Risks Or Side Effects
Its worth noting that there are side effects that come with OTC nasal sprays, though they can vary based on ingredients.
Antihistamine nasal sprays may cause headaches, coughing, nose bleeds, sleepiness, throat irritation, bitter tastes, dry mouth, and nasal burning, according to Dr. Jain.
Corticosteroid nasal sprays can cause side effects that include irritation, bleeding, septal perforation , and with long-term use in children, possibly a decreased rate of growth due to systemic absorption.
Nasal decongestants restrict blood flow to the nasal tissues, and when this happens for too long, it can cause tissue damage, which triggers more swelling, Dr. Jain says.
What Is A Nasal Decongestant
A nasal decongestant is a medication that opens up your stuffy nose. Decongestants come in a variety of forms, including:
- Oral Pills
- Nasal sprays or drops
Most decongestants are available over the counter. However, those that have pseudoephedrine as the active ingredient are sold behind the counter. In most cases, you can still get them without a prescriptionyoull just need to ask the pharmacist to get it for you.
You Expected Claritin To Be A Decongestant
You might also be expecting Claritin to solve a problem it isnt meant to solve. Although congestion can be a common symptom for allergy sufferers, it isnt one of the symptoms that Claritin is supposed to stop. So if youre suffering from congestion, youll need to use another drug other than Claritin, or youll need to try Claritin-D, a version of the drug that also helps with congestion.
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Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Afrin Vs Flonase
Afrin is typically not covered by insurance because it is not a prescription product. This is true for both Medicare and commercial plans. The retail cost for a 15 ml bottle could be as high as about $11. Your doctor can issue a prescription for Afrin, and with a SingleCare coupon, you could get the generic version for as low as $5.11.
Flonase, or its generic, is typically covered by commercial and Medicare drug plans. The retail price for Flonase in a bottle containing 120 sprays can be as much as $28 but with a coupon, patients could pay as little as $11-$12 with a prescription.
Versus Oral Allergy Medications
You can use nasal sprays in combination with oral allergy medications to treat your allergies or just use nasal sprays as your sole treatment.
Though, some research supports the use of nasal sprays over oral medications for treating nasal allergies.
One study compared a fluticasone furoate nasal steroid spray with taking a combination of the oral antihistamine and antileukotriene . The researchers found that nasal sprays were more effective in treating nasal symptoms than taking oral medications.
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Is There Any Downside To Using A Decongestant
Once youve made your choice, youre probably wondering if theres anything else you should be aware of. Decongestants are typically safe, but much like any other type of medication, they come with some risks and side effects.
Its always smart to read the directions and packaging of whatever decongestant you select. But, speaking generally, some of the most common side effects include:
- dizziness or light-headedness
- nervousness or restlessness
- trouble sleeping
Typically, if side effects do occur, theyre mild. If you have questions or concerns about anything youre experiencing, connect with a medical professional.
In terms of risks, keep in mind that decongestants arent recommended for people with high blood pressure, as they can increase blood pressure or interfere with the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
But, the biggest risks of decongestants relate to prolonged useparticularly of decongestant nasal sprays. Because they provide such intense relief, people can be tempted to overuse them. That extended use can cause something known as the rebound effect, where your nasal passages become less responsive to the medication and your congestion actually worsens.
For that reason, most nasal sprays shouldnt be used for longer than three days. Again, check the packaging to make sure youre using the medication as directed.
What Do I Need To Tell My Doctor Before I Take Afrin Nasal Spray
- If you have an allergy to oxymetazoline or any other part of Afrin Nasal Spray ).
- If you are allergic to Afrin Nasal Spray ); any part of Afrin Nasal Spray ); or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have taken certain drugs for depression or Parkinson’s disease in the last 14 days. This includes isocarboxazid, phenelzine,tranylcypromine, selegiline, or rasagiline. Very high blood pressure may happen.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with Afrin Nasal Spray ).
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take Afrin Nasal Spray ) with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
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How Do Flonase Nasacort And Afrin Work
Flonase and Nasacort are glucocorticoids that reduce allergy symptoms like:
Itchy and runny nose
Its worth noting that Flonase is FDA-approved to help with watery and itchy eyes, while Nasacort is not.
