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Flonase: Avoid These Top 9 Mistakes

Medically reviewed on Aug 28, 2017 by L. Anderson, PharmD

I'll Just Use Flonase When My Allergies Flare Up

That's not wise. It may take 3 to 4 days of regular use of Flonase Allergy to feel the full effect during allergy season. Refer to the OTC Drug Facts Labeling for dosing.

Flonase Allergy

  • Adults/Children 12 years and older - Week One: Use 2 sprays in each nostril once per day. After Week One: Reduce your dose to 1 to 2 sprays per nostril every day; use the lowest effective dose.
  • In children 4 to 11 years, use 1 spray in each nostril once daily.
  • After 6 months of daily use – check with your doctor for continued use.

Flonase Sensimist (fluticasone furoate) Allergy Relief

  • Now available OTC; previously prescription Veramyst. Approved for seasonal/year-round allergies.
  • Given as 2 sprays in each nostril once daily in adults and children 12 years and older.
  • Give as 1 spray in each nostril once daily in children 2 to 11 years.

I'll Give My Child the Same Dose That I Use

Wrong. Kids are not just small adults. There is now a formulation for kids 4 years and older called Children's Flonase Allergy Relief. It comes in the same strength as the adult formulation (50 mcg per spray) but in a smaller size (only 60 sprays instead of 120) -- so it's less expensive, too. The dose for children 4 years and older is 1 spray in each nostril once daily. If you have the larger bottle, you can use it, just be sure to only give the child's dose.

The growth rate of some children may be slowed, so they should use Flonase Allergy for the shortest amount of time possible to control symptoms. If your child needs Flonase Allergy for longer than two months per year, see your pediatrician for advice.

If your child is 2 to 4 years of age, they can use Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief instead. The dose is 1 spray (27.5 mcg/spray) in each nostril once a day.

I'll Need to Buy A Special Allergy Eye Drop

Most likely not. Flonase can handle your itchy, red, watery eyes in addition to your runny nose.

Allergic rhinitis symptoms that can be reduced include sneezing, nasal congestion (stuffy nose), runny nose, itchy nose and eyes, and watery eyes. However, the Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief product is used for itchy, watery eyes only for individuals 12 years of age and older. It has not been studied for this use in younger patients.

Most antihistamines only block histamine, but Flonase blocks histamine, plus 5 other inflammatory mediators, like cytokines and leukotrienes. If you need to continue the medicine year-round, just be sure to check with doctor.

Prescription Flonase is Stronger So I'll Use It Instead

Wrong! Over-the-counter Flonase Allergy Relief is exactly the same as prescription Flonase -- it’s the same medicine, fluticasone propionate, at the same strength and dose. OTC Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief (fluticasone furoate) is the same strength and medicine as prescription Veramyst.

What might change is the amount of money you pay for your medicine. Since Flonase is now available over-the-counter (OTC) as Flonase Allergy, insurance plans may not pay for the prescription brand name product, and your costs could be significantly higher than the OTC Flonase. However, if your insurance WILL pay for the prescription generic fluticasone propionate (Flonase Allergy), you might be able to pay even less for the generic than the OTC, but you'll need to see a doctor to get a prescription.

Since Flonase is a Nasal Spray, I Don't Have to Be Worried About Drug Interactions

For most medications, this is true. However, there are still are some drug interactions that could raise the levels of nasal fluticasone in your body and lead to side effects.

You should talk to your pharmacist or doctor about the possibility of drug interactions before using any drugs with Flonase, including:

  • Certain HIV medications, such as ritonavir, atazanavir
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
  • Certain azole antifungals like ketoconazole used for fungal infections

I'll Keep Taking My Antihistamine For Added Effect

You usually don't need to keep taking an oral allergy pill if you are using Flonase Allergy at the right dose. Intranasal glucocorticoids are very effective as a single treatment and cause few side effects at the recommended doses. Nose bleeds and coughing are the most common side effects.

Intranasal steroids usually work better than oral antihistamines (such as Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra) for nasal congestion, sneezing and post-nasal drip because they address many of the inflammatory molecules in the body that lead to allergies, not just histamine. Plus, antihistamines like Benadryl and Zyrtec may cause drowsiness and make driving dangerous.

Learn More: How to Fight Fall Allergies

Flonase Allergy is OTC So I Can't Use My Flex Account

You may be able to purchase Flonase Allergy using your healthcare flexible spending account, if you have one. Flonase Allergy averages about $20-25 per bottle for 120 spray size, and about $15 for the 60 spray size at most pharmacies.

The catch is that you probably need to call your doctor to get a prescription written for OTC Flonase Allergy or Flonase Sensimist, and then have the pharmacist process it like a regular prescription. The rules are dependent upon your plan, so check with your insurance carrier about using your flex account for OTCs medications written on a prescription by your doctor.

I'll Need to Keep Fido Outside

No need to keep your best friend out in the backyard. A benefit of Flonase is that it works for both indoor and outdoor allergy triggers.

Indoor allergens include cat and dog dander, dust mites, cockroach droppings, mold, and even pollen tracked in from the outside. Outdoor allergens are familiar culprits like pollen from weeds, grass, and trees, as well as outdoor mold spores.

So go ahead, keep your four-legged friend close-by in all seasons and year-round.

Allergy News Never Changes

This couldn't be further from the truth. Allergy medicines are one of the top prescription (RX) -to-OTC switches made in the US. Just think of the antihistamines and nasal steroids that are now available without a prescription: Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra. Plus, in addition to Flonase Allergy Relief and Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief, there is now over-the-counter Nasacort (triamcinolone) Allergy 24HR Spray.

But how do you keep up with all the changes and products? Consider joining the Drugs.com Allergies Support Group to ask questions, voice concerns, and stay abreast of the latest allergy-related news and drug approvals.

Finished: Flonase: Avoid These Top 9 Mistakes

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Sources

  • Flonase. GSK Consumer Healthcare. Product Labeling. 2017. Accessed August 28, 2017 at https://www.flonase.com/about/drug-facts/
  • FDA Approves Flonase Sensimist. Drugs.com. August 2, 2016. Accessed August 28, 2017 at https://www.drugs.com/newdrugs/fda-approves-flonase-sensimist-allergy-relief-4418.html
  • Veramyst. GlaxoSmithkline. Product Labeling. Accessed August 28, 2017 at https://www.drugs.com/veramyst.html
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