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Does nasal decongestant spray work for you?

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Hello im a new member here.

I have been suffering from CH for over 10 years. Usually get CH in spring and fall that lasts for about a month. 

I usually stay away from any prescription meds due to their cost and because they just make next headache worse. 

Recently I had a bad flu that triggered nightly clusters. Since I had runny nose I started using nasal spray to clear out congestion. So one night I got up with a really bad CH and went to clear my nose and used over the counter nasal spray. Approximately 15 minutes later headache was gone and I quickly fell asleep. I never had any medicine act so fast against CH. I have been using nasal spray to fight CH for past 2 weeks and it worked everytime. 

Sparay that I use contains regular dose of Oxymetazoline. 

So Im just curious if this method worked for someone or maybe it will help you too if you havent tried it yet. 




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I know that some of the prescriptions are manufactured in a nasal spray form and work much better and faster then in pill form and injections working the fastest but I have never heard of a over the counter drug in any form abort a cluster. What is the brand yo are using? Maybe someone else will have more information for you. 

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  • 1 year later...

I have been researching oxymetazoline for some time now and have been using as a substitute for sumatriptan for nearly 3 years.

I am 100% certain that this aborts my cluster headaches.

Oxymetazoline as an α-adrenoceptor agonist, however it works as a full and potent agonist of serotonin receptor types 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B  AND 5-HT1D, and is a partial agonist of 5-HT1C.

Sumatriptan works as an agonist of serotonin receptor types 5-HT1B and 5-HT1D. 

It is believed that sumatriptan aborts cluster headaches because of cerebral vasoconstriction caused by its action as an agonist on serotonin receptor type 5-HT1D 

So I firmly believe oxymetazoline aborts cluster headaches.

So far you are my first confirmation.

Spread the word

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I have taken the liberty of pasting Matt's original, longer post here.  Quite a coincidence that two people show up on the same day with this idea that is new to me (but maybe not to people who have been around longer than I have been), but I'm anxious to see where it goes.


Hi everyone I have had cluster headaches for more than a decade.  And for all of this time I have been searching for new drugs to abort my cluster headaches.

 The drug has to meet certain criteria, it needs to be fast acting, discrete, cheap, easily available and constrict blood vessels ideally by acting as an agonist to the same serotonin receptor types as sumatriptan (5-HT1B and 5-HT1D).

So, after years of searching I have come up with Oxymetazoline, an over the  counter decongestant nasal spray.

This drug meets all of the above criteria.
Importantly it works as a full and potent agonist of type 5-HT1B and 5-HT1D receptors. 

 I have been testing on myself for the last 3 years with good results.

I abort at least 7/10 attacks with oxymetazoline alone.

When oxymetazoline fails I use oxygen and it quickly finishes the attack off.

For me, the combination of oxymetazoline and oxygen has proven itself to be a near unstoppable way of dealing with the beast (far more effective than oxygen alone).


I would like to  mention that rebound congestion is an issue that I have raised with my GP and have been prescribed a weak steroid nasal spray to combat this.

I have not used sumatriptan except when abroad for more than a year.

Since I have substituted sumatriptan for oxymetazoline I have had no drop in frequency of attacks and nasal congestion will almost always progresses to a cluster headache if not treated so I can't rule out rebound headaches as a possibility.


I have had phenomenal success with my current strategy of viewing congestion (rebound or otherwise) as an early warning sign of an attack and treating with oxymetazoline.

This will sound disgusting but this is how I use oxymetazoline.

At the first sign of an attack (congestion) I administer two metered spray doses to each nostril.

As soon as my airways open up I can always pull an extreme amount of mucus from my nose and sinuses into my throat I spit this out if I can but have to swallow if not. 

Every time I pull some mucus back it's like the pressure and pain decreases slightly. 

I keep breathing and pulling mucus away from my sinuses until the attack stops.

Because of the current success I have been having with oxymetazoline and pulling mucus, my personal leading theory is as follows:

Often humans over complicate things and more often than not the answer is simple.


I believe Cerebral blood vessels dilate causing a pressure pocket inside the sinus cavity, this then fills up with air and mucus inflating inside the head like a balloon, this gets so big that it starts to put pressure on nerve bundles thus causing the severe pain associated with the condition. (Just a laugh, dont destroy me lol)

Just to clarify to everyone this post is not a recommendation to try any drug before speaking to a medical professional.

I have not read about this anywhere else and I am interested to see if anyone else has been down this rabbit hole.

If not, I hope this helps someone.<<<<<

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Hi all I searched through previous content and found this, it was originally posted in dec 2018. I just added a comment to it to get it back on the feed.

Please dont be sceptical people.  If you really think about it no one could possibly have anything to gain by informing you that a £2  bottle of over the counter decongestant will abort 20+ of their headaches 

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Been having a look into some of the prevention methods being used on here. The use of Vit D, magnesium and keto diets all seem to have reasonably high success.

