The nasal decongestant effect of xylometazoline in the common cold

Am J Rhinol. 2008 Sep-Oct;22(5):491-6. doi: 10.2500/ajr.2008.22.3202. Epub 2008 Jul 24.


Background: Xylometazoline is a nasal decongestant spray that constricts nasal blood vessels and increases nasal airflow, enabling patients with a blocked nose to breathe more easily. The purpose of this study was to characterize objectively and subjectively the decongestant and additional effects of xylometazoline in the common cold.

Methods: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study was performed. Patients with a common cold (n = 61) were treated with xylometazoline 0.1% (n = 29) or placebo (saline solution; n = 32; 1 spray three times a day for up to 10 days). The primary objective was to determine the decongestant effect (nasal conductance); the secondary objectives were to determine the peak subjective effect (visual analog scale), duration of relief of nasal congestion, total and individual cold symptoms and general well-being (patients' daily diary), and adverse events (AEs).

Results: The decongestant effect of xylometazoline was significantly greater than placebo, as shown by the nasal conductance at 1 hour (384.23 versus 226.42 cm(3)/s; p <or= 0.0001) and peak subjective effect (VAS, 20.7 mm versus 31.5 mm; p = 0.0298). Nasal conductance was significantly superior for up to 10 hours (p = 0.0009) and there was a trend in favor of xylometazoline for up to 12 hours (not statistically significant). Xylometazoline significantly improved total and some individual common cold symptoms scores (p < 0.05), leading to significantly greater patient general evaluation and satisfaction with treatment (p < 0.05). Nineteen AEs were reported: 8 with xylometazoline (all mild-moderate) and 11 with placebo (1 severe).

Conclusion: Xylometazoline is an effective and well-tolerated decongestant nasal spray that significantly relieved nasal congestion compared with placebo in the common cold and provided long-lasting relief with just 1 spray, helping patients to breathe more easily for a longer period of time.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intranasal
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Adult
  • Common Cold / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Nasal Decongestants / administration & dosage*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Imidazoles
  • Nasal Decongestants
  • xylometazoline