What Are Corticosteroid Nasal Sprays?

Cindy Quarters
Cindy Quarters
A corticosteroid nasal spray.
A corticosteroid nasal spray.

Corticosteroids are a class of medicines that work by blocking the body’s allergic reactions. They are typically used to help to treat and to prevent inflammation. Corticosteroid nasal sprays are designed to be used by allergy sufferers to help keep them comfortable during allergy season.

Almost all corticosteroids require a doctor’s prescription. Oral corticosteroids can cause serious side effects, including growth problems in children, and cataracts. Corticosteroid nasal sprays often give allergy relief with far fewer problems, but they are not totally without difficulties. Side effects of these sprays can include nosebleeds, a bad taste or smell, and generalized nasal irritation.

Corticosteroid nasal sprays should not be taken if a person is exposed to chicken pox or measles.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays should not be taken if a person is exposed to chicken pox or measles.

Other forms of corticosteroids include inhaled medicines, used to relieve allergy-induced asthma. There are also eye drops for severe allergy symptoms in the eyes, and skin creams for eczema and atopic dermatitis. Some skin creams are available without a prescription, but it’s best to check with a physician before using them, as they can cause skin discoloration and irritation.

Corticosteroid nasal sprays are available in a number of different forms. Some of the different types include triamcinolone (Nasacort® AQ), fluticasone (Flonase®), beclomethasone (Beconase AQ®), flunisolide (Nasarel™), mometasone (Nasonex®), and budesonide (Rhinocort Aqua®). It is possible that someone who does not get relief from one kind of corticosteroid nasal spray, or who is overly sensitive to it, can find another type that will work better.

It is important to use corticosteroid nasal sprays according to directions, to minimize potential side effects and maximize the drug’s effectiveness. The bottle should be shaken well before using, to make sure the medication in it is properly mixed and ready to use. Each bottle has a maximum number of sprays it is rated for, and it should be discarded once that number of sprays has been dispensed, since after that time the effective dose of the medicine may be decreased. Corticosteroid nasal sprays should not be used more often than indicated on the bottle or the prescription label.

While corticosteroid nasal sprays can be very helpful to allergy sufferers, alleviating symptoms and making life in general more comfortable, users should pay close attention to any possible problems while using the medication. This class of drugs can reduce immune system function, and such diseases as measles or chicken pox can be extremely serious, even fatal, for people using corticosteroid nasal sprays. Any exposure to these diseases, or any flu-like symptoms, sores in the nose that do not go away, or vision problems, should be reported to a doctor. These drugs can be safe and effective when used properly but, as with any medicine, it is important to be aware of potential problems and side effects.

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    • A corticosteroid nasal spray.
      A corticosteroid nasal spray.
    • Corticosteroid nasal sprays should not be taken if a person is exposed to chicken pox or measles.
      Corticosteroid nasal sprays should not be taken if a person is exposed to chicken pox or measles.