Fluticasone nasal preparations

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Fluticasone relieves symptoms of rhinitis such as a stuffy, runny or itchy nose.

It may take a few days of treatment before you feel the full effect.

If you are using it for hay fever, start using it 2-3 weeks before the hay fever season begins and use it regularly.

Any side-effects are usually mild.

Type of medicineCorticosteroid
Used forThe spray is used for nasal allergies; the drops are used for nasal polyps
Also calledAvamys® (fluticasone furoate); Flixonase® (fluticasone propionate); Nasofan® (fluticasone propionate); Pirinase® Hayfever (fluticasone propionate); Dymista® (fluticasone propionate with azelastine)
Available asNose spray and nose drops

Fluticasone nose spray is used to prevent, or ease, rhinitis. This is a condition where the inside of your nose becomes inflamed and irritated. Common symptoms include sneezing, a blocked or congested nose, a watery discharge (runny nose), and an itchy nose. It is commonly caused by allergies, such as hay fever. Fluticasone belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids. It reduces inflammation and swelling and so relieves the congestion, itching, sneezing, irritation and discomfort of nasal allergies. Fluticasone nose spray is prescribable by a doctor and there are several different brands available. You can also buy smaller packs of some brands without a prescription at pharmacies.

The Dymista® brand of fluticasone spray also contains a medicine called azelastine. Azelastine is an antihistamine. Antihistamines help to ease the symptoms of rhinitis too.

Fluticasone nose drops (brand Flixonase® Nasule) are used for nasal polyps. Polyps are small growths inside the nose that can cause symptoms similar to allergic rhinitis.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using fluticasone, speak with a doctor or pharmacist for advice:

  • If you have an infection in your nose.
  • If you have recently had any surgery on your nose.
  • If you have tuberculosis (TB).
  • If it is intended for a child. (Fluticasone is suitable for use by children, but only if it has been prescribed by a doctor.)
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you are taking or using other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.

How to use fluticasone nose spray

  1. Read the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you know how to work the spray. Some sprays have a button to push; others work by pushing down on a collar around the bottle.
  2. Shake the bottle well and remove the cap. (Before you use the spray for the first time, activate the spray a few times until you can see a fine mist in the air - this only needs to be done when you first start using a new bottle.)
  3. Blow your nose gently to clear it.
  4. Close one nostril by placing a finger against one side of your nose. Tilt your head forward slightly and insert the nozzle of the spray into the other nostril. Try to keep the bottle upright as you do this.
  5. Breathe in through your nose as you activate the spray. Then remove the nozzle from your nostril and breathe out through your mouth. Repeat if you are using two sprays for each dose.
  6. Repeat the step above in your other nostril.
  7. Wipe the nozzle with a clean tissue and replace the cap.

How to use fluticasone nose drops

  1. Blow your nose gently to clear it.
  2. Remove one of the containers from the strip in the foil pack. Flick or shake the container to make sure the contents are well mixed. Hold the container so that the liquid is in the bottom and then twist the top tab to remove it.
  3. In order to put the drops in so that the solution spreads all over the inside of your nose, it is best to lie on a bed with your head hanging backwards over an edge. An alternative is to kneel or bend forwards with your head down. (Do not stand with your head just tipped backwards, as the drops will not reach all the surfaces inside your nose if you do this.)
  4. Squeeze the container to release half of the solution into one nostril, and the rest into your other nostril (this will mean putting about six drops into each nostril). Stay lying or bending down for two minutes after putting in the drops before getting up. This is so that the liquid stays for a while in your nose and does not immediately run out of your nose or down the back of your throat.
  • Before you start the treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. This will give you a step-by-step guide of how to use the spray/drops, and will also give you a full list of the side-effects which you may experience.
  • Try to remember to use fluticasone regularly, even if your symptoms are controlled. If you forget a dose at your usual time, take it as soon as you remember unless your next dose is due. If your next dose is due, then have the dose which is due and leave out the forgotten one. Do not 'double up' to make up for a missed dose.

If you are using fluticasone nose spray

  • Use the spray in both nostrils. Depending upon the brand of spray you are given, it is usual for adults to use two sprays into each nostril once daily (brands Flixonase®, Nasofan®, Avamys®). The dose for Dymista® brand is one spray into each nostril twice daily. Check the label on the container carefully and make sure you use the correct dose.
  • Try to use the spray at the same times each day. Once your symptoms are well controlled, you may be able to reduce your dose to just one spray into each nostril once a day, but check the label to make sure this is suitable for the brand you are using. It is important that you continue to use the spray regularly, even if your symptoms are controlled.
  • If you have bought the spray without seeing a doctor and your symptoms have not improved after seven days of using it, you should make an appointment to see your doctor to check that it is the correct treatment for you.
  • Do not use the spray more often or for a longer period than is recommended on the label, as this can increase the risk of side-effects. Treatment with fluticasone may be continued for up to a maximum of three months (it may be longer than this if prescribed by a doctor).
  • If you are using the spray for hay fever, it may help to start using it 2-3 weeks before the hay fever season starts. This is because it takes a few days of treatment before you feel the full effect, so starting before the pollen count rises will help prevent symptoms from developing.

If you are using fluticasone nose drops

  • Use the drops once or twice daily as recommended by your doctor. If your symptoms have not improved after 4-6 weeks of using the drops, contact your doctor for further advice.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with fluticasone. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet inside your pack. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common side-effects of fluticasone nose spray/drops What can I do if I experience this?
Dryness and irritation of the nose and throat, mild nosebleeds, unusual tastes and smellsIf any of these become troublesome, speak with a pharmacist or doctor
HeadacheAsk your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • Flixonase Nasules® only keep for four weeks once the foil wrapper has been opened. Always keep unused Nasules® in the foil and dispose of any which are unused after this time.
  • Check the label for how long you can use fluticasone spray once it has been opened. After this time, get a fresh supply.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are having an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Adrian Bonsall
Document ID:
3438 (v25)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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