Side Effects of Otrivin Nasal Spray

Updated April 17, 2017

Nasal congestion can occur due to the common cold, hay fever, allergies or sinus irritation. Otrivin nasal spray acts to reduce congestion caused by these factors by shrinking the veins and arteries in the nasal passageway. However, this decongestant's success in reducing congestion in the nasal area is not without potential side effects.

Common Side Effects

Sneezing and irritation are two of the common side effects that can be experienced while using Otrivin. Nasal dryness and burning are also common. However, these side effects are often mild and only temporary in nature. If they become more severe---or they are present for a long period of time---it is important to seek medical attention.

Serious Side Effects

Sometimes medications---especially if they interact adversely with other medications being used---can cause severe and dangerous side effects. Therefore, if an you are using Otrivin and experience any of the following, you should halt use and seek immediate medical attention: hallucinations, seizures, closing up of the throat, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, fast heartbeat, swelling of the face, swelling of the tongue or lips, unusual behaviour or sudden hives.

Overdose Side Effects

The most serious effect that can occur from taking too much Otrivin is a coma. Thus it is important that you take your dosage promptly and do not attempt to take two dosages at once if you miss a dose. In addition, using this medication more frequently than directed by a physician, or in larger quantity, can also constitute an overdose. In addition to coma, other overdose side effects can include: slowed heartbeat, dizziness, sweating and extreme tiredness.

Drug Interactions

Due to the possibility of dangerous side effects (like those mentioned above), Otrivin should not be taken if you have used a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor during the past 14 days. Examples of MAOs include: Parnate, Nardil and Marplan. If you are unsure if a medication would be considered an MAO, you should consult your physician before use of Otrivin.


Several serious health conditions may necessitate your doctor's need to adjust your dosage of Otrivin---or monitor its use---in order to eliminate any serious side effects. These health conditions can include: high blood pressure, liver or kidney disease, diabetes, glaucoma, prostate problems, heart disease and thyroid problems. Likewise, drugs being taken for these conditions will need to be evaluated for possible drug interaction complications with Otrivin.

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About the Author

Holly Huntington's writing has been published online by eHow.