Are OTC Nasal Dilators Effective?

The internal nasal valve is a common area of inspiratory collapse
The internal nasal valve is a common area of inspiratory collapse

A recent review in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery examines the effectiveness of over-the-counter (OTC) mechanical nasal dilators in improving airflow through the internal nasal valve.

Being the narrowest part of the nose, the internal nasal valve is a common area of inspiratory collapse and nasal airflow obstruction. Searching through Pubmed and sites such as Amazon.com and Google, Christopher Badger, BS, of the University of California-Irvine, and coauthors were able to identify 33 OTC mechanical nasal dilators; discontinued or unavailable products were not included in the study. The efficacy of the mechanical nasal dilator was based on objective measures such as cross-sectional area of the nasal valve, measured airflow, and changes in resistance; patient perception and sleep quality were not included measures. 

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Four classes of mechanical nasal dilators were revealed in the analysis: internal nasal stents placed into each nostril (1 study supported use), nasal clips placed over the nasal septum (4 studies supported use), external nasal dilators strips worn over the bridge of the nose (5 studies supported use), and septal stimulators which apply pressure to the nasal septum to increase circulation and promote nasal passage opening (no studies were available to support use).

The authors conclude by stating "Our findings suggest that external nasal dilator strips and nasal clips effectively relieve obstruction of the internal nasal valve and may be an alternative to surgical intervention in some patients." 

For more information visit JAMA.com.

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