Steroid nasal sprays are especially effective because they block allergic responses from six different types of cells in your nasal area. Allergy pills like or , on the other hand, only block allergic responses in one type of cell. Steroids can be used long-term to prevent allergy symptoms.;
Afrin is a decongestant that shrinks blood vessels in the nasal area and helps fluid drain from your nasal passages to improve breathing. Unlike Flonase and Nasacort, Afrin is for temporary relief of symptoms. It can start to work in 15 minutes or less, but its not for long-term use because of potential side effects. More on this below.;
Which One Works Best
Many studies have shown that steroid nasal sprays are very effective at combating allergy symptoms in the nose. For example, in one study, researchers compared fluticasone and triamcinolone nasal sprays by asking 233 patients to fill out questionnaires over 21 days of treatment. The results of the study showed that both steroids were equally effective. It also showed that both medications were safe and didnt cause serious side effects. Another study from 2019 that also compared fluticasone and triamcinolone showed similar results.
Lets not forget about Afrin. Afrin is an older drug thats proven to work, but as we mentioned, you dont use it in the same way as Flonase or Nasacort. Afrin is for temporary symptom relief. It works in minutes but only lasts 12 hours. Flonase and Nasacort are for prevention. They take about 2 to 4 weeks to reach their full effect.
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The Possibility Of The Rebound Effect
Have you ever used a nasal spray for days on end and all of a sudden you stopped feeling relief? What you may have experienced is called the rebound effect.;
Nasal sprays arent addicting, but they can become habit-forming and in general, you shouldnt use them for more than three days, says Dr. Kravchuck. Using them longer invites building up a tolerance to the medicines, which is called the rebound effect.
Along with that comes common minor side effects, too. These can include a bitter smell or taste, sneezing, runny nose and nasal irritation, including burning and stinging. If you experience any major side effects, including a change in heart rate, tremors, unusual sweating or persistent nosebleeds, consult your doctor.;
While most people can use these;sprays, your doctor or pharmacist may have other;recommendations;if you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or if youre taking other medications.
You shouldnt use a nasal spray if your nasal passages become damaged, she says. When this happens, you might need more medicine to control your congestion, or your congestion might worsen if you stop using the spray.
If this happens, your doctor may suggest you stop using the spray for several weeks to reverse this effect.
What Are Typical Doses For Flonase Nasacort And Afrin
Flonase and Flonase Sensimist
Adults and older children: 2 sprays in each nostril daily for 1 week, then 1 to 2 sprays in each nostril daily after that
Younger children: 1 spray in each nostril daily for the shortest amount of time
If either doesnt work after 6 months, stop using it. Even if it feels like its still working at 6 months, you should talk to your provider before using it any longer.;
Adults and older children: 2 sprays in each nostril daily, then 1 spray in each nostril daily once your symptoms have improved
Younger children: 1 spray in each nostril daily
Stop using Nasacort if it doesnt work within 3 weeks.;
Typical dose for adults and children: 2 to 3 sprays in each nostril, as needed, but not more than one time every 10 to 12 hours, and not more than 2 times in 24 hours
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Cautions And Side Effects When Using Nasal Spray For Allergies
Side effects occur with almost any medication. Its important to review the potential effects and talk to your doctor before you start using a nasal spray for allergies. This can help ensure that the sprays wont interfere with medications youre already taking.
Examples of some side effects of each nasal spray type include:
- Steroids: nosebleeds and nasal perforations
- Antihistamines: drowsiness, dizziness, nosebleeds, and dry mouth
- burning, stinging, dryness, fast heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and rebound nasal congestion if used longer than a few days
- Anticholinergic: dry nose, nosebleeds, irritation, and headaches
- Mast cell: worsening congestion, sneezing, itching, nosebleeds, and burning sensations
The best treatments for allergies depend on your symptoms. If you commonly experience nasal symptoms, nasal sprays can directly address these symptoms.
However, if you have a lot of other symptoms, there are other allergy treatments. These include:
- Antihistamines: can help address eye itching and sneezing
- can help reduce mucus in the nose and airways
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists: can block chemicals called leukotrienes to reduce allergy symptoms overall
If oral medications or nasal sprays dont help treat your allergies, you may wish to talk to a doctor about immunotherapy. This involves either shots or drops to expose you to small amounts of allergens.
- itching eyes, nose, or face
Is Flonase Addictive Like Afrin
Flonase;is a nasal spray prescribed by doctors for relieving symptoms of allergies and sinusitis. Belonging to the corticosteroid class of drugs,;Flonase;works differently than;Afrin. In addition to reducing inflammation,;Flonase;also blocks the irritating effects of pollen, dust, mold and pet dander. Also, while;Afrin;starts working immediately to relieve congestion,;Flonase;users may not feel congestion relief for a few days.
