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Oscar (part 1): I have been addicted to nasal spray for at least 11 years. I found out recently when I looked at a photo from 2004 and saw a bottle of nasal spray on the table. To help others I like to share my personal story about how I got addicted to nasal spray and what I have already tried to get rid of. I will also tell you about my first experiences with Capsinol… pepper in your nose!

11 years ago

It will be about 11 to 13 years ago that I had a stuffy nose. I bought a nasal spray from a drugstore. Like many regular nasal sprays, this nasal spray also contained the ingredient xylometazoline (hydrochloride). I now know that word completely by heart. With this nasal spray (based on that strange substance xylometazoline) all the misery started for me.

That is why I call this nasal spray with xylometazoline a (k) nasal spray from now on. Then you immediately know what I’m talking about. Being addicted to nasal spray. A lot of people will give you a funny look if you tell them that. Let’s face it, it also sounds a bit crazy and sad at the same time. Yet it is not something very strange, because it is estimated that many tens of thousands of Dutch people are addicted to nasal spray. But why is that actually?

How do you get addicted to nasal spray?

How can you become addicted to nasal spray again? That is the case. A (k) nasal spray shrinks the blood vessels in your nose. At first your nose is closed tight, but after a pinch of (k) nasal spray it is completely open within seconds and you can breathe freely again. Literally a relief! But… now it comes. The xylometazoline in the (k) nasal spray causes your nasal mucous membranes to swell after a while. This will cause your nose to close again and again you cannot breathe through your nose. The only way to get your nose open again is to use the (k) nasal spray again.


After a while, habituation occurs and this process repeats itself faster and faster. Your nose is closed, you use the (k) nasal spray, your nose opens for a moment, but within a few hours your nasal mucous membranes swell and your nose is closed again. To get your nose open again and to be able to breathe, you always need the (k) nasal spray, and before you know it you will be addicted to nasal spray. You can’t go anywhere without your nasal spray. It goes everywhere: to school, work, family visits, groceries and so on. Of course, a few bottles go on holiday, and you always have a few bottles in stock at home.

Spraying in the open? You don’t, because you are a bit ashamed of that strange addiction. For example, on a first date where you only go to the toilet so that you can secretly spray again.

How do you get rid of nasal spray addiction?

At first I didn’t even realize I was addicted. I really liked my (k) nasal spray, because it literally gave me “air”. Without the spray, I couldn’t breathe. After a few years I realized that it is quite annoying to have to have a nasal spray at hand and to spray every few hours, simply to be able to breathe. Time for action! First go to my doctor. This one had a solution that would get me rid of my addiction in no time… or at least that was the idea.

The first time I started using my new nasal spray (prescription from the pharmacy) was a complete setback. Despite the promising words of my doctor, nothing at all happened.

After a while I gave up and just kept using my nasal spray. However, a few years later I tried again with my doctor and this time I was prescribed Nasonex, a nasal spray based on corticosteroids. This had to be the solution to my problem. Well, this spray seemed to work a bit, but the effect was just too little to open my nose completely and also seemed to diminish over time. Sometimes it even made my nose sit even closer. Unfortunately, attempt failed.

In the years that followed, I tried many more things. I had read a few things on the internet and thus understood that my addiction was not healthy, that many people have the same problem and it was going to be very difficult to get rid of.

And so I tried everything … (and yes, you can laugh about it) I hung over a pan and steamed herbs (chamomile), I rinsed my nose with saline solution, I tried nasal sprays based on sea salt, sprays with herbs and alcohol, I have tried many different natural nasal sprays including Cinuforce (Forte) from A. Vogel, I have tried to simply stop the (k) nasal spray, but you probably guessed it.

Nothing helped. My nose was and remained closed. Only my nasal spray could open my nose and it would stay that way for the rest of my life. That was the only possible conclusion and I just had to accept it.

Capsinol nasal spray

So a few weeks ago I saw that old photo from 2004 with a bottle of nasal spray on it. And so I decided to search the internet again to see if there are any new developments to combat nasal spray addiction. And so I ended up on the Capsinol website. Because I have already tried so much, I did not immediately have full confidence in it, but because I did read some positive reactions from others, and because the medical world is also responding positively to it, I decided to give it a shot anyway .

I had ordered a bottle via the website and the next day it was neatly packed in my letterbox. I was aware that it would be pretty intense to spray this ‘pepper spray’ in my nose so I decided to wait until I went to sleep. And there it went… the first time spraying with Capsinol!

It is indeed quite a spicy spray (but you get used to that quickly) and now we had to wait and see what would happen. While in bed, I soon noticed that my nose was opening a little. A surprise! What was also a completely unexpected surprise (this may sound a bit distasteful, I apologize in advance) was that I noticed mucus coming out inside my nose. A positive effect that I have never experienced before with any other nasal spray (and believe me, I have tried many many).

2 weeks later

Just a “fast forward”. We are now two weeks further and in this short time it is already a lot better with my nose. An incredible result for me. Three weeks ago I used my (k) nasal spray every 2-3 hours. Now, with the help of Capsinol, I have been able to use no (k) nasal spray at all two days in a row a couple of times. Sometimes when my nose is really closed, I still need the nasal spray, but then I can go without it for quite a while. In the meantime I use Capsinol. I spray a few times a day (much less than before with my (k) nasal spray) and then I can handle it again. Fortunately, capsinol is not addictive and can therefore always be used.

I do not know whether I will completely get rid of my (k) nasal spray addiction. But my first experience with Capsinol has been very positive so far. I have been out a number of times without a nasal spray in my pocket… and with an open nose. A very big victory for me.

Thank you Capsinol!

Oscar gave an update 3 months later on how things are going now.