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Flunisolide (Nasal)

Medically reviewed on Nov 15, 2018


(floo NISS oh lide)

Dosage Forms

Excipient information presented when available (limited, particularly for generics); consult specific product labeling.

Solution, Nasal:

Generic: 25 mcg/actuation (0.025%) (25 mL)

Pharmacologic Category

  • Corticosteroid, Nasal


Decreases inflammation by suppression of migration of polymorphonuclear leukocytes and reversal of increased capillary permeability; does not depress hypothalamus



Use: Labeled Indications

Rhinitis: Management of the nasal symptoms associated with seasonal or perennial rhinitis

Off Label Uses

Acute bacterial rhinosinusitis, adjunct to antibiotics (empiric treatment)

Based on the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) guidelines for acute bacterial rhinosinusitis (ABRS) in children and adults and the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNS) guidelines for adult sinusitis, flunisolide (nasal), among other intranasal corticosteroids, is effective and recommended as an adjunctive treatment to antibiotic therapy for the management of ABRS, primarily when a history of allergic rhinitis exists (according to IDSA guidelines).

Chronic rhinosinusitis

Based on the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) guidelines for adult sinusitis, flunisolide (nasal), among other intranasal corticosteroids, is effective and recommended (with or without nasal saline irrigation) for the symptomatic relief of chronic rhinosinusitis. Data from a multicenter, double-blind, randomized study supports the use of intranasal flunisolide as adjunct therapy to oral anitbiotics in patients with chronic rhinosinusitis [Meltzer 1993].

Non-allergic rhinitis

Data from a single blinded, randomized and controlled study conducted over 8 weeks supports the use of flunisolide in the treatment of adults with non-allergic rhinitis. Additional trials may be necessary to further define the role of drug flunisolide in this condition [Varricchio 2011].

Symptomatic relief of viral rhinosinusitis

Based on the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) guidelines for adult sinusitis topical intranasal steroids (including flunisolide), analgesics and/or nasal saline irrigation may be recommended for symptomatic relief of viral rhinosinusitis [Rosenfeld 2015].


Hypersensitivity to flunisolide or any component of the formulation

Documentation of allergenic cross-reactivity for intranasal steroids is limited; however, because of similarities in chemical structure and/or pharmacologic actions, the possibility of cross-sensitivity cannot be ruled out with certainty.

Canadian labeling: Additional contraindications (not in US labeling): Active or quiescent tuberculosis; untreated fungal, bacterial, or viral infections; children <6 years

Dosing: Adult

Rhinitis (seasonal/perennial): Intranasal: Two sprays (50 mcg) in each nostril twice daily (total daily dose: 200 mcg/day); may increase to 2 sprays in each nostril 3 times daily (total daily dose: 300 mcg/day); maximum dose: 8 sprays/day in each nostril (total daily dose: 400 mcg/day)

Dosing: Geriatric

Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Pediatric

Rhinitis (seasonal/perennial): Intranasal:

Children and Adolescents 6 to 14 years: One spray (25 mcg) in each nostril 3 times daily or 2 sprays (50 mcg) in each nostril twice daily; not to exceed 4 sprays/day in each nostril (total daily dose: 200 mcg/day)

Adolescents ≥15 years: Refer to adult dosing.

Dosing: Renal Impairment

There are no dosage adjustment provided in manufacturer's labeling.

Dosing: Hepatic Impairment

There are no dosage adjustment provided in manufacturer's labeling.


Before first use, prime by pressing pump 5-6 times or until a fine spray appears. Repeat priming if ≥5 days between use, or if dissembled for cleaning. Administer at regular intervals. Blow nose to clear nostrils. Insert applicator into nostril, keeping bottle upright, and close off the other nostril. Breathe in through nose. While inhaling, press pump to release spray.


Store at 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).

Drug Interactions

Ceritinib: Corticosteroids may enhance the hyperglycemic effect of Ceritinib. Monitor therapy

Desmopressin: Corticosteroids (Nasal) may enhance the hyponatremic effect of Desmopressin. Avoid combination

Ritodrine: Corticosteroids may enhance the adverse/toxic effect of Ritodrine. Monitor therapy

Adverse Reactions

Frequency not always defined.


Dermatologic: Burning sensation of the nose (≤13%)

Respiratory: Nasal congestion (15%), stinging sensation of the nose (≤13%)

1% to 10%:

Central nervous system: Anosmia

Respiratory: Dry nose, nasal mucosa irritation, rhinitis, sneezing

<1%, postmarketing, and/or case reports: Nasal mucosa ulcer


Concerns related to adverse effects:

• Delayed wound healing: Avoid nasal corticosteroid use in patients with recent nasal septal ulcers, nasal surgery or nasal trauma until healing has occurred.

Special populations:

• Pediatric: Avoid using higher than recommended dosages; suppression of linear growth (ie, reduction of growth velocity), reduced bone mineral density, or hypercortisolism (Cushing's syndrome) may occur; titrate to lowest effective dose. Reduction in growth velocity may occur when corticosteroids are administered to pediatric patients, even at recommended doses via intranasal route (monitor growth).

Pregnancy Risk Factor


Pregnancy Considerations

Adverse effects were observed in some animal reproduction studies. Intranasal corticosteroids are recommended for the treatment of rhinitis during pregnancy; the lowest effective dose should be used (NAEPP, 2005; Wallace, 2008).

Patient Education

• Discuss specific use of drug and side effects with patient as it relates to treatment. (HCAHPS: During this hospital stay, were you given any medicine that you had not taken before? Before giving you any new medicine, how often did hospital staff tell you what the medicine was for? How often did hospital staff describe possible side effects in a way you could understand?)

• Patient may experience burning or stinging. Have patient report immediately to prescriber rhinitis, severe nosebleeds, nasal sores, whistling sound when breathing, thrush, sneezing, chills, or pharyngitis (HCAHPS).

• Educate patient about signs of a significant reaction (eg, wheezing; chest tightness; fever; itching; bad cough; blue skin color; seizures; or swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat). Note: This is not a comprehensive list of all side effects. Patient should consult prescriber for additional questions.

Intended Use and Disclaimer: Should not be printed and given to patients. This information is intended to serve as a concise initial reference for health care professionals to use when discussing medications with a patient. You must ultimately rely on your own discretion, experience, and judgment in diagnosing, treating, and advising patients.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.