The active ingredient in Afrin nasal spray is Oxymetazoline hydrochloride, according to DailyMed. It makes up 0.05 percent of the compound solution. The inactive ingredients are benzalkonium chloride solution, benzyl alcohol, camphor, edetate disodium, eucalyptol, menthol, polysorbate 80, propylene glycol, purified water, sodium phosphate dibasic, and sodium phosphate monobasic.
The Oxymetazoline hydrochloride in Afrin nasal spray relieves nasal congestion by narrowing the blood vessels in the nose, DailyMed explains. Products with this ingredient are safe when used in the nose but they can be dangerous and life-threatening if ingested. For this reason it’s important to keep solutions with this ingredient out of the reach of children, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This ingredient can also cause the congestion to rebound, making nasal passages stay congested or become more severely congested.
The ingredients in Afrin nasal spray are designed solely to provide temporary relief of nasal congestion caused by allergies and/or the common cold, advises DailyMed, but the spray doesn't cure these ailments. People should not use Afrin nasal spray for more than three days, as this may cause a nasal condition to worsen. Those with heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes or prostate issues, should consult a doctor before using Afrin.