is a drug which is used as a topical
In medicine, a topical medication is applied to body surfaces such as the skin or mucous membranes such as the vagina, anus, throat, eyes and ears.Many topical medications are epicutaneous, meaning that they are applied directly to the skin...
nasal decongestant. It is applied directly into the nose
The visible part of the human nose is the protruding part of the face that bears the nostrils. The shape of the nose is determined by the ethmoid bone and the nasal septum, which consists mostly of cartilage and which separates the nostrils...
, either as a spray or as drops.
Xylometazoline is marketed under many brand names (see below), with the typical adult dose being 0.1% w/v xylometazoline, and the dose for children under 12 being 0.05%.
Mechanism of action
The drug works by constricting the blood vessels in the nose. The vasoconstriction
Vasoconstriction is the narrowing of the blood vessels resulting from contraction of the muscular wall of the vessels, particularly the large arteries, small arterioles and veins. The process is the opposite of vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels. The process is particularly important in...
means that there is less pressure in the capillaries and less water can filter out, thus less discharge is made. (If the colour of the nasal passage is observed, it is visibly paler after dosage.)
Xylometazoline is an imidazole
Imidazole is an organic compound with the formula C3H4N2. This aromatic heterocyclic is a diazole and is classified as an alkaloid. Imidazole refers to the parent compound, whereas imidazoles are a class of heterocycles with similar ring structure, but varying substituents...
derivative which is designed to mimic the molecular shape of adrenaline. It binds to alpha-adrenergic receptors in the nasal mucosa. Due to its sympathomimetic effects, it should not be used by people with high blood pressure
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs. When used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the arterial pressure of the systemic circulation. During each heartbeat, BP varies...
, or other heart
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...
Extended usage of xylometazoline can result in decreased effectiveness or a build up of tolerance against the drug. The number of receptors decreases, and when the administration of the drug is ceased, chronic congestion can occur; this is called rhinitis medicamentosa
Rhinitis medicamentosa is a condition of rebound nasal congestion brought on by extended use of topical decongestants that work by constricting blood vessels in the lining of the nose.-Presentation:This condition typically occurs after 5 to 7 days of use of such medications...
, commonly referred to as rebound congestion. Moreover long-term overdosing can cause degenerative changes in nasal mucous membrane
The mucous membranes are linings of mostly endodermal origin, covered in epithelium, which are involved in absorption and secretion. They line cavities that are exposed to the external environment and internal organs...
s that pose another health problem.
Xylometazoline is sold under a number of brand names worldwide, including: Xylomet(Opsonin,BD)Cirovin, Klarigen (in Denmark), Nasolin, Neo-Rinoleina, Novorin, Olynth, Otrinoz, Otriven, Otrivin, Otrivine, Otrix, Rhinoset (in India), Sinutab Nasal Spray, Snup akut, Sudafed, Xylo-COMOD, Xylovit, Zolynd (in Serbia), Xynosine (in Pakistan), Xymelin and Zymelin.
- H. Albrecht, (1959).
- H. Albrecht, (1957).