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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The effect of Xylometazoline on the mucosa of human maxillary sinus.

A stuffy and running nose are two of the most expressed symptoms of acute rhinosinusitis and have made the use of decongestants very common. The medication, oral or nasal, gives relief from symptoms but its effect on the healing of the infection, positive or negative, is not clear. The effect of Xylometazoline on the blood flow, the pulse amplitude and the gas exchange in the antral mucosa of the maxillary sinus was studied in five healthy subjects. Our experiments show that the mucosal pulse amplitude and the blood flow are strongly reduced by insufflation of Xylometazoline but the gas exchange in the mucosa is only lowered to a minor extent. The reduction in gas exchange is not great enough to allow the gas mixture to be altered. The defence mechanisms in the antral mucosal lining, i.e. the mucociliary-, the immuno- and the phagocytotic mechanisms are all dependent on the blood flow and the gas exchange through narrow maxillary ostia of the pumping effect generated by the mucosal pulse wave. The reduction in blood flow and pulse amplitude in the maxillary mucosa caused by Xylometazoline leads us to consider that, although not harmful then it is at least not helpful, in healing rhinosinusitis. Since oral decongestants have almost the same effect on the mucosa as nasal decongestants, we do not think that any of the medicines faciliate the healing of infections in the upper airways even if they make the patient feel better during the infection.[1]


  1. The effect of Xylometazoline on the mucosa of human maxillary sinus. Falck, B., Svanholm, H., Aust, R. Rhinology. (1990) [Pubmed]
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