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Medically reviewed by, Russell Braun RPH
Have you tried to care for you ear problems yourself? Are you scared you might damage your ear? Wondering, can you leave Debrox ear drops in overnight?
You are not alone……many people worry about pain or discomfort after using Debrox ear drops. What about if nothing comes back out of your ear, is that normal?
What is Debrox?
Debrox is the brand name of the active ingredient carbamide peroxide. When applied to the ear, it is used to soften and loosen ear wax, so it can be removed. Carbamide peroxide is a combination of urea and hydrogen peroxide. It is also used as a disinfecting agent and for teeth whitening.
Debrox is just one brand of carbamide peroxide many others are also sold as Over The Counter (OTC) drugs. These products do not require a prescription from a doctor.
What is Debrox used to treat?
Debrox is used to treat excessive earwax buildup. This can cause discomfort in the ear and an itching sensation. In some more serious cases it could cause a partial loss of hearing. These symptoms can affect normal activities and lead to other problems.
How does Debrox work?
Carbamide peroxide acts much like hydrogen peroxide when put on a wound that needs to be cleaned out. A foaming occurs when the drops are placed in the ear as they peroxide releases oxygen.
The foam helps to soften and loosen ear wax. As the ear wax becomes soft and lose it can naturally drain or be removed from the ear more easily.
What is Ear Wax?
Ear wax is not a very accurate name because it is not really wax. This thick liquid is called cerumen which is quite sticky. It has a yellowish color and is actually secreted by the sebaceous glands located in the ear canal. Cerumen is made up of keratin, fatty acids, cholesterol, alcohol and shed layers of skin.
The ear naturally sheds this thick ear liquid to protect and clean the outer ear canal.
Why do we make ear wax?
Cerumen, aka ear wax actually lubricates, cleans and protects the lining of the ear canal. Therefore, ear wax acts to protect the ear in the following ways:
- Repelling water
- Trapping dirt
- Preventing insects from harming the ear drum
In addition to physical protection, ear wax is acidic and has antibacterial properties that also protect the ear canal. These properties protect the ear canal from infection of bacteria and fungus.
Ear wax blockage
Over time ear wax may build up and partially block the ear canal. The result can be pain, discomfort, itching and potentially a partial hearing loss. When this progresses and the wax loses its moisture and becomes hard, a wax plug can be formed. These plugs are almost always painful and affect hearing. It can also cause the following problems:
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ear
- Vertigo, or dizziness
- Ear infection
- Hearing aid malfunction
All of these symptoms of ear wax blockage can be treated with over the counter ear wax removal options. However, vertigo is tied to inner ear issues and may require other treatments.
What can you do about ear wax buildup and blockage?
There are several options for treating ear wax buildup. Wiping away excess ear wax around the outside of the ear with a washcloth run under warm water can help. This allows normal ear wax drainage to occur. In addition to Debrox, other over the counter medications and products are also available. See the table below.
|Olive oil||Mineral oil||Almond oil|
|Baby oil||Glycerin||Hydrogen peroxide|
|Murine ear drops||Syringe bulbs||Irrigation kits|
A combination of one of the oils together with Debrox and a syringe bulb or irrigation kit for washing may be the most effective. The foaming action of debrox may allow the oils lubricate the wax more deeply than if used alone. After that the process of washing with a syringe or irrigation device has a higher chance of success.
Before using Debrox
There are certain scenarios when you should not try to treat ear wax problems on your own. Those include when you have a ruptured ear drum or an ear infection. Here are some symptoms that could help you decide you need to see a doctor.
- Recent injury
- Warmth around the ear, possibly with a fever
- Ear Swelling
- Drainage from the ear
- Any bleeding from the ear
How to use Debrox Drops
Patient reviews of Debrox can range from great product all the way to it did nothing for them. In many cases the technique used to administer the drops may have a lot to do with success or failure. Placing drops in your own ear can be difficult, therefore having another person help can be a great idea.
1. Make sure you have ample time to complete the process and will not have to drive or complete a task requiring alertness, in case you become dizzy.
2. About 5 minutes before using Debrox, hold the bottle in your hand to warm it to body temperature. This will reduce the likelihood of dizziness.
