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Afrin Nasal Spray Ingredients

author image John Riefler
Based in New Jersey, John Riefler has been writing since 1987. His articles have appeared in "MD Magazine," "Emergency Medicine" and "Hospital Practice." Riefler holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Bucknell University, a Master of Science in microbiology from the Medical University of South Carolina and a medical doctorate from St. George's University School of Medicine.
Afrin Nasal Spray Ingredients
Hay Fever Sufferers Can Benefit From Afrin. Photo Credit: Andy Sotiriou/Photodisc/Getty Images

According to "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine," allergic rhinitis symptoms include: sneezing, runny nose, congestion and watery eyes. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or “hay fever,” occurs due to allergens present in the air at specific times of the year.

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Afrin nasal spray, a decongestant, claims to relieve nasal discomfort caused by colds, allergies, hay fever, sinus congestion, and pressure. The mist pump product comes in Original, Severe Congestion, Extra Moisturizing, and Sinus. It reportedly acts within seconds, and the effects may last for up to 12 hours. Afrin contains an active ingredient and a number of inactive ingredients.


According to, oxymetazoline hydrochloride, 0.05 percent, the active ingredient in Afrin nasal spray, works by constricting, or shrinking, the blood vessels in the nose, and thereby reducing nasal blood flow.

According to, side effects include: sneezing or burning, stinging, dryness, or irritation of the nose, an allergic reaction manifested by difficulty breathing; swelling of the lips, tongue, or face; hives; seizures; unusual behavior or hallucinations; or an irregular, or fast heartbeat.

Do not use oxymetazoline nasal for longer than three days. Use only as directed. Frequent or prolonged use may cause nasal congestion to recur or worsen. If symptoms persist, consult a doctor, according to

Benzalkonium Chloride

Benzalkonium chloride solution, a topical antiseptic, and inactive ingredient, serves as a nonmercurial antimicrobial preservative in nasal sprays. It prevents the growth of fungal, bacterial and viral pathogens.

According to, benzalkonium chloride solution can cause rebound congestion similar to oxymetazoline hydrochloride.

Other Inactive Ingredients

Other inactive ingredients, which constitute the water phase in Afrin, include: edetate disodium, an antioxidant; polyethylene glycol, a moisturizing agent; povidone; propylene glycol; sodium phosphate dibasic and sodium phosphate monobasic, buffers that maintain the pH between 4.0 and 8.0; and water.

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