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Am J Rhinol. 1997 Mar-Apr;11(2):109-15.

An evaluation of nasal response following different treatment regimes of oxymetazoline with reference to rebound congestion.

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  • 1Common Cold Centre, School of Molecular & Medical Biosciences, University of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.


This was a randomized, double-blind vehicle controlled study aimed at investigating the effects on nasal function of 7 days treatment with the topical decongestant oxymetazoline (0.05% w/v). Fifty healthy volunteers took part in the study and these were randomly allocated to three treatment groups (i) daily oxymetazoline (b.i.d. 150 microliters per nostril) (ii) intermittent oxymetazoline, with oxymetazoline being substituted for vehicle at the morning doses on days 1, 3, and 7; and (iii) daily vehicle (b.i.d. 150 microliters per nostril). The nasal airway was assessed by measurement of nasal airway resistance (NAR) using posterior rhinomanometry, subjective scaling of nasal patency by means of a visual analogue scale (VAS), and clinical visual examination. On days 1, 2, 3, and 7, NAR and VAS measurements were obtained before the morning dose and up to 6 hours after dosing; clinical visual examinations were also performed before dosing on these days. NAR and VAS measurements were also made following withdrawal of treatment on Days 8 and 9. Nonparametric analysis of the results showed that therapeutic tolerance to oxymetazoline did not develop over the 7-day treatment period, and visual examination of the nasal mucosa failed to find significant evidence of rhinitis. Evidence of rebound nasal congestion was found following 3 days of oxymetazoline treatment, with baseline NAR within the daily and intermittent oxymetazoline groups being significantly greater on Day 3 compared to Day 1 (p < 0.05). However, there was a trend toward increasing baseline NAR in the vehicle group over the course of the study, suggesting that the vehicle may have contributed to the rebound congestion. Following the withdrawal of treatments, only the intermittent oxymetazoline group had significantly higher NAR on Days 8 and 9 compared to Day 1 (p < 0.05). Subjective VAS measurements generally followed trends in NAR.

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