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Flonase vs Nasacort: What is the difference?

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 23, 2023.

Both Flonase and Nasacort are available over-the-counter without a doctor's prescription. Which one is better?

Official answer


Nasacort and Flonase are equally effective, safe, and well tolerated for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

Therefore the choice of either Nasacort or Flonase comes down to personal preference, availability or price.

Flonase and Nasacort are both corticosteroid nasal sprays that are effective at treating hay fever, perennial allergic rhinitis and allergies. Flonase contains fluticasone and Nasacort contains triamcinolone; these are both glucocorticoid corticosteroids that help to relieve congestion, sneezing, postnasal drip, and other allergy symptoms, including eye symptoms. Both are also available over-the-counter, at the same strength as their prescription counterparts. Both provide 24-hour relief that is free from drowsiness. Regardless of which one you use it will take several hours before you feel any effects from the spray, and several days of regular use before the full effect is seen. This is why experts recommend you use a corticosteroid nasal spray from the start of the allergy season until the end, not just when you get a flare up of symptoms, in order to get the best results.

Multiple trials have shown that both triamcinolone (Nasacort) and fluticasone (Flonase) nasal sprays are equally effective, safe, and well tolerated for the treatment of allergic rhinitis.

Side effects caused by Nasacort and Flonase are similar and include headache; stinging, burning or bleeding in the nose; sore throat and watery eyes. Neither Nasacort nor Flonase should be used for longer than two months in children without medical supervision as their growth rate may be slowed.

Nasacort Allergy 24 hour Nasal Spray has one strength, 0.055mg triamcinolone per spray and can be used by adults and children over the age of two. It is also scent-free and alcohol-free.

Flonase Allergy Relief delivers 0.05mg (50 microgram) fluticasone per spray. Children's Flonase Allergy relief also delivers 0.05mg (50 microgram) fluticasone per spray - the same dose, but there are less sprays per bottle so it is less expensive. Neither the Flonase Allergy Relief nor the Children's Flonase Allergy relief should be used in children under the age of four. However, Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief which delivers 0.0275mg (27.5microgram) fluticasone per spray may be used in children aged two to four.

See also:

  1. Should I use Flonase or Nasacort for my allergies? Consumer Reports.
  2. Nasacort Nasal Inhaler (triamcinolone acetonide) Revised 09/2007 Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc
  3. Flonase Nasal Spray (fluticasone propionate) Revised 10/2011 GlaxoSmithKline LLC
  4. Nasacort vs Flonase. Nasacort.
  5. Kids Flonase.
  6. Gross G, Jacobs RL, Woodworth TH, et al. Comparative efficacy, safety, and effect on quality of life of triamcinolone acetonide and fluticasone propionate aqueous nasal sprays in patients with fall seasonal allergic rhinitis. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002 Jul;89(1):56-62.
  7. Small P, Houle PA, Day JH, et al. A comparison of triamcinolone acetonide nasal aerosol spray and fluticasone propionate aqueous solution spray in the treatment of spring allergic rhinitis.J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1997 Nov;100(5):592-5.
  8. Berger WE, Kaiser H, Gawchik SM, et al. Triamcinolone acetonide aqueous nasal spray and fluticasone propionate are equally effective for relief of nasal symptoms in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis.Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Jul;129(1):16-23.
  9. Kaiser HB, Liao Y, Diener P, et al. Triamcinolone acetonide and fluticasone propionate nasal sprays provide comparable relief of seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms regardless of disease severity. Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Nov-Dec;25(6):423-8.

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