Although;Flonase;doesnt cause a rebound effect like;Afrin;does, long-term use of corticosteroid nasal sprays can promote recurring nosebleeds and headaches.
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How Long Does It Take A Decongestant To Work
Now that you understand the magic behind these medications, heres the information you really want: How long do you need to wait before you start to feel some relief?
That depends on the specific type of decongestant youre taking .
Pseudoephedrine, a pill, will usually start working within 15 to 30 minutes, and you can expect to breathe a lot easier within an hour. A decongestant nasal spray like Afrin usually starts working immediately after you use it.
The effects of most decongestants will last anywhere from three to 12 hours. So, while its not a permanent fix for your clogged up nose, it can provide some temporary relief.
How Much Do They Cost
Flonase, Nasacort, and Afrin are all available over the counter . You wont need a prescription from your healthcare provider to get them, but its always a good idea to discuss any new medications with them first.;
Cost will vary depending on the specific product. Flonase Sensimist will generally cost more than original Flonase. Flonase tends to cost about the same as Nasacort since they are so similar. Afrin will usually be much cheaper because its for short-term use.;
Getting generic versions of these medications with a GoodRx coupon can help you save. The lowest GoodRx prices for the generics are about half the retail price of the same-size brand version. Here are some examples:
Average retail price of Flonase Allergy Relief : $27;
Lowest GoodRx price of fluticasone propionate : $13;
Average retail price of Nasacort Allergy : $22
Lowest GoodRx price of triamcinolone : $12
Average retail price of Afrin Original Nasal Spray : $7
Lowest GoodRx price oxymetazoline : $3
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Is There A Bad Nose Spray
First of all, lets be clear that there is not a bad nose spray. The problem only occurs when a nose spray is used incorrectly. It is important to not just say nose spray; but to use the name and understand the medications purpose.
A nasal spray is any kind of medication thats inhaled through the nose, and the 4 basic categories include:
Each of these sprays has a different purpose and a different reason for use. Always discuss with your physician how it should be used and not just use it like you did another nose spray. I have had way too many parents say they thought all nose sprays could be used the same way. Nope
Check out this post by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology where they have a pretty extensive list of nasal sprays.
Side Effects And Precautions Of Oxymetazoline
Common side effects may include:
- rebound congestion, due to long-term use;
- difficulty staying or falling asleep;
- high blood pressure;
If you have used MAO inhibitor , a type of antidepressant, within two weeks, do not use this medicine.
There are no conclusive clinical studies that show the effects of using this medication while breastfeeding, hence, stay on the safe side and avoid it.
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Before Using Afrin Precautions
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to Afrin , or any other medications.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the following medications or have stopped taking them within the past two weeks: isocarboxazid , phenelzine , selegiline , and tranylcypromine .
- Afrin is contra-indicated with monoamine oxidase inhibitor medicine used for the treatment of depression
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood pressure, diabetes, difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate gland, or thyroid or heart disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using Afrin nasal spray, call your doctor.
Children may be especially sensitive to the effects of Afrin . This may increase the chance of side effects during treatment.
Many medicines have not been tested in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information about the use of Afrin in the elderly.
Afrin and Pregnancy
Afrin and Breastfeeding
How Is This Medicine Best Taken
Use Afrin Nasal Spray ) as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Do not take Afrin Nasal Spray ) by mouth. Use in your nose only. Keep out of your mouth and eyes .
- Some of these drugs need to be shaken before use. Be sure you know if this product needs to be shaken before using it.
- Some products may have different ways to prime the pump. Some pumps may also need to be primed if not used for different periods of time. Follow how and when to prime as you have been told.
- Blow your nose before use.
- Do not tilt your head back before using Afrin Nasal Spray ).
- Put the cap back on after you are done using your dose.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- If you use Afrin Nasal Spray ) on a regular basis, use a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not use 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
- Many times Afrin Nasal Spray ) is used on an as needed basis. Do not use more often than told by the doctor.
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Mast Cell Inhibitor Sprays
How they work: Cromolyn sodium sprays, a type of mast cell inhibitor sprays, stabilize mast cells. These cells release histamine, the substance that mediates allergy symptoms.
Some examples: You can purchase cromolyn sodium nasal sprays, such as NasalCrom, over the counter.
Key tips for use: Youll use most cromolyn sodium sprays about once or twice daily. Because they block histamine release, youll do best by starting to use them about 1 or 2 weeks before allergy season in your area starts.