Xylometazoline (also known as xylomethazoline) is a drug which is used as a nasal decongestant. It is a topical decongestant that is applied directly into the nose, either as a spray or as drops.

Xylometazoline is marketed under many brand names (see below), with the typical adult dose being 0.1% w/v xylometazoline. The dose for children under 12 is 0.05%.

Mechanism of action

The drug works by constricting the blood vessels in the nose. The vasoconstriction means that there is less pressure in the capillaries and less water can filter out, thus less discharge is made. (If the colour of the nasal passage is observed, it is visibly paler after dosage.)

Xylometazoline is designed to mimic the molecular shape of adrenaline meaning that it binds to the same cell receptors adrenaline does. For this reason, it should not be used by people with high blood pressure, or other heart problems. (It acts mainly on alpha-adrenergic receptors.)

Extended usage of xylometazoline can result in decreased effectiveness or a build up of tolerance against the drug. The number of receptors decreases, and when the administration of the drug is ceased, chronic congestion can occur; this is called rhinitis medicamentosa, commonly referred to as rebound congestion. Moreover long-term overdosing can cause degenerative changes in nasal mucous membranes that pose another health problem.

Brand names

Brand names include: Neo-Rinoleina; Novorin; Sinutab nasal spray; Olynth; Xylo-COMOD; Otriven; Otrivin; Otrivine; Otrix; Xymelin; Xylovit


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