bindings them. When used
nasally or ocular administration, it works by constricting the arterioles in the nose and eye. This
results in decreased nasal and conjunctival congestion, providing relief from the symptoms.
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