3. Wash your hands and have any assistant wash hands also.
4. Lie down or sit down and tilt your head with ear facing upward.
5. Pull back on the ear to open up the ear canal. If giving this to a child then pull down and back on the earlobe.
6. Turn the bottle so the dropper is facing the ear canal, but make sure not to touch the dropper to the ear.
7. Administer 5 to 10 drops into the ear. This range confuses many people. I typically recommend starting with 5 and if dizziness or ear pain or pressure seems high then stick with 5. Also, take into consideration your body size, bigger people can have larger ear canals and more drops could further loosen ear wax.
8. Repeat this process twice a day. You may not get any ear wax removed with just one or two attempts.
Note: Some people will notice a fizzing or bubbling sound in the ear. This is the oxygen release and subsequent foaming that Debrox creates. When first starting many will not hear this because ear wax is hindering their ability to hear things normally.
How long should you leave Debox in your ear?
The Debrox instructions are a little unclear about how long you should leave the drops in your ears. They suggest several minutes.
The best practice is to leave your head tilted in the position that you applied the drops in for 2 to 5 minutes.
Some people who have dealt with ear wax problems for years may choose to leave Debrox in the ear for longer periods. There are cases where leaving the product in longer makes sense. Your doctor may also tell you to place a soft cotton plug in the ear to allow you to move about so the fluid will not come out.
This should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist!
Can I leave Debrox ear drops in overnight?
The short answer is that most people should NOT leave Debrox in the ear overnight. Tilting the head to allow the Debrox to drain out of the ear prior to bed is the best practice. Keep in mind that some Debrox will remain in the ear within the wax and that is perfectly fine.
Many patients do have drainage of ear wax out of the ear while sleeping. This is a very natural way for Debrox to help you remove ear wax. Just be prepared to have drainage on your pillow so prepare by having extra pillowcases!
Do you have to flush ears after Debrox?
Debrox may take several treatments before the wax is softened enough for it to come out of the ear. Therefore, flushing the ear is probably not advised after just one or two doses.
However, if there is wax remaining after treatment then rinsing the ear with warm water may help to flush it out.
Debrox is sold alone and as a kit. The kit contains a bulb ear syringe that can be used to flush the ear. See the difference in the two products below.
How do you flush and unclog your ears after using Debox?
- Fill the ear syringe with warm water that is close to body temperature.
- Tilt head and place it over the sink.
- Pull on the back of the ear to open the ear canal like was done when instilling the Debrox drops.
- Do not place the syringe in the ear.
- Squeeze the round part of the syringe slowly to release the water.
- Turn head so the ear that was flushed faces downward and allow the water to drain out.
Wash the syringe out with water only and allow it to dry. Do not use cleaning agents or soap to clean it.
Lets face it, putting drops in your ears is not the most pleasant thing ever.
However, don’t expect the ear wax to fall out right away after the first time applying drops. It takes time to soften and moisten hard ear wax so it can drain naturally or be flushed out of your ears.
If using Debrox without consulting a doctor then do not use for more four days. However, if your doctor is aware and says it is appropriate then it is common to use for up to two weeks.
Things you should NOT do with Debrox
Don’t try to use a cotton swab, q-tip or other blunt item to try and remove ear wax manually!
Inserting things into the ear canal can damage tissues or the ear drum. Consequently, this could also worsen an ear wax blockage by pushing the wax further inside the ear.
How to save money on Debrox
It is important to remember that Debrox is a brand name product, that contains 6.5% carbamide peroxide. There are generic versions of Debrox available and those tend to be less costly than than brand version.
On Amazon.com Debrox drops cost $5.60 and a kit containing Debrox along with a ear syringe costs $17.45.
If you want to use the brand name product the manufacturer offers a coupon for $2.00 off.
Major retail store chains offer generic versions of over the counter drugs. Carbamide peroxide is an example of this. See the prices of store brands below which offer almost a 50% savings on kit versions. Also, they have 50% off offers on a second item.
If ear wax is an ongoing problem that may be your best bet.
Click here to get Dr. Jason Reed’s exclusive list of medication questions you MUST ask your doctor, for FREE!
Share your story
Have you tried Debrox? Also, please share if it worked for you? Please chime in below with your comments and thoughts.
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