Skip to content


    Exciting News for WebMD Members!

    We've been busy behind the scenes building new message boards for you. You'll have new and easier ways to find messages, connect with others, and share your stories.

    And, this will all be available on your smartphone or other mobile device!

    What Do You Need to Do?

    The message board you're used to will be closing in the coming weeks. While many of your boards will be making the move to our new home, your posts will not. Want to keep a discussion going? Save posts you want to continue (this includes your member profile story), so that you can re-post them in the new message boards.

    Keep an eye here and on your email inbox, we'll be back in touch soon to give you all the information you need!

    Yours in health,
    WebMD Message Boards Management

    Allergic Rhinitis, or rhinitis medicamentosa?
    PAChristine posted:
    I have what I believe is a really nasty case of seasonal allergies. My eyes itch like mad, and what's worse is that I cannot breathe through my nose at all. It is completely plugged.

    Sudafed does not always help, and allergy medications just don't seem to be doing the trick. I'm completely plugged right now, and I took an Allegra in the morning, and I've been taking sudafed all day.

    I have found that the only thing which brings me relief is the off-brand Afrin that I have. However, knowing that one can become addicted to it, I limit use of that to once per day... but I'm wondering if that is still too much, and if my congestion is due to rhinitis medicamentosa, and not allergies. I don't know how one tells which is which.

    What do you think? What should I do? My nasal congestion is making me completely miserable. Please help...
    Aqua14 responded:
    This might seem very common sense (and I don't mean to sound snarky), but why not visit a physician and get appropriately diagnosed and treated to determine what's going on with you?

    It's possible that the physician would prescribe a short-term course of an oral steroid such as prednisone, which would relieve nasal tissue swelling whether due to severe uncontrolled allergies or Afrin addiction (or both). Then, if the physician thinks you are suffering from bad seasonal allergies, a prescription nasal steroid among other anti-allergy medications would reduce congestion without the rebound effect that happens with too-frequent use of Afrin. Of course, I'm not a physician and this is just a guess as to what might occur at the doctor's appointment.

    Hope you can get diagnosed and treated soon. Take care and good luck. Judy
    It's never too late to be what you might have been. ~ George Eliot. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
    PAChristine replied to Aqua14's response:
    Thank you for the suggestion, but I am underpaid and uninsured (my work does not offer health benefits, and I cannot get private insurance... Trust me, I tried). Visiting the doctor and many prescription medications are simply out of the question. Also, I am in the process of looking for a new job which offers health benefits, and if I go to the doctor before a new insurance starts, this will be considered a preexisting condition, and the insurance will never pay a dime to treat it. That is why I am trying to figure this out on my own.

    It has been about two days since I last used the afrin, and I am as congested as ever. My nose is still completely plugged, even when I take allegra and sudafed. Although a steroid nasal spray could be modestly helpful, it actually takes a few days for those to begin working... and most of the better sprays are not available as generics at this time (that I am aware of).

    I suppose I just get to suffer until the allergy season is over.
    sgbl88 replied to PAChristine's response:

    I would recommend not using the afrin for at least 5 more days. Try to let it get well out of your system and get over any possible "addiction".

    There are some other things you can do. Sinus rinses (if you are nott TOO congested are amazing). Making sure that you stay inside and reduce your exposure to allergens as much as possible by keeping doors and windows closed, pets out of your bedroom, allergy covers for bedding, shower before going to bed, wash bedding in HOT water. I would also recommend that you take a Mucinex type product. That will thin the congestion so that it drains better. Drinking LOTS of water will help as well.

    You may want to research nasal products with capsaicin (sp?) in them. They are not products I would use personally, but I know people who have used them successfully.

    Other thoughts:

    Are you sure about the pre-existing issue? Group insurance policies are not allowed to riter people for pre-existing conditions. That should be a non-issue unless it isn't a group policy.

    Doctors do give discounts to self-pay patients so that shouldn't cost as much as you may think. They may also be able to give you samples of medicines instead of you having to buy the expensive prescription. Also, some pharmacies like Walmart, Wlagreens, CVS and Target have either low cost monthly scripts for many generics (unfortunately a lot of allergy meds aren't on the lists). They also have membership cards that cost $20 or less per year. They offer significant price reductions with the cards, over 50% on some meds. I got about a 75% discount on one of my meds using the membership card. Walgreens's is the most expensive at $20 per year. The others are around $13 per year or less. I did go with the Walgreens card. I personally don't trust CVS as they tend to have a lot of wrong scripts going out the door in our area and other national issues. Walmart is inconvenient, and Target is more inconveniet (no drive through service and the pharm is not in a good location in their stores).

    I hope some of those idease help.

    Feel better and God bless.
    Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end... Ye shall seek me, and find [me]

    Helpful Tips

    Tip: safe use of epinephrine auto-injectorsExpert
    For patients with allergic diseases that place them at risk for severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis, epinephrine autoinjectors are an ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    16 of 28 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Asthma and Allergies Center