Rhinitis Medicamentosa: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment


What is Rhinitis Medicamentosa?

Also known as a rebound congestion, rhinitis medicamentosa is an inflammation of the mucous membrane in your nose. When the irritation is caused by allergies the condition is known as hay fever. Rebound congestion is a less common form, however, you may be at risk if you regularly use nasal sprays.


According to theĀ  American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology , rebound congestion is caused by the overuse of nasal decongestants. The chemicals contained in these medications work by shrinking congested blood vessels. Because the medicine is applied directly to the nose, you experience rapid relief. Over time, the blood vessels stop responding to the medication.

If you continue to use the nasal spray your congestion only gets worse. This causes a cycle of overuse and dependence. If the duration of this cycle goes on too long, it can lead to more serious nasal issues.


  • Nasal congestion that won't go away and there are no other allergy symptoms occurring
  • Nasal congestion that doesn't change in relation to seasonal or other types of allergy triggers
  • Nasal congestion that gets worse with the increase in frequency and dosage of nasal spray


  • To effectively treat rhinitis medicamentosa you must stop using nasal spray. Your doctor may allow you to gradually decrease use instead of abruptly stopping.
  • To ease mild congestion, your doctor may recommend a saline nasal spray. This saltwater solution doesn't contain any chemicals that will further irritate your nasal passage.
  • To treat more severe congestion, your doctor may prescribe an oral steroid to reduce inflammation. Other recommendations may include oral antihistamines or decongestants, nasal emollients, or alternative therapies.

Why You Should Get Help

It is important to reduce the inflammation before it causes serious complications. Chronic inflammation can lead to infection of the membrane that lines are your sinuses. Treatment can also help you to avoid the formation of polyps in your nasal cavity which would require surgery. Rhinitis medicamentosa is preventable based on the awareness of the complications of overusing nasal sprays.

An Allergist Can Help with Rhinitis Medicamentosa

Allergy symptoms can make you miserable and impact the quality of your life. They can also be challenging to diagnose and treat. If you feel that you are suffering from the symptoms of rhinitis medicamentosa, and are ready to discover relief, contact The Allergy Group. Our board-certified allergists will review your symptoms, discuss your medical history, perform an exam, and conduct testing to diagnose the underlying cause. We will then utilize this information to educate you on how to treat, reduce, and if possible, eliminate a recurrence. Medication may be prescribed on an as-needed basis or for seasonal use only. To schedule an appointment, call The Allergy Group today at (208) 377-4000 or submit a contact form.

Our team of board-certified physicians and medical professionals are experts in the field of allergy, asthma and immunology. Our doctors and physician assistant have backgrounds in Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. The Allergy Group has clinics located in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Eagle and Caldwell. We are committed to caring for patients in Treasure Valley and beyond.