Should I Use Flonase or Nasacort For Allergy Symptoms?
Spring is the most common time of the year for people to experience seasonal allergy symptoms. As the weather gets warmer and plants start to bloom, trees and grasses release pollen into the air, triggering allergic symptoms in those with seasonal allergies. These symptoms are called hay fever, or allergic rhinitis.Allergic rhinitis is a very common problem, affecting up to 30 percent of the population. This condition causes inflammation and irritation of the nasal passages and includes symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itching of the nose, and postnasal drip. There are a number of different treatments for allergic rhinitis, including both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications.
Nasal Steroid Sprays for the Treatment of Allergies
In February 2015, Flonase (fluticasone) nasal spray became available OTC. Flonase is the second intranasal corticosteroid nasal (INS) spray to be sold OTC without being prescribed by a healthcare professional—the first being Nasacort Allergy 24HR, which has been available OTC since March 2014.
Most studies show that nasal steroids are the single most effective medicine available for the treatment of nasal allergies. In fact, many studies show that nasal steroids are better at treating allergy symptoms than oral antihistamines, nasal antihistamine sprays or Singulair (montelukast). Nasal steroids are also particularly good at treating symptoms of eye allergies.
Is There an Advantage to Using Either Flonase or Nasacort?
Studies comparing the efficacy of the different nasal steroids show no particular differences from one to another, although there are certain subtleties between the nasal steroids that may result in a person choosing one over another. It is certainly possible that a person finds that one of these nasal steroids works better or causes fewer side effects than another. There may be some advantages and disadvantages of using Flonase or Nasacort:
Advantages: Approved for the treatment of eye allergy symptoms in addition to nasal allergy symptoms.Disadvantages: Flowery smell bothers some people, contains an alcohol preservative that may cause irritation in some people.
While the word “steroid” may sound alarming, don’t worry: Nasal steroids are different from those used in bodybuilding. However, it is important for anyone taking these medications to be aware of them.Nasal steroids may have a small effect on a child’s vertical growth, although studies seem to show mixed results on this subject. If nasal steroids do in fact affect a child’s growth, it is likely that this effect is very small and only transient, meaning that the child would still likely attain their original expected adult height.There does seem to be some increased risk of cataracts and glaucoma in people who are using nasal steroids, particularly in those people with a family history of these diseases, or who are otherwise prone to these diseases. It is recommended that these people undergo routine annual eye exams by a qualified optometrist or ophthalmologist.