Rebound rhinitis refers to congestion that may get worse following prolonged use of a topical nasal decongestant (vasoconstricting agent).


NOTE: An alternative meaning for "rhinitis medicamentosa" refers to rhinitis that occurs secondary to a drug, which may or may not have an allergic basis.


Features of rebound rhinitis:

(1) prolonged, repeated use of a topical nasal decongestant (length of time depends on patient, drug and frequency of use)

(2) need for ever increasing doses of the decongestant

(3) any interruption in use results in severe congestion


A physician examining the patient may observe edematous mucosa that does not respond to topical application of vasoconstricting agents.


Some patients may use the decongestants as a compulsive behavior, which may complicate the management.



(1) The most important step is the immediate discontinuation of all topical decongestants. Reuse in the future may result in relapse.

(2) Topical corticosteroids can be used to help control swelling.

(3) Saline nasal drops may help to keep muccous membranes moist, especially in environments where the air is dry

(4) Avoidance any known allergens.

(5) Systemic therapy may be considered if topical therapy fails.


It may take up to 2 weeks for the rhinitis to reverse.


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