Flonase is used for nasal allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and itchy nose. Because it comes as a nasal spray, its effects are generally limited to the nose.

Flonase Overview

Reviewed: August 29, 2012

Flonase is both an over-the-counter and a prescription medication. Flonase is used to treat the symptoms of allergic and nonallergic rhinitis.

Flonase is in a class of medications called corticosteroids. These works by decreasing swelling and irritation in the nasal passsages.

Flonase is available as a nasal spray and is sprayed into each nostril usually once daily.

Common side effects of Flonase include cough, nosebleeds, and nasal burning or irritation.

Flonase nasal spray can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how Flonase nasal spray affects you.

How was your experience with Flonase?

First, a little about yourself

Tell us about yourself in a few words?

What tips would you provide a friend before taking Flonase?

What are you taking Flonase for?

Choose one
  • Other
  • Asthma
  • Nasal Polyps
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Perennial

How long have you been taking it?

Choose one
  • Less than a week
  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
  • A year or so
  • Two years or more

How well did Flonase work for you?

Did you experience many side effects while taking this drug?

How likely would you be to recommend Flonase to a friend?

Uses of Flonase

Flonase is a medication used to treat the symptoms of allergