Management of Rhinitis Medicamentosa: A Systematic Review

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019 Mar;160(3):429-438. doi: 10.1177/0194599818807891. Epub 2018 Oct 16.


Objective: Rhinitis medicamentosa (RM) is a common condition resulting from overuse of topical nasal decongestants. Despite the prevalence in otolaryngologic practice, a clear treatment protocol has not been established. Our objective was to review the current published literature pertaining to the treatment of RM with the possibility of finding data that support one treatment over another.

Data sources: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, and Web of Science databases were examined for patients diagnosed with RM resulting from chronic use of topical nasal decongestants.

Review methods: The PRISMA standard (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses) was utilized to identify English-language studies reporting treatment of patients with the primary diagnosis of RM after chronic use of a topical decongestant. Outcome measures of interest included patient-reported symptom relief and objective parameters. MINORS criteria (methodological index for nonrandomized studies) were used to assess the quality of articles.

Results: A total of 350 articles were identified, 9 of which met final inclusion criteria for qualitative analysis. Outcomes defined in each publication were highly varied and relied on several unstandardized measures. The most commonly reported treatment option was topical nasal steroids, although overall there was limited evidence on which to base treatment recommendation.

Conclusions: There is not adequate evidence to develop a standardized treatment protocol for RM. The development of a uniform questionnaire, standard outcomes to be measured, and a method of assessing such outcomes is necessary. Prospective randomized controlled studies are warranted to determine the optimal treatment regimen following diagnosis of RM.

Keywords: chronic rhinitis; nasal congestion; nasal decongestants; nonallergic rhinitis; rhinitis medicamentosa; rhinomanometry; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Humans
  • Nasal Decongestants / adverse effects*
  • Rhinitis / chemically induced*
  • Rhinitis / diagnosis
  • Rhinitis / therapy*


  • Nasal Decongestants