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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Does Nasal Spray Break a Fast, and Is It Harmful?

Does Nasal Spray Break a Fast, and Is It Harmful?

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 18, 2023
3 min read 1297 Views 0 Comments
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Do you have to take nasal spray for congestion and wondering whether it will break your fast? We have explored how nasal spray could break your fast. Check out our article to find out more.

Does nasal spray break fast

Nasal spray, used to reduce congestion in the nasal passage, is necessary when you have a cold or flu, but does it break a fast?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at whether nasal congestion spray breaks your fast, how nasal cavity spray works, and whether nasal spray will break the fast during Ramadan. Keep reading to find out more.

Does Nasal Spray Break Fast?

Nasal spray or nasal drops do not contain any ingredients that should elicit an insulin response. However, research suggests that chemicals found in the sprays can trigger the liver to make blood sugar. This means that nasal spray may end ketosis and break your fast.

On an intermittent fasting diet or a fasting-mimicking diet, most people only consider their fast to be broken if ketosis is broken. Ketosis is the metabolic state in which stored body fat is burned for fuel rather than blood glucose. This state is reached after 10–12 hours of fasting and helps you not only to lose weight but also reap the health benefits.

The nasal spray itself doesn’t contain glucose or anything that would necessarily cause a rise in blood sugar. However, it is recommended for people with diabetes to be cautious when using nasal spray due to the concern that some chemicals may cause the liver to make more blood sugar.

This research is inconclusive, and other research found no link between intranasal sprays and blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.

For fasting diets, where a fast is broken when any calories or food are consumed, the nasal spray doesn’t technically break a fast. However, some religious forms of fasting may advise against taking nasal sprays during the fasting period.

If you are concerned about using prescribed nasal medicine during a religious fast, you could speak with your doctor about another treatment that would not render a fast nullified.

If you are doing intermittent fasting and become ill, it may be best to stop fasting while you’re not feeling your best and restart when you feel better. This would mean not worrying about whether using nasal sprays breaks your fast too.

How Does a Nasal Spray Work?

These sprays are a medication used to reduce inflammation in the nasal passage. They work by shrinking the size of blood vessels and tissue in the inner lining of the nose to reduce congestion and make breathing easier.

Nasal sprays are generally not swallowed but do pass through the cranial vault leading to the stomach eventually. For this reason, these sprays may end some forms of fasting unless one avoids swallowing.

Can You Take Nasal Spray While Fasting During Ramadan?

During Ramadan, intranasal sprays are generally allowed during the fasting period. If you have allergies or other elements of decongestion, then nose sprays may be required, but they will not break the fast.

When trying to find answers, we came across some who would suggest that nose spray medication could break the fast, even a very small amount, and so it could be advisable to do your nose spraying at night time to avoid breaking your fast.

For more answers, you could speak with leaders in your local religious community and your doctor to get the best advice possible.

Are Nasal Sprays Harmful?

While nasal sprays are not necessarily harmful, they can become “addictive.” Though not a true addiction, spray overuse can damage the nose tissue and should be avoided.

There are a few side effects of the sprays, including stinging in the nose, irritation in the throat, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth.

A Word From MD

There are many kinds of medications that are not taken orally, including nasal sprays, eye drops, and ear drops. These kinds of medication generally will not break a fast because they are not passed down the throat and consumed as a fluid or pill.

However, some of the chemicals found in these medications could cause an increase in blood sugar which may result in breaking ketosis and ending a fast. Additionally, some religious forms of fasting do not allow this kind of medication to treat congestion as it is considered to break the fast.

For the most accurate answer, you will need to seek advice from religious leaders regarding whether this treatment type could break a fast. They will have the best knowledge in such an area and will give you the answer you need.

Some people choose to take these medications once fasting is over at night time hours to be on the safe side, and this could be the best way to avoid breaking the fast. However, you will also need to get your doctor’s opinion to ensure that changing your dosage regime will not affect your ability to breathe properly.


Whether getting your ears syringed or using an inhaler, some medications don’t follow normal consumption rules and are administered in the ears, eyes, or nostrils instead.

Generally, this kind of medication type will not end your fast. To be careful, you could try taking them during eating periods, but if this is not suitable, you should speak with healthcare professionals for the best advice on how to proceed.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 18, 2023
3 min read 1297 Views 0 Comments

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