Using a Topical Nasal Steroid for Allergies
Topical Nasal Steroids
Topical nasal steroids should not be confused with anabolic steroids, which athletes sometimes use to enlarge muscle mass. While anabolic steroids can have serious negative effects, the chemicals found in nasal steroids are different.
Topical nasal steroids are anti-inflammatory medicines that stop the allergic reaction to provide allergy relief. In addition to other helpful actions, they decrease the number of mast cells in the nose and reduce mucus secretion and nasal swelling. The combination of antihistamines and nasal steroids is an effective way to treat allergic rhinitis, especially if you have moderate or severe allergic rhinitis.
Although topical nasal steroids can have side effects, they are safe when used at recommended doses and significantly reduce allergy symptoms in many cases. Nasal steroids are taken by a nasal spray and, in some studies, have been shown to be more effective than antihistamines. However, when combined with antihistamines, nasal steroids may provide even better relief than when used alone.
Examples of nasal steroids include:
- Beconase® and Vancenase® (both contain beclomethasone dipropionate)
- Rhinocort Aqua® (budesonide nasal spray)
- Flonase® (fluticasone propionate)
- Nasonex® (mometasone)
- Nasarel® (flunisolide nasal solution)
- Nasalide® (flunisolide nasal solution)
- Nasacort® (triamcinolone acetonide)
These allergy medicines differ in cost and how often they are used, but they are generally equally effective in providing relief from allergies.
The drawback to these medications is that they may take a week or so to be maximally effective and can sting and even damage the nasal septum (the soft bony division in the middle of the nose) if the spray is directed at it. Tell your doctor if you have any bloody discharge while using these sprays.