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Concept: Topical decongestant


INTRODUCTION: Systemic and topical nasal decongestants are widely used in otorhinolaryngology and general practice for the management of acute rhinosinusitis and as an adjuvant in certain forms of chronic rhinosinusitis. These products, very effective to rapidly improve nasal congestion, are sometimes available over the counter and can be the subject of misuse, which is difficult to control. The Société Française d'ORL has recently issued guidelines concerning the use of these decongestants in the doctor’s office and the operating room. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The review of the literature conducted by the task force studied in detail the concepts of “rebound congestion” and “rhinitis medicamentosa” often reported in a context of misuse, particularly of topical nasal decongestants. The clinical and histopathological consequences of prolonged and repeated use of nasal decongestants have been studied on animal models and healthy subjects. RESULTS: Discordant results have been obtained, as some authors reported a harmful effect of nasal decongestants on the nasal mucosa, while others did not identify any significant changes. No study has been able to distinguish between inflammatory lesions induced by chronic rhinosinusitis and lesions possibly related to the use of nasal decongestants. DISCUSSION: The task force explained the rebound congestion observed after stopping nasal decongestant treatment by return of the nasal congestion induced by rhinosinusitis and rejected the concept of rhinitis medicamentosa in the absence of scientific evidence from patients with rhinosinusitis. CONCLUSION: Nasal decongestants are recommended for the management of acute rhinosinusitis to reduce the consequences of often disabling nasal congestion. They are also recommended during rhinoscopic examination and for preparation of the nasal mucosa prior to endonasal surgery.

Concepts: Sinusitis, Topical, Mucus, Pseudoephedrine, Nasal congestion, Topical decongestant, Rhinitis medicamentosa, Decongestant


An unmet need exists for a safe, tolerable, effective treatment for moderate to severe persistent facial erythema in patients with rosacea. This pivotal phase 3, multicenter, double-blind study evaluated the efficacy and safety of topical oxymetazoline in patients with facial erythema associated with moderate to severe rosacea. Patients were randomly assigned to treatment with oxymetazoline hydrochloride cream 1.0% or vehicle applied once daily for 29 days, and were followed for 28 days posttreatment. The primary efficacy outcome was having at least a 2-grade decrease from baseline on both the Clinician Erythema Assessment (CEA) and the Subject Self-Assessment for rosacea facial redness (SSA) scales (composite success) at 3, 6, 9, and 12 hours postdose on day 29. Safety assessments included treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) and posttreatment worsening of erythema (composite CEA/SSA increase of 1-grade severity from baseline; rebound effect). A total of 440 patients (mean age, 49.5 years; 78.9% females) were randomized (oxymetazoline, n=222; vehicle, n=218); most had moderate erythema. On day 29, significantly greater proportions of oxymetazoline recipients achieved the primary efficacy outcome at each time point (P less than 0.02) and overall (P less than 0.001) compared with vehicle recipients. The incidence of discontinuation due to TEAEs was low in both groups (oxymetazoline group, 1.8%; vehicle group, 0.5%). The most common TEAEs reported during the entire study period were application-site dermatitis, application-site erythema, and headache in the oxymetazoline group (1.4% each), and headache (0.9%) in the vehicle group. Following cessation of treatment, low proportions of patients experienced rebound effect (oxymetazoline group, 2.2%; vehicle group, 1.1%). Oxymetazoline applied to the face once daily for 29 days was effective, safe, and well tolerated in patients with moderate to severe persistent facial erythema of rosacea.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(1):97-105.


Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Effectiveness, Efficacy, Flushing, Erythema, Topical decongestant, Rhinitis medicamentosa


This study was designed to prospectively evaluate the role of nebulized hyaluronic acid (HA) administered for 10 days as treatment for patients with rhinitis medicamentosa (RM). RM is a pathological condition of the nasal mucosa induced by prolonged, excessive or improper use of topical decongestants. It is characterized by persistent nasal congestion that can lead the patient to increase the frequency of application and the quantity of the substance being applied, resulting in dependence on topical nasal decongestants. Twenty-five patients were treated with HA nebulized via Spray-sol twice a day for 10-days (T1) (HA Spray-sol treatment group). Subsequently, after 3 days of washout, patients were treated with physiological saline nebulized via Spray-sol twice a day for 10 days. (T2) (saline Spray-sol treatment group). The HA Spray-sol treatment group (tp) significantly improved visual analogue scale (VAS) scores (T0=6.25±1.64 vs T1=3.91±1.30; p less than 0.05), whereas there was no statistically significant difference in the saline Spray-sol treatment group (tp) (p>0.05), results confirmed by the anterior active rhinomanometry (AAR) data (HA Spray-sol tp T0=1.193±0.83 vs T1=0.44±0.25, p less than 0.05; saline Spray-sol tp (p>0.05). An improvement in the Global Rhinitis Score (GRS) was recorded in both groups (T0=15.37±5.16 vs T1=5.54±3.23, p less than 0.05; saline Spray-sol tp T0=15.37±5.16 vs T2=10. 7±5.43; p less than 0.05). Both groups showed a significant reduction in mucosal oedema and nasal secretions. Patients treated with HA Spray-sol reduced or even eliminated (11/25 patients) the use of topical decongestant within 10 days of treatment with HA. The results of this study suggest nebulized topical 9-mg sodium hyaluronate plays a pivotal role in the management of RM.

