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Nasonex Nasal Spray vs. Flonase: Which One Do I Need?


  • Both medications are corticosteroids and reduce inflammation caused by allergic reactions.
  • In addition to nasal symptoms caused by allergies, Flonase also treats nasal symptoms produced by other causes and itchy, watery eyes.
  • Nasonex is used to treat nasal polyps caused by long-term swelling and inflammation in addition to allergy symptoms.
  • Flonase is available without a prescription.
  • A prescription is necessary for Nasonex.
  • Nasonex has fewer side effects than Flonase.

Both prescription Nasonex and over-the-counter Flonase are used to treat nasal symptoms caused by seasonal allergies. People will find one or the other more effective based on their particular symptoms and needs.

What are corticosteroids and how do they help with allergies?

One out of five people in the United States suffers from seasonal allergies in a condition called allergic rhinitis. During the spring or fall, many of us sneeze, have a runny nose, congestion, or watery eyes. It can be miserable. It’s not surprising, then, that many people search for a medication that will help them feel better.

One choice that people turn to is antihistamines. Antihistamine drugs help your body produce less histamine when faced with an allergen. Histamine is a chemical that is designed to protect you from substances that can damage your body, but your body can overreact and produce too much.

This is when allergy symptoms occur. Antihistamines block histamine production.

Antihistamines are one choice, but they can be expensive, and some people don’t tolerate them well. For this reason, many people choose to medicate with corticosteroids.

Steroids work by reducing inflammation in the body. When confronted with an allergen, the body reacts with inflammation in the nose, eyes, and sinuses. Corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation and the discomfort associated with allergies.

Research shows that corticosteroids are more effective than antihistamines in treating the symptoms of seasonal allergies. They’re also generally cheaper than non-sedating versions of antihistamines.

What is the difference in treatment with Nasonex and Flonase?

As we’ve said, both Nasonex and Flonase are nasal corticosteroids (taken as a spray in the nose) and help you feel better by reducing inflammation. When you spray a corticosteroid in your nasal passages, it relieves the congestion caused by inflammation in those areas. With less swelling, you have less pain and discomfort.

Both Nasonex and Flonase treat the inflammation of the nasal passages due to seasonal allergies, but there are some differences between the two medications in the extra effects or benefits they offer.


  • Treats nasal symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis
  • Prevents symptoms of seasonal allergies
  • Treats nasal polyps caused by long-term swelling and inflammation


  • Relieves both eye and nasal symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis
  • Relieves nasal symptoms not caused by allergic rhinitis
  •  Treats nasal symptoms caused by allergic rhinitis
  • Prevents symptoms of seasonal allergies
  • Treats nasal polyps caused by long-term swelling and  inflammation

What are the common side effects of Nasonex?

The most common side effects of both medications are similar. These include headache, sore throat, bleeding in the nose, and cough.

What are the common side effects of Flonase?

In addition, Flonase has some common side effects that are not seen with Nasonex. Flonase can often cause burning and irritation of the nose, nausea/vomiting, and asthma symptoms.

perscription pad

Do I need a prescription for Flonase or Nasonex?

Flonase is available over the counter and does not require a prescription. Nasonex, however, does require a prescription from a doctor, such as those available for free at

In each case, it is best to consult with your doctor or a physician before starting either medication to determine which is the best fit for you.

Are there any drug interactions I should watch out for?

As with any medicine, both Nasonex and Flonase have potential negative interactions with other medications you may be taking. It’s important to know what these interactions are.

Nasonex Drug Interactions

Nasonex can interact with a variety of medications and supplements. The most commonly prescribed of these are:

  • erythromycin
  • echinacea
  • clarithromycin
  • miconazole
  • indinavir
  • amprenavir

Flonase Drug Interactions

Flonase has negative interactions with drugs that treat HIV, such as:

  • ritonavir
  • atazanavir
  • indinavir
  • nelfinavir
  • saquinavir
  • lopinavir

In the case of both medications, it’s best to check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that neither Nasonex or Flonase will interact badly with the medicines you are already taking.

For a quick look, you may also choose to use the Drug Interactions Checker at, which allows you to quickly check possible drug interactions. Again, however, this is not a substitute for speaking with a medical professional, and you should always speak with a doctor before adding any medication to your regimen.

Flonase or Nasonex? How do I choose?

Both Flonase and Nasonex are similar in their composition and their uses. Here are some things to think about when making your decision:

  • The specifics of what they treat. Flonase and Nasonex will both help with nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but Flonase will also treat allergic reactions in the eye, and Nasonex will treat the nasal polyps that can develop from long-term swelling.
  •  Prescription vs. non-prescription. Flonase is available over the counter, but you will need a prescription for Nasonex.

Each individual is different, and one of these medications may more effectively treat your allergy symptoms, inflammation, and discomfort.

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Our operators are available seven days a week at 1-800-467-5146 to set up a free, virtual consultation for you with a doctor who can write you a free prescription for Nasonex. Visit and find out how we can help you today!


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