Fluticasone propionate nasal spray is a corticosteroid that is used to treat seasonal and perennial allergic and nonallergic rhinitis. It is a generic prescription medicine which is also available as the brand name Flonase(R). It is not a decongestant medicine but a steroid. A decongestant is faster acting but of short duration. You may notice improvement sooner, but it may take a few days or longer. The prescription and physician’s directions should be followed for each individual treatment.
Prescribed for Allergic/Nonallergic Rhinitis
The body’s reaction to an irritating foreign substance is to produce histamines which produce swelling and vasodilation. The purpose is to get as many white cells to the troubled area to combat what the body perceives as an invasion. This is often pollen, dust and other extraneous outside material that makes its way into the lungs, nose and eyes, manifesting as a runny nose, tearing, red eyes, sneezing, coughing, inflammation, and more. Sometimes these efforts by the body are unable to accomplish what the body wants to do, such as combating pollen. The overreaction can be so severe that it is more incapacitating than the precipitant. The antagonist to histamine, produced by basophils and mast cells, is antihistamine which works to prevent the histamine attaching to receptor cells. The human immune system, histamine and antihistamine, are a complex and not fully understood phenomenon. There is no cure for allergies usually, but attempts to balance and control the condition are about the best modern medicine can do at present.
Active ingredient: fluticasone propionate 50 mcg, 120 metered sprays. Inactive ingredients: 0.02% benzalkonium chloride, dextrose, microcrystalline cellulose and carboxymethylcellulose sodium 0.25%, phenylethyl alcohol, and polysorbate 80, and has a pH between 5 and 7.
Directions for using this medicine are to spray in each nostril once or twice a day; once in the morning and again at evening, if twice a day is indicated. The proper way to use the spray is to prime the pump the first time before using it by squirting one spray into the air before actually using the spray in each nostril. Bend forward with the head down, not backward, and hold the bottle upright. Hold one nostril closed as you administer the spray into the other nostril. Try not to let it run down into your throat; if it does rinse out your mouth.
Contraindications and Side Effects
Fluticasone Propionate nasal spray is used when an oral pill might be too strong for only a specific site treatment. An oral pill is used when there is an overall allergy causing eye, nose, skin, etc. symptoms. As a spray used in the nose and not throughout the entire system as with a pill or injection, there is less chance of the more severe side effects of steroids, such as suppression of the immune system, slowing of healing and slowing the growth of children. According to the manufacturer’s patient information sheet, it can have possible side effects manifesting as headache, nosebleeds, sore throat, and vomiting. In rare instances it can cause glaucoma and cataracts or a worsening of their conditions. It is not recommended for use during pregnancy.
Usually it should be effective by the time the bottle is used up. The prescription may be renewed at the doctor’s determination, but the manufacturer recommends that if it does not work within a few days to discontinue use. It should not be used over an excessive length of time because it is a steroid and one of the reactions of the body to steroids, besides immune system suppression, is to manufacture less of a hormone in response to the amount being obtained from outside of the body. If taken for a lengthy period, then it should be stopped gradually, the doses less frequently and lesser in amount. Note that the manufacturer claims that there have been no resulting problems attributed to Flonase by itself.
I have had personal experience using this medicine and I honestly have not had a lessening of symptoms after having had several treatment sessions over a period of years. The first time I used it for the full duration it was prescribed. I may have used more than I should have because I wasn’t getting any relief from the prescribed amount of two doses per day. One day I suddenly noticed blood running from my nose. Coincidentally, a few days later I read a newspaper article which warned that using corticosteroids intranasally could result in nosebleeds if used too often or for too long. I stopped using it at that time.
Several times later it was again prescribed for me. I have been careful not to use it more than twice a day, but the results are disappointing. It costs in the area of $40 for a small bottle, and I don’t get enough relief from it to warrant the expense and possible side effects.