When a patient suffers nasal congestion due to infection, allergy, or fever, s(he) experiences difficulty in breathing and speech. Nasal congestion occurs when the nasal cavity is narrowed down due to swelling of nasal membranes and pressure from the sinus cavity. This can slowly culminate in pressure building up in the sinuses resulting in headaches and discomfort. Vicks nasal spray when used by the user acts by relaxing the swelling by its vasoconstrictor activity.
Oxymetazoline is the major ingredient present in Vicks nasal spray that acts on symptoms of cold. Therapeutically it belongs to the class of selective alpha 1 adrenergic agonist and partial alpha 2 adregenic agonist. In simple terms, it opens up the airway to help the patient breath easily. Since oxymetazoline belongs to the class of vasoconstrictor, it works by constricting the blood vessels of nasal cavity.
The same action Oxymetazoline can result in other signs and symptoms that are not required by the patient, these side effects of Vicks nasal spray may be mild and easy to recover from.
Some of the common side effects of Vicks nasal spray are:
Locally, Vicks nasal spray may cause burning or stinging sensation at the site of application. Transient increase in runny nose or stuffed nose is possible as soon as Vicks nasal spray is administered. Commonly noticed side effects are sneezing, temporary burning sensation, temporary stinging in nose, nasal dryness or increase in nasal discharge.
In some other patients, blurred vision, headache, light headness, trembling, dizziness, drowsiness, high blood pressure, trouble in sleeping may occur as side effects. Generally these side effects subside in a few minutes to hours. The side effects may be overcome when a dose of Vicks nasal spray is reduced a little. Burning sensation due to Vicks nasal spray may be prevented by spraying the Vicks nasal spray while keeping the head normal rather than tilted.
Some serious side effects of oxymetazoline that may occur are heart palpitations, allergic reaction as seen by occurrence of rashes, hives, itchy skin, or wheezing. Seizures, irregular heartbeat, unusual behaviour, hallucinations are side effects of Vicks nasal spray that occur in extreme rarity. But these side effects when seen in a patient, immediate medical help should be consulted to prevent the matter going off hands.
The patients may report the side effects for guidance to avoid them or overcome the side effects if already occurred. Mostly, many of the patients do not experience side effects and even if noticed they are easily manageable. The side effects may also be reported to FDA (food drug administration) using at 1-800-FDA-1088.
If not for these mild side effects, Vicks nasal spray is a safe medicine that may be used in relieving symptoms of cold such as nasal congestion, runny nose, increased nasal discharge etc. when the doctor finds you are more susceptible to side effects due to Vicks nasal spray, the use is strictly discontinued but it is not easy to predict how a person may react to the formulation, reason being the drug effects are varied among different individuals and disease states.