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Flonase vs. Nasonex: What’s the Difference?


Flonase and Nasonex are allergy medications that belong to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. They can reduce inflammation caused by allergies.

Read on to learn about how Flonase and Nasonex are alike and different.

Both Flonase and Nasonex are used to treat allergic rhinitis, which is inflammation of the lining of the nose. Symptoms of this condition can include sneezing and a stuffy, runny, or itchy nose. These symptoms can be seasonal (occurring during certain seasons, such as spring) or perennial (occurring throughout the year).

Rhinitis symptoms can also occur without allergies in nonallergic rhinitis, also known as vasomotor rhinitis. Both Flonase and Nasonex can treat nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but Flonase can treat nasal symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis as well.

Flonase can also treat eye symptoms, such as itchy, watery eyes, from both types of rhinitis. Nasonex, on the other hand, can also be used to treat nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are growths that occur on the lining of the nose or sinuses. They’re caused by long-term swelling and irritation from allergies, asthma, or infection.

Both Flonase and Nasonex have generic versions. The generic and brand-name versions of these nasal sprays are available in most pharmacies. Generic versions of Flonase and Nasonex contain the same active ingredients as the brand-name versions, but typically cost less. You can compare current prices of these two drugs at

Typically, OTC drugs such as Flonase Allergy Relief aren’t covered by prescription drug insurance plans. However, your plan may cover OTC Flonase if your doctor writes you a prescription for it.

Generic prescription drugs such as fluticasone propionate (the generic drug in Flonase) and mometasone furoate (the generic drug in Nasonex) are usually covered by prescription drug insurance plans. These drugs are often covered without prior authorization. However, brand-name prescription medications such as Nasonex may be covered, but could require prior authorization.

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The side effects of Flonase and Nasonex are very similar. The tables below compare examples of their possible side effects.

Flonase may interact with HIV drugs, such as:

  • ritonavir (Norvir)
  • atazanavir (Reyataz)
  • indinavir (Chemet, Crixivan)
  • nelfinavir (Viracept)
  • saquinavir (Invirase)
  • lopinavir

Little information is available on drug interactions with Nasonex.

An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works, which can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. Before starting Flonase or Nasonex, be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, and herbs you’re taking. This can help your doctor prevent any possible interactions.

Both Flonase and Nasonex cause similar problems with similar medical conditions. If you have any of the following medical conditions, you should discuss any precautions or warnings with your doctor before using Flonase or Nasonex:

Looking at Flonase and Nasonex side by side, it’s easy to see that these drugs are very similar. However, they do have some differences. The key differences may be:

  • What they treat: Both drugs treat nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but Nasonex also treats nasal polyps, and Flonase also treats eye symptoms.
  • If they need a prescription: Flonase is available OTC without a prescription, but Nasonex isn’t.

To help you decide which drug may be better for you, talk to your doctor. Together, you can decide if Flonase, Nasonex, or another drug is a good choice for treating your allergy problems.

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