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Nose Sprays VS Tablets: What’s the difference?

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 31 Jan 2023

Nose Sprays VS Tablets: What’s the difference?

When dealing with a cold, some people prefer nasal spray and some people prefer pills.

But sometimes you can’t just consider what you like, or dislike; instead you have to think about the effectiveness of the product and how it impacts your body.

What are the benefits of using a spray?

As sprays are applied directly to your nasal passage, they begin to work in the affected area instead of travelling around your body, like a tablet does1.

That's why sprays begin to work within 5-10 minutes, whereas tablets can take up to thirty minutes2 to begin working3.  

Otrivin nasal sprays4 are also long-lasting, lasting between 10 to 12 hours, which can be beneficial if you only want to use the medication once daily

What are the benefits of using a tablet?

Tablets work by travelling through your digestive system before entering your bloodstream to treat the cause of your congestion.

Depending on whether or not you can easily use a spray, you can still get the same relief through a tablet.

However, the effectiveness of the tablet is delayed and can take up to 30 minutes to work.

If you’re having trouble deciding which is best for managing your cold symptoms, please speak to our friendly Blooms The Chemist pharmacist at your local store. We’d be happy to help.


1Eccles R. “Over the counter medicines for colds.” In: Common Cold. Eccles R & Weber O, eds. Bas el, Switzerland: Birkhäuser Verlag; 2009.  

2Otrivine Adult Nasal Spray. Emc. Available from (Accessed 10 July 2018).  

3 Pseudoephedrine (Professional Patient Advice). Available from (Accessed 10 July 2018).

4Department of Health and Aged Care Therapeutic Goods Administration, Otrivin Adult Nasal Spray, accessed 31 January 2023