Post-operative nasal medications are commonly used following routine septal or turbinate surgery but their efficacy in removing blood clots, improving the sensation of a patent airway and promoting healing are unknown. This prospective randomized trial of patients undergoing septal and/or turbinate surgery assessed the efficacy of three commonly used nasal medicines, 0.5 per cent ephedrine hydrochloride nasal drops, betamethasone sodium phosphate (Betnosol®) nose drops and alkaline nasal douches, in producing the sensation of a patent airway in the 14 days following surgery. Ninety-seven patients were randomized into the three treatment groups and a control group who received no nasal medication. Patients assessed their nasal patency by means of a visual analogue scale (VAS) and any complications of treatment were recorded. Statistical analysis of the 76 complete sets of results using the Mann-Whitney U-test showed that there was a significant difference in the distribution of all of the treatments for each of the time intervals (p<0.05). Glass rank biserial correlation coefficients were all small (rg<0.085) but the most significant differences were between ephedrine and the control group at two hours, two, seven and 10 days (0.02, 0.054, 0.057, 0.085 respectively), alkaline nasal douches being most significant at four and 14 days (0.06 and 0.0722 respectively).