Corticosteroids - Nasal

Nasal corticosteroid sprays are used to treat the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, including sneezing, runny nose and congestion. Some may also be prescribed to relieve the symptoms of sinusitis and non-allergic (perennial) rhinitis, or to prevent nasal polyps from growing back after they have been removed by surgery.

The active ingredients of these medications are categorized as corticosteroids similar to the ingredients found in some inhaled asthma medications. When sprayed into the nose, they reduce inflammation and histamine production in the nasal passages. This leads to a reduction in nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, headaches and other symptoms.

There are several brands of nasal corticosteroids available. All of them are available by prescription only. Brands include the following:

  • budenoside(Rhinocort®)
  • ciclesonide (Omnaris®)
  • flunisolide (Nasalide®, generic)
  • fluticasone (Flonase®, Veramyst®)
  • mometasone (Nasonex®)
  • triamcinalone (Nasacort AQ®)

Nasal corticosteroids start taking effect immediately, but the full benefit may not be experienced until after several weeks of consistent use.

Your doctor may recommend that you start using your corticosteroid nasal spray a few weeks before your allergy season starts or regularly if you have year-round allergy symptoms.

Nasal corticosteroid sprays can cause side effects, incuding headaches, nausea and nose bleeds.

Using a nasal spray

Be sure your nasal passages are open enough to let the medicine get inside your nose before spraying the medication. If you are severely congested, you may first need to use a nasal wash or decongestant for a few days to clear out your nose before you spray.

When using a nasal spray, insert the nozzle into your nostril and aim the spray toward the outer wall of the nose. Pointing it toward the middle of the nose, the  nasal septum, can lead to irritation and nose bleeds.

Where can I learn more about nasal corticosteroids?

Nasal Corticosteroid Sprays

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Last updated: 5/13/2022