Concepts: Statistical significance, Topical, Mucus, Pseudoephedrine, Topical decongestant, Rhinitis medicamentosa, Decongestant, Oxymetazoline


Rhinitis medicamentosa (RM) refers to nonallergic inflammation in the nasal mucosa which is caused by the abuse of nasal decongestant and it often occurs in patients with allergic/nonallergic rhinitis along with nasal congestion. RM is characterized by nasal congestion based on long-term use of nasal decongestant, without rhinorrhoea or sneezing. The signs of RM include nasal swelling, thickening, loss of elasticity, and loss of sensitivity to the decongestant. The histological changes of RM are loss of nasal mucosa cilia, squamous epithelium metaplasia, edema of epithelium cell, hyperplasia of goblet cell, increased expression of epidermal growth factor receptor and infiltration of inflammatory cells, etc. There is no precise diagnosis standard for RM, making it even harder for its objective diagnosis. Patients with RM should immediately stop using nasal decongestant, in stead of using nasal glucocorticoid spray for the recovery of the nasal mucosa’s function.

Concepts: Inflammation, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Epidermal growth factor, Growth factor, Mucus, Growth factor receptor, Nasal congestion, Topical decongestant


To review and summarize topical oxymetazoline’s pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, efficacy, safety, cost, and place in therapy for persistent redness associated with erythematotelangiectatic rosacea.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Rosacea, Topical decongestant


It is common practice to prepare the nasal mucosa with decongestant in children undergoing lacrimal surgery. Xylometazoline 0.05% (Otrivine) nasal spray is commonly used. It has been reported to cause cardiovascular side effects. In the absence of formal guidelines on the safety of the use of nasal decongestants in children, we reviewed our practice to answer the question: How safe is preoperative use of xylometazoline in children undergoing lacrimal surgery? To our knowledge, this is the first study to address the potential side effects of the use of xylometazoline preoperatively in children undergoing lacrimal surgery.

Concepts: Scientific method, Philosophy of science, Mucus, Pseudoephedrine, Topical decongestant, Rhinitis medicamentosa, Decongestant, Topical decongestants


Rosacea is a chronic skin condition characterized by transient and persistent erythema of the central face. The symptom of persistent erythema can be particularly frustrating for both patients and physicians as it is difficult to treat. Areas covered: Current treatment options for the treatment of rosacea include metronidazole, azelaic acid, sodium sulfacetamide-sulfur, and brimonidine. Until recently, brimonidine gel was the only option approved specifically for the treatment of facial erythema. However, oxymetazoline hydrochloride 1% cream is a newly FDA approved topical medication for adult rosacea patients. A primarily alpha-1a agonist, oxymetazoline hydrochloride (HCl) is thought to diminish erythema through vasoconstriction. Our paper seeks to evaluate evidence for topical oxymetazoline HCl with respect to its efficacy and safety for its approved indication of treating the persistent erythema associated with rosacea. Expert commentary: While assessment of available clinical trial data indicates that the medication is as effective as other available treatment for controlling rosacea-associated erythema with minimal risk of adverse effects, studies of long-term duration and direct comparison will be necessary to establish its place in treatment guidelines and clinical practice. As further evidence becomes available, the real-world clinical potential of topical oxymetazoline cream will become clearer.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Clinical trial, Medical terms, Effectiveness, Food and Drug Administration, Rosacea, Topical decongestant, Oxymetazoline


We frequently recommend ipratropium nasal spray in our office, as it is an effective, non-addictive nasal decongestant.

Concepts: Nose, Topical decongestant, Rhinitis medicamentosa, Decongestant


Propofol is the most commonly used intravenous (IV) anesthetic agent and is associated with hypotension upon induction of anesthesia. Intravenous propofol infusion has several properties that may be beneficial to patients undergoing middle ear surgery. Topical application of concentrated epinephrine is a valuable tool for achieving hemostasis in the middle ear and during mastoid surgery. The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of propofol infusion with topical epinephrine on cochlear blood flow (CBF) and hearing in rats.

Concepts: Hematology, Auditory system, Anesthesia, Propofol, Al-Andalus, Route of administration, Eardrum, Topical decongestant


Rhinitis is a common clinical entity. Besides nasal obstruction, itching, and sneezing, one of the most important symptoms of rhinitis is nasal hypersecretion produced by nasal glands and exudate from the nasal vascular bed. Allergic rhinitis is an IgE-mediated inflammatory reaction of nasal mucosa after exposure to environmental allergens. Idiopathic rhinitis describes rhinitis symptoms that occur after non-allergic, noninfectious irritants. Specific allergen avoidance, topical nasal decongestants, nasal corticosteroids, immunotherapy, and sinonasal surgery are the main treatment options. Because the current treatment modalities are not enough for reducing rhinorrhea in some patients, novel treatment options are required to solve this problem.

Concepts: Immune system, Asthma, Sinusitis, Immunology, Allergy, Symptoms, Mucus, Topical decongestant