Nasacort and Nasonex are both allergy nasal sprays that contain drugs called corticosteroids. With allergies, the body’s immune system responds to an allergen, or trigger. This causes symptoms such as inflammation, which results in swelling and irritation. Corticosteroids such as Nasacort and Nasonex weaken the immune system, helping to reduce these symptoms.

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

Nasacort and Nasonex are very similar medications. They can both be used to treat allergic rhinitis and nasal symptoms due to inflammation of the lining of the nose. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can include sneezing and a stuffy, runny, itchy nose. These symptoms can be seasonal (occurring during certain seasons, such as spring) or perennial (occurring all year round).

In addition to allergic rhinitis, Nasonex can also be used to treat nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are tissue growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses. They’re caused by long-term swelling and irritation from infections, asthma, and allergies.

Read more: About nasal and oral corticosteroids for allergies »

The table below compares these drug uses side by side.

What it’s used for Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour Nasonex
treat nasal symptoms from seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitisXX
prevent symptoms from seasonal allergic rhinitis X
treat nasal polyps X

The following table compares other key features of Nasacort and Nasonex.

Brand name Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour Nasonex
What is the generic drug name?triamcinolone acetonidemometasone furoate
Is a generic version available?yesyes
Is an OTC or prescription drug?OTC*prescription
What form does it come in?nasal spraynasal spray
What strengths does it come in?55 mcg per spray50 mcg per spray
What is the typical length of treatment?short-term** decided by your doctor
How do I store it?at room temperatureat room temperature
*OTC: over-the-counter
** See your doctor if your symptoms last more than one week.

Both Nasacort and Nasonex have generic versions. Generic medications have the same active ingredient as the brand-name versions, but usually cost less. So, the generic versions of Nasacort and Nasonex likely cost less than the brand-name versions. At the time this article was written, the brand-name version of Nasacort was less expensive than the brand-name version of Nasonex, according to GoodRx.com.

Both generic and brand-name versions of these nasal sprays are available in most pharmacies. Generic prescription drugs such as mometasone furoate are usually covered by prescription drug insurance plans without prior authorization. Prior authorization is when your insurance provider requires extra steps before they will pay for your medication. For instance, they may ask you to try the generic version first before they will pay for the brand-name drug. That said, brand-name Nasonex may require prior authorization.

Typically, Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour is not covered by prescription drug insurance plans because it is an OTC drug. However, your plan may cover triamcinolone acetonide, the generic version, if your doctor writes a prescription for it.

The side effects of Nasacort and Nasonex are very similar. The chart below compares examples of possible side effects.

Common side effectNasacortNasonex
headacheXX
sore throatXX
bloody noseXX
coughXX
sneezingX
viral infection X
burning and irritation in the noseX
Serious side effectNasacortNasonex
puncture of the nasal septum (the flesh between the nostrils)XX
nose bleeds and sores X
decreased wound healingXX
glaucomaXX
cataractsXX
severe allergic reaction*XX
wheezing or trouble breathingX
worsening of infections**XX
yeast infections of the nose and throat X
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, and fungal bacterial, or parasitic infections

Little information is available on drug interactions with Nasacort and Nasonex. Before starting Nasacort or Nasonex, 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.

Nasacort and Nasonex can cause similar problems with certain medical conditions.

If you have any of the medical conditions checked in the table below, you should discuss them with your doctor before taking Nasacort or Nasonex.

Medical conditions to discuss with your doctorNasacortNasonex
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

Side by side, Nasacort and Nasonex are very similar drugs. However, they have a few minor differences. These include:

  • The conditions they treat: They both treat nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but Nasonex can also treat nasal polyps.
  • If they need a prescription: Nasacort is available OTC and Nasonex requires a prescription.
  • The health conditions they can affect: Nasonex has warnings for a few more health conditions than Nasacort does.

If you’d like to know more about how these drugs are alike or different, ask your doctor. They can tell you more about these drugs and if one of them is a good option for you.