A number of steroid nasal sprays are available by prescription, including fluticasone propionate, beclomethasone dipropionate monohydrate, mometasone furoate monohydrate, triamcinolone acetonide, flunisolide, budesonide and fluticasone furoate 2. While according to the Mayo Clinic steroid nasal sprays are safe for long-term use and do not cause the rebound effect of other nasal decongestant sprays, they may still cause bothersome side effects for some people.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
General Side Effects
According to the Mayo Clinic, all steroid nasal sprays can cause side effects. Irritation, itching, burning or dryness inside the nose or throat may commonly occur. Headaches, sneezing, runny nose, upset stomach or nosebleeds are also possible. According to RX List, other symptoms reported in more than three percent of clinical trial participants include:
- tearing eyes
- nasal stuffiness
- asthma symptoms
- throat inflammation
- viral or upper respiratory tract infection
- dysmenorrhea (severe uterine pain during menstruation)
- According to the Mayo Clinic, all steroid nasal sprays can cause side effects.
- Irritation, itching, burning or dryness inside the nose or throat may commonly occur.
Serious Side Effects
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Allergic reactions have also been reported, including symptoms such as:
- unexplained rash
- angioedema (swelling under the skin)
- anaphylaxis (a life-threatening allergic reaction affecting the whole body)
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical care.
Adrenal Suppression and Hypercorticism
Some research suggests that prolonged or excessive use of certain intranasal steroids can interfere with the functioning of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce important hormones (cortisol) that are vital to regulating the body’s stress response, sexual function, metabolism, balance of salt and water and blood glucose levels. According to RX List, certain steroid nasal sprays such as:
- weight gain in the upper back
- neck 2
A review published in a 2009 issue of “Neuroimmunomodulation” finds one study of confirmed adrenal suppression among adults treated with budesonide or fluticasone propionate, and another study showing decreased cortisol in urine output among adults taking beclomethasone dipropionate 12. Studies of fluticasone furoate and of budesonide or fluticasone propionate in children show no significant adrenal effects 2. The study concludes that there is no evidence to suggest doctors need to routinely monitor healthy children treated with steroid nasal sprays. Adults who use intranasal corticosteroids long-term should consult with their doctors to determine whether adrenal testing is indicated.
- Some research suggests that prolonged or excessive use of certain intranasal steroids can interfere with the functioning of the adrenal glands.
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- “Neuroimmunomodulation;” Intranasal Corticosteroids and adrenal suppression; Bruni FM et al; 2009
- RX List: Fluticasone Propionate
Based in New York City, Tricia Mangan began her writing career in 2001. She has co-authored a National Cancer Institute report and a number of research articles that have appeared in medical journals. Tricia holds a Master of Arts in clinical psychology from Stony Brook University and boasts diverse clinical, research and teaching experience.