Introduction

Nasacort and Flonase are two name-brand allergy medications. They’re corticosteroid drugs that can reduce inflammation caused by allergies. With so many allergy medications on the market, it can be hard to tell your options apart. Here’s what you need to know about how Nasacort and Flonase are similar and different.

Drug features

Both Nasacort and Flonase are used to treat symptoms of allergic rhinitis. This condition causes inflammation of the lining of the nose. You may recognize it by the sneezing and stuffy, runny, or itchy nose it causes. 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. This is called non-allergic rhinitis. While both Nasacort and Flonase can treat symptoms of allergic rhinitis, only Flonase can treat symptoms of non-allergic rhinitis. Flonase can also treat eye symptoms of seasonal and perennial allergies. These can include itchy, watery eyes.

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

Brand name Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour Flonase Allergy Relief
Is it prescription or OTC*?OTCOTC
Is a generic version available?yesyes
What is the generic drug name?triamcinolone acetonidefluticasone propionate
What other versions are available?---Flonase Children’s Allergy Relief, Clarispray Nasal Allergy Spray, fluticasone propionate (prescription and OTC)
What does it treat?symptoms of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitissymptoms of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis, nasal symptoms from non-allergic rhinitis
What form does it come in?nasal spray nasal spray
What strengths does it come in?55 mcg per spray50 mcg per spray
What is the typical length of treatment?short-term**Up to six months for adults, up to two months for children
How do I store it?at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C) at a temperature between 39°F and 86°F (4°C and 30°C)
*OTC: over-the-counter
** Talk to your doctor if symptoms last more than one week while taking Nasacort.

Cost, availability, and insurance

Nasacort and Flonase are available on most pharmacies’ shelves. You can find them in generic and brand-name versions. The generic versions of Nasacort and Flonase are likely to cost less than their brand-name versions. At the time this article was written, Flonase was less expensive than Nasacort, according to GoodRx.com.

Typically, Nasacort and Flonase Allergy Relief are not covered by prescription drug insurance plans because they're over-the-counter drugs. However, the generic of Flonase is also available as a prescription drug. Prescription generics are often covered by insurance plans.

Side effects

The side effects of Nasacort and Flonase are very similar. The charts below compare examples of their possible side effects.

Common side effectNasacortFlonase
headacheXX
sore throatXX
bloody noseXX
coughXX
burning, irritation, or inflammation in the noseXX
nausea and vomiting X
asthma symptoms X
sneezingX
Serious side effectNasacortFlonase
nose bleeds and sores in noseXX
puncture of the nasal septum (flesh between the nostrils)XX
decreased wound healingXX
glaucomaXX
cataractsXX
severe allergic reaction XX
worsening of infections*XX
slowed growth rate in children and adolescentsXX
yeast infections of the nose and throatX
wheezing or trouble breathingX
“pins and needles” feeling, especially in your hands or feet**X
* such as tuberculosis, herpes simplex in the eyes, chicken pox, measles, and fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infections
** may be a sign of nerve damage

Drug interactions

Little information is available on drug interactions with Nasacort. Flonase, though, may interact with HIV drugs such as ritonavir, atazanavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir, and lopinavir.

Before starting Nasacort or Flonase, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. This information can help your doctor prevent any possible interactions.

Use with other medical conditions

Nasacort and Flonase can both cause problems for people with certain medical conditions. If you have any of the conditions marked in the table below, talk to your doctor about your safety before taking Nasacort or Flonase.

Medical conditions to discuss with your doctorNasacortFlonase
nose sores, injury, or surgeryXX
eye problems such as cataracts or glaucomaXX
eye infectionsX
weakened immune system X
tuberculosis X
any untreated viral, bacterial, or fungal infection X
eye infections caused by herpes X
recent exposure to chickenpox or measlesXX
liver problems X

Talk with your doctor

Nasacort and Flonase are similar allergy medications. However, they do have some differences. The key differences may be:

  • What they treat: They both treat symptoms from allergic rhinitis. However, Flonase can also treat eye symptoms and non-allergic rhinitis symptoms.
  • What conditions are concerns: Flonase has warnings for a few more health conditions than Nasacort does.
  • Their possible drug interactions: Flonase has a slightly higher risk of drug interactions than Nasacort does.

Your doctor can help you decide if one of these drugs is a good match for you. You can show your doctor this article and ask them any questions you have. Together, you can decide if Flonase or Nasacort, or another drug, is a good choice to relieve your allergy symptoms.

Q:

What allergens can cause allergic rhinitis?

A:

There are many allergens, also called triggers, that can cause allergy symptoms. Some of the more common ones include grass, dust, animal dander (flaked skin), and mold. For more information, read about the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis of allergic rhinitis.

Healthline Medical TeamAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.