Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2023

Generic Name: naphazoline

Brand Name: Privine

Drug Class: Decongestants, Intranasal

What is naphazoline, and what is it used for?

Naphazoline is a nasal spray used for the temporary relief of nasal congestion caused by the common cold, hay fever, and upper respiratory allergies.

Naphazoline shrinks swollen mucous membranes (mucosa) of the nasal passage, helps clear the nasal passage, and makes it easier to breathe. Naphazoline provides only temporary relief and does not cure the underlying condition. Naphazoline is available over the counter (OTC) in the U.S.

Naphazoline clears nasal congestion by constricting the small blood vessels (arterioles) in the nasal mucosa. Naphazoline is an alpha1 adrenergic agonist that works by stimulating alpha adrenergic receptors in the nasal mucosa. Alpha receptors are protein particles normally stimulated by norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter in the body, to make smooth muscles around blood vessels contract, resulting in constriction of blood vessels and reduced blood flow.


  • Do not use naphazoline if you are hypersensitive to any of the components in the formulation.
  • Do not use naphazoline on children under 12 years of age.
  • Do not use naphazoline if you have narrow angle glaucoma, a condition with high intraocular pressure that can progressively damage the optic nerve.
  • Do not use naphazoline without checking with your healthcare provider if you have any of the following conditions:
  • Naphazoline may cause temporary discomfort, including burning, sneezing, stinging, or increased nasal discharge.
  • Prolonged and frequent use of naphazoline may cause rebound nasal congestion or worsen the condition when the drug is discontinued.

What are the side effects of naphazoline?

Common side effects of naphazoline include:

Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms or serious side effects while using this drug:

This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Common Allergies: Symptoms and Signs See Slideshow

What are the dosages of naphazoline?

Nasal Spray

  • 0.05% (20 mL)

Adult and Pediatric:

Nasal Decongestant

  • Children below 12 years: Not recommended
  • Adults and children above 12 years: 1-2 sprays per nostril every 6 hours as needed


  • Naphazoline intranasal ingestion and overdose can cause central nervous system depression with symptoms such as low core body temperature (hypothermia) and excessively slow heartbeat (bradycardia) that can progress to coma and death.
  • Naphazoline’s effects are more pronounced in children under 6 years.
  • Naphazoline overdose may be treated with symptomatic and supportive care.

What drugs interact with naphazoline?

Inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking, who can advise you on any possible drug interactions. Never begin taking, suddenly discontinue, or change the dosage of any medication without your doctor’s recommendation.

  • Naphazoline has no listed severe interactions with other drugs.
  • Serious interactions of naphazoline include:
    • iobenguane I 131
  • Moderate interactions of naphazoline include:
    • nicotine intranasal
    • safinamide
    • solriamfetol
  • Naphazoline has no listed mild interactions with other drugs.

The drug interactions listed above are not all of the possible interactions or adverse effects. For more information on drug interactions, visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker.

It is important to always tell your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you use, as well as the dosage for each, and keep a list of the information. Check with your doctor or health care provider if you have any questions about the medication.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

  • Restrict naphazoline intranasal to occasional use during pregnancy, with caution and only if clearly needed.
  • It is not known if naphazoline is present in breastmilk. Use with caution if you are a nursing mother.
  • Do not use any OTC drugs including naphazoline intranasal without first checking with your healthcare provider, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What else should I know about naphazoline?

  • Use naphazoline exactly as prescribed or as per label directions.
  • Do not exceed recommended dosages.
  • Do not use naphazoline for longer than 3 days. Stop use and consult with a physician if the condition persists or worsens.
  • Do not share your spray dispenser with others, it can spread the infection.
  • Store safely out of reach of children.
  • In case of overdose, seek medical help or contact Poison Control.


Naphazoline is a nasal spray used for the temporary relief of nasal congestion caused by the common cold, hay fever, and upper respiratory allergies. Common side effects of naphazoline include burning, stinging, sneezing, runny nose, nasal dryness, nasal irritation, central nervous system effects (dizziness, anxiety, tremor), and rebound nasal congestion. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Medically Reviewed on 1/19/2023