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Nasacort vs. Flonase: Which is Right For You?

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Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from allergies each year? Your symptoms of stuffy nose, runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes could be seasonal (for example, in the spring due to pollen) or perennial (occurring throughout the year). 

Different medications can help relieve symptoms, including oral antihistamines and nasal sprays. But with so many medications for allergy symptoms on the market, it can be challenging to choose the best one. Two popular nasal sprays, Flonase® and Nasacort®, are effective treatments for sneezing, runny nose, and other allergy symptoms. Continue reading to learn how Nasacort and Flonase work while comparing and contrasting their similarities and differences.

What is Nasacort?

Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour® is a corticosteroid nasal spray for allergy relief. It delivers 55 mcg of triamcinolone acetonide, a glucocorticoid, per spray and is used to treat hay fever, allergic rhinitis, and upper respiratory allergies in adults and children. Compared to antihistamine oral tablets for allergy symptoms, Nasacort spray contains steroids that reduce local swelling of the nasal passages, leading to relief of nasal congestion, sneezing, runny and itchy nose without the systemic side effects of oral antihistamines such as drowsiness, dry mouth, dry eyes, and blurred vision. 

Nasacort is available over-the-counter (OTC) and is meant for short-term use. If your symptoms are not resolved within 7 days, please consult with your doctor regarding alternative treatments.

The active ingredient in Nasacort Allergy is triamcinolone acetonide, which is also the generic name of this nasal spray. Nasacort is available in both generic and brand name forms. The generic version of this drug contains the same active ingredient and the amount of active ingredient per spray, but usually costs less than the brand name.

What is Flonase?

Flonase is also a corticosteroid nasal spray for allergy relief. Flonase Allergy Relief® delivers a 50 mcg dose per spray and is used to treat nasal allergy and itchy watery eyes in adults and children. The active ingredient in Flonase is fluticasone propionate.

Flonase comes in both generic and brand forms. It is available over-the-counter (OTC) as well as a prescription medication. The generic product of Flonase is fluticasone propionate nasal spray. Prescription Flonase may be covered by your drug insurance plan. OTC medications are usually not covered by insurance. However, you may be able to get an OTC Flonase spray for a discounted price using a coupon with a prescription from your doctor.

Please note that brand-name prescription Flonase has been discontinued in the US, but you can still get the generic prescription or purchase Flonase (fluticasone) over-the-counter. The over-the-counter product would not be covered by insurance.

Are Flonase and Nasacort the same?

Nasacort and Flonase are very similar in that they are both steroid nasal sprays used to treat allergy symptoms. However, their active ingredients make them different. Each contains a different nasal steroid—Flonase Allergy Relief contains fluticasone propionate and Nasacort Allergy contains triamcinolone acetonide. Nonetheless, there are several similarities between Flonase and Nasacort. 

Side Effects

Flonase and Nasacort both cause similar side effects. Common side effects of Nasacort and Flonase include headache, cough, sore throat, and burning or irritation in the nose. 

More serious side effects may include nose bleeds, puncture of the nasal septum, glaucoma, cataracts, problems with wound healing, severe allergic reaction, and worsening of infections. 

Many of these potential side effects of Flonase and Nasacort are related to the fact that both contain steroids, which dampen the activities of the immune system to fight infection. For this reason, whether you use Flonase or Nasacort, be sure to follow the directions on the label carefully to reduce your risk of serious side effects. It is important to not use these products beyond the recommended duration of therapy.

Medical Conditions

Another similarity between Flonase and Nasacort is that they are to be used with caution or even being considered contraindicated for people with certain medical conditions such as a history of nose injury or surgery, glaucoma, cataracts, eye infections, being immunocompromised, untreated viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, and liver problems. 

If you have any of these conditions, avoid using over-the-counter Flonase or Nasacort nasal spray for seasonal allergies. Please speak to a doctor first to make sure it is safe for you. 

What’s the difference between Nasacort and Flonase?

As noted, a key difference between Flonase and Nasacort nasal spray is that they contain different active ingredients—fluticasone propionate vs. triamcinolone acetonide, respectively. Other differences between Nasacort and Flonase include:

Drug Interactions

A drug interaction is an event in which a substance (usually another drug) affects how a medication works. Not much is known about the drug interactions of Nasacort. However, Flonase may interact with antiviral drugs used to treat HIV. For this reason, it is important to always get medical advice before starting an OTC medication for seasonal allergies. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are currently taking, including prescription drugs, OTC medications, and herbal supplements.

Nasal and Eye Symptoms

Both Flonase and Nasacort are effective against nasal symptoms such as runny nose and sneezing. However, Flonase may also be effective in relieving eye symptoms such as watery eyes and itchy eyes.

Usage in Children

Another difference between Flonase vs. Nasacort is that Nasacort can be used in children aged 2 and above for nasal allergy symptoms. Flonase is only indicated in children aged 4 and above for hay fever, allergic rhinitis, and nasal allergy.

Side Effects

Many of the common side effects of Nasacort and Flonase nasal sprays are similar. However,  Nasacort may cause a pins and needles sensation in the hands and feet. 

Duration of Use

Adults can use OTC Flonase daily for up to 6 months and children can use it for up to 2 months before checking with a doctor. On the other hand, Nasacort should be used for 1 week, and if your symptoms persist after this, you should seek medical advice from a healthcare provider.

Is it safe to use Nasacort and Flonase every day?

Yes, it is safe to use Nasacort and Flonase every day. However, be sure to read the label instructions, be aware of the warnings, and follow the dosing recommendations carefully. 

It can take a few days to achieve the full benefits of the medicine. Therefore, continue using the nasal spray even if you don’t notice a drastic difference in your allergy symptoms at the beginning of therapy. It is recommended to start with 2 sprays in each nostril every day and reduce to 1 spray per nostril when your symptoms improve. 

Why is Nasacort or Flonase bad for you?

Both Flonase and Nasacort are safe and effective treatments for allergy relief provided you use them as directed. However, like all medications, they can cause side effects. If you experience severe or worsening side effects, anaphylactic reactions, or your nasal allergy symptoms do not improve with continuous use, consult your doctor for medical advice. 

Which is better, Flonase or Nasacort?

Data shows that both Nasacort and Flonase are equally effective treatments for allergic rhinitis. Both products contain steroids that alleviate local allergy symptoms. They are both well-tolerated with similar side effect profiles. It may come down to pricing and personal choice based on your experience with each drug.

Can you take Nasacort and Flonase together?

Despite their differences, both Nasacort and Flonase are steroid nasal sprays. Therefore, it is recommended that you use only one of these medications at any given time. 

Flonase vs. Nasacort: Which one should I use?

It is best to consult your primary care physician or pharmacist to decide between Flonase vs. Nasacort for the treatment of seasonal allergies, hay fever, or allergic rhinitis.

In addition to considering your personal input, your healthcare provider will thoroughly evaluate which of these medications is the best option for you, depending on your health history and medication profile. By doing so, the risks of drug interactions and disease exacerbation are greatly reduced.

References:

1. https://www.emedicinehealth.com/drug-triamcinolone_nasal/article_em.htm

2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9389286/

4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6561676/

5. https://www.nasacort.com/allergy-nasal-spray-nasacort-faqs/

6. https://www.flonase.com/allergies/flonase-vs-nasacort/

7. https://www.flonase.com/products/flonase-allergy-relief/faqs/