A nasal corticosteroid spray is a treatment prescribed by your doctor. The medicine in the spray is placed directly in the nose to help reduce symptoms and make breathing through the nose easier.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays help to reduce swelling and mucus in the nasal passageway and relieve other bothersome nasal symptoms. The sprays work well:
Nasal corticosteroid sprays are different from the sprays you can buy at the store without a prescription. They work best when used every day without stopping. Your doctor will recommend a daily schedule of sprays for each nostril.
It may take two weeks or more for your symptoms to improve the most. Be patient. Relieving the symptoms can help you or your child to feel and sleep better and have fewer symptoms during the day.
You may also use them on an as-needed basis only, or as-needed along with regular use. Regular use, however, will typically give you better benefit.
Starting nasal corticosteroids at the beginning of a pollen season will give you the best results in decreasing symptoms during that season.
Several brands of nasal corticosteroids are available, such as Flonase or Nasonex. They all have very similar effects.
Make sure you understand your dosing instructions. Make sure you apply only the prescribed number of sprays in each nostril. You may be asked to use the spray 1 - 2 times per day.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays are considered safe for all adults. Specific types are safe for children (over age 2). Pregnant women can safely use nasal corticosteroids.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays generally affect only the nasal passageway, where the medicine is deposited, and do not impact other parts of the body. They carry a low risk for widespread side effects unless the drug is used too much.
Side effects of nasal steroids may include:
Make sure you, or your child, take the corticosteroid spray exactly as prescribed. This is the best way to avoid side effects. If you, or your child, use the spray regularly, see a doctor periodically for examination of the nasal passages to make sure problems are not developing
Steroid nasal sprays
Sur DK, Scandale S. Treatment of allergic rhinitis. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Jun 15;81(12):1440-6.
Wallace DV, Dykewicz MS, Bernstein DI, Blessing-Moore J, Cox L, Khan DA, et al. The diagnosis and management of rhinitis: an updated practice parameter. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Aug;122(2 Suppl):S1-84.
Bahls C. In the clinic. Allergic rhinitis. Ann Intern Med. 2007 Apr 3;146(7):ITC4-1-ITC4-16.
American Family Physician. Nasal sprays: how to use them correctly. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/allergies/treatment/104.html.
Updated by: Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2014, A.D.A.M., Inc. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized in writing by ADAM Health Solutions.