I mentioned in an earlier post that after I use oxymetazoline I can always pull a ridiculous amount of mucus from my sinus cavity and nasal passages and this eases the pain of my attack.

After some reading online I have discovered that Vit D deficiency is linked with chronic sinusitis, magnesium is used to reduce mucus in CF patients, and the body requires carbohydrates to produce mucus so a keto diet will inevitably reduce mucus production.

Could be a coincidence.

Just thought this was interesting.

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OTC Nasal sprays can cause significant local blood vessel constriction.   The central effects are less known.  The serotonin receptor engagement is mostly described in the lab and the extent in the human is less clear.  If it works thats great but use caution because it is very easy for your nose to get habituated to the spray and you have to use it all the time to breath easily

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Thank you. 

As I mentioned rebound congestion is an issue, and I cannot rule out the possibility of rebound headaches.

I have been prescribed a weak steroid nasal spray to combat rebound congestion.

My theory has long been that its success was due to opening up airways, increasing the body efficiency to intake oxygen, maybe it is just that simple.

Its action on serotonin receptors is a new discovery to me and though it was an interesting link. 

Obviously, prevention is key to minimize the need for oxymetazoline.

My main focus now is to find a reliable preventative that works for me.

My strategy will be reducing mucus production and inflammation of nasal mucosa.

Thinking vit D and magnesium to start.

I am also a chronic sufferer and will be exploring the small possibility that I have a fungal sinus infection that exacerbates my condition.

This can be ruled out by taking fulconazole.

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  • 1 year later...

I see that its been over 3 years since I posted this in 2018. 

My cluster headaches only happen in periods of 2 - 4 weeks in spring and fall. Since 2018 I have used nasal spray to combat them quite successfully. 

I found out that there is a certain nasal spray that works and some other dont. 

I have used Drixoral NO DRIP spray and find that its the only one that works.

I believe the only reason why it does work is because the medicine sticks to your nasal passages and keeps working better than other cheaper sprays that just drip down your throat. 

Im in a middle of a really bad cluster period right now, and I have been using cheap nasal drops, guess what they did not work. I almost gave up until I went ro drug mart and got No Drip spray last night. So this morning i was awakened by the headache onset and I sprayed 3 good long prays in my left nostril, 5 minutes later the pain was gone. I still had the restless feeling you usually get, so I took my dog for a long walk, came back and started doing chores and fixing stuff around the house. 

This is a miracle medicine that works wonders, where yesterday my headache started at the same time at 7am and I was in a disabled state for half of the day. Today im feeling like being born again lol



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Im just surprised there is no research in using nasal sprays, as they are effective and widely available at low cost.

I have used prescription meds and find that they dont really work that well. I have paid almost $100 CAD for triptan meds all they did was give me a relief for 1 to 2 hours and the next headache came in even worse. Its almost like they do get you addicted and make you spend money. I find it is easier to just not use them at all. 


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  • senya changed the title to Does nasal decongestant spray work for you?
6 hours ago, trjonas said:

Thank you for this post! I've ordered this nasal spray and will see if it will help me too.

Hope it helps you, please let us know if it does work.

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senya, this is really fascinating information.  Thank you for posting it.  I understand that you don't use any triptans; do you also not use oxygen to abort?  Are you relying completely on the nasal spray?  Energy drinks/shots?  Anything aside from the spray?

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3 hours ago, CHfather said:

senya, this is really fascinating information.  Thank you for posting it.  I understand that you don't use any triptans; do you also not use oxygen to abort?  Are you relying completely on the nasal spray?  Energy drinks/shots?  Anything aside from the spray?

No triptans for me, I found they just make my headache worse. I was hoping to get Oxygen tank 3 years ago, but at the time my family doctor just did not listen to me. Since my cluster periods are short lived I just decided not to pursue this oxygen idea. 

I also found Tylenol Rapid Release (blue white red pill) works for mild attacks, or to finish off subsiding headache.

I might try psychedelics if my attacks continue past this week which is already week 4 for me. 

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Just an update: I got another profound confirmation that nasal spray works. I had one of the worst attacks this morning, 20 out of 10 pain scale, its so bad makes your stomach turn inside out, everything is spinning so you become really disoriented.

All I had to do is just 2 sprays in left nostril, took 1 tylenol extra strength. I had to tough it out for about 10 minutes, and then bam like someone just turned the switch off, and the pain was gone, I went back to sleep for 3 hours, was one of the best morning naps I had in a while. 

I really hope this information gets to as many peole as possible and helps them out. 


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My results... I ordered this nasal spray and have been testing it since I received it. It increased my HA by a couple of notches each time, really unpleasant. But it was worth a try, and also, I have HC with suspected underlying CCH or chronic migraine, so I'm not like the others. 

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