Introduction

Flonase and Nasonex are allergy medications that belong to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. They can reduce inflammation caused by allergies.

Read on to learn about how Flonase and Nasonex are alike and different.

Drug features

Both Flonase and Nasonex are used to treat allergic rhinitis, which is inflammation of the lining of the nose. Symptoms of this condition can include sneezing and a stuffy, runny, or itchy nose. These symptoms can be seasonal (occurring during certain seasons, such as spring) or perennial (occurring throughout the year).

Rhinitis symptoms can also occur without allergies in nonallergic rhinitis, also known as vasomotor rhinitis. Both Flonase and Nasonex can treat nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but Flonase can treat nasal symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis as well.

Flonase can also treat eye symptoms, such as itchy, watery eyes, from both types of rhinitis. Nasonex, on the other hand, can also be used to treat nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are growths that occur on the lining of the nose or sinuses. They’re caused by long-term swelling and irritation from allergies, asthma, or infection.

What it doesFlonaseNasonex
treats nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitisXX
treats eye symptoms of allergic rhinitisX
treats nasal symptoms of nonallergic rhinitisX
prevents symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis X
treats nasal polyps X

The table below compares other key features of Flonase and Nasonex.

Brand nameFlonaseNasonex
Is it available OTC* or as a prescription?OTC** prescription
What’s the generic drug name?fluticasone propionatemometasone furoate
What versions of this drug are available?Flonase Allergy Relief, Flonase Children’s Allergy Relief, Clarispray Nasal Allergy Spray, fluticasone propionate (generic)Nasonex, mometasone furoate monohydrate (generic)
What form does it come in?nasal spraynasal spray
What strengths does it come in?50 mcg per spray50 mcg per spray
What’s the typical length of treatment?up to six months for adults; up to two months for children decided by your doctor
How do I store it?at a temperature between 39°F and 86°F (4°C and 30°C)at room temperature between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C)
*OTC: over the counter
**Brand-name Flonase is available OTC. The generic, fluticasone propionate, is available as both an OTC and prescription drug.

Cost, availability, and insurance

Both Flonase and Nasonex have generic versions. The generic and brand-name versions of these nasal sprays are available in most pharmacies. Generic versions of Flonase and Nasonex contain the same active ingredients as the brand-name versions, but typically cost less. You can compare current prices of these two drugs at GoodRx.com.

Typically, OTC drugs such as Flonase Allergy Relief aren’t covered by prescription drug insurance plans. However, your plan may cover OTC Flonase if your doctor writes you a prescription for it.

Generic prescription drugs such as fluticasone propionate (the generic drug in Flonase) and mometasone furoate (the generic drug in Nasonex) are usually covered by prescription drug insurance plans. These drugs are often covered without prior authorization. However, brand-name prescription medications such as Nasonex may be covered, but could require prior authorization.

Side effects

The side effects of Flonase and Nasonex are very similar. The tables below compare examples of their possible side effects.

Common side effectsFlonaseNasonex
headacheXX
sore throatXX
bloody noseXX
coughXX
viral infection X
burning and irritation in the noseX
nausea and vomitingX
asthma symptomsX
Serious side effectsFlonaseNasonex
puncture of the nasal septum (the flesh between the nostrils)XX
nose bleeds and sores in noseX
decreased wound healingXX
glaucomaXX
cataractsXX
severe allergic reaction* XX
worsening of infections** XX
slowed growth rate in children and adolescentsXX
* with symptoms such as rash, itching, and trouble breathing
** such as tuberculosis, herpes simplex in the eyes, chicken pox, measles, or fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infections

Drug interactions

Flonase may interact with HIV drugs, such as:

Little information is available on drug interactions with Nasonex.

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works, which can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. Before starting Flonase or Nasonex, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, and herbs you’re taking. This can help your doctor prevent any possible interactions.

Use with other medical conditions

Both Flonase and Nasonex cause similar problems with similar medical conditions. If you have any of the following medical conditions, you should discuss any precautions or warnings with your doctor before using Flonase or Nasonex:

Talk with your doctor

Looking at Flonase and Nasonex side by side, it’s easy to see that these drugs are very similar. However, they do have some differences. The key differences may be:

  • What they treat: Both drugs treat nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but Nasonex also treats nasal polyps, and Flonase also treats eye symptoms.
  • If they need a prescription: Flonase is available OTC without a prescription, but Nasonex isn’t.

To help you decide which drug may be better for you, talk to your doctor. Together, you can decide if Flonase, Nasonex, or another drug is a good choice for treating your allergy problems.