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Nasal Medications, Preservatives and Additives


Nasal sprays are easy to use, but there is evidence that many of the preservatives and additives in some of the commercial nasal sprays can be harmful to the nose!

Some additives I like to avoid include benzyl alcohol, povidone, iodine, disodium ETA, edetate disodium, benzalkonium, thimerosal, merthiolate, monobasic sodium phosphate, dibasic sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate monobasic, phenylcarbinol and sodium silicoaluminate. Some of these can directly irritate the sensitive lining of the nose, and some can cause allergic reactions.

More warnings:
- Some topical nasal decongestants contain sulfites. Asthmatics may react to sulfites, and some of these reactions may be life-threatening.
- Do not use nasal spray decongestants in children younger than two years old because these medications can interact with oral decongestants in cold medications.
- The nasal medications which contain benzalkonium chloride (BKC), a preservative that prevents the growth of microorganisms, can cause more rebound swelling than those that are BKC free. Thus, BKC may aggravate a condition known as Rhinitis Medicamentosa (RM, or nasal spray addiction, see below.)

Retrieved from "Clearing The Air One Nose at a Time: Caring for Your Personal Filter" by Hana R. Solomon MD, 2013"

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Nasal Saline Sprays - The Additives May Be the Problem. (n.d.).

P. Graf. (n.d.). Adverse Effects of Benzalkonium Chloride on the Nasal Mucosa: Allergic Rhinitis and Rhinitis Medicamentosa. Clinical Therapeutics.