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Fluticasone nasal: 7 things you should know

Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Aug 17, 2022.

1. How it works

  • Fluticasone nasal spray may be used to treat symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
  • Fluticasone is thought to work by controlling the release of prostaglandins and other substances that promote inflammation. Fluticasone reduces inflammation and relieves itching. It can also help constrict (narrow) blood vessels, relieving congestion.
  • Fluticasone nasal spray belongs to the group of medicines known as corticosteroids.

2. Upsides

  • Fluticasone nasal spray relieves nasal symptoms such as a runny, stuffy nose, sneezing, and nasal itching.
  • May be used to treat conditions such as seasonal or year-round allergic rhinitis and other allergies that cause predominantly nasal symptoms.
  • There are two brands of fluticasone nasal spray, Flonase, and Veramyst. Flonase is suitable for adults and children aged four years and older and Veramyst is suitable for adults and children aged two years and older.
  • Fluticasone has a strong affinity for the glucocorticoid receptor. This means it is less likely to cause salt and water retention and therefore less likely to cause high blood pressure, low potassium levels, or high sodium levels.
  • May be used long-term or short-term.
  • Nasal dosage form means that it acts quickly and directly at the site of symptoms.
  • Generic fluticasone nasal spray is available.

3. Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • Nosebleeds, nasal ulceration, headache, sore throat, nausea, cough and nasal burning or itching.
  • Rarely, nasal perforation may occur. Use of fluticasone nasal spray may lower your immunity, increasing your risk of developing an infection and delaying wound healing.
  • Glaucoma and cataracts have been associated with nasal corticosteroid use. Avoid spraying fluticasone near the eyes.
  • Using corticosteroids may make you more susceptible to viral infections such as chickenpox or measles or other types of infection.
  • Long-term, continued use of fluticasone nasal spray may reduce a child's growth rate.
  • May not be suitable for some people including those with a compromised immune system, with certain eye problems, with certain allergies, with an active infection, taking ritonavir, or with certain other conditions.

Note: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. View complete list of side effects

4. Bottom Line

  • Fluticasone nasal spray reduces inflammation and nasal symptoms associated with rhinitis; however, it may take up to three days for the full effects to be seen. Nosebleeds are a common side effect.

5. Tips

  • Dosage may be given either once or twice daily.
  • Maximum dosage should not exceed two sprays per nostril daily.
  • The effectiveness of fluticasone nasal spray against the symptoms of allergic rhinitis depends on regular use.
  • Shake fluticasone nasal spray well before using. Prime before first use (shake well and release 6 sprays into the air away from the face).
  • May take several days to reach its full effect when used for allergic rhinitis symptoms. Consider using a decongestant nasal spray initially (for a maximum of three days use) or taking an antihistamine until fluticasone exerts its effect.
  • If no response is seen after several days use, contact your doctor. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.
  • Do not spray fluticasone nasal spray near your eyes or in your mouth.
  • See your doctor if you notice a change in your vision, or experience a rash or an allergic-type reaction while using fluticasone nasal spray.
  • Do not use fluticasone nasal spray if you have recently had nasal surgery or nasal trauma or if you have a current infection unless your doctor has advised you to do so.

6. Response and effectiveness

  • Although fluticasone nasal spray is rapidly absorbed through the nasal tissues, it does not have an immediate effect on rhinitis symptoms. Fluticasone nasal spray may take several days to reach its full effect.

7. Interactions

Medicines that interact with fluticasone nasal spray may either decrease its effect, affect how long it works for, increase side effects, or have less of an effect when taken with fluticasone nasal spray. An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of the medications; however, sometimes it does. Speak to your doctor about how drug interactions should be managed.

Common medications that may interact with fluticasone nasal spray include:

  • clarithromycin
  • CYP3A4 inhibitors, such as clarithromycin, erythromycin, diltiazem, itraconazole, ketoconazole, ritonavir, verapamil, goldenseal or grapefruit
  • desmopressin
  • esketamine
  • HIV medications such as amprenavir or atazanavir
  • medications used to treat hepatitis such as boceprevir
  • nefazodone
  • ritodrine.

Note that this list is not all-inclusive and includes only common medications that may interact with fluticasone nasal spray. You should refer to the prescribing information for fluticasone nasal spray for a complete list of interactions.


Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use fluticasone nasal only for the indication prescribed.

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

Copyright 1996-2023 Revision date: August 17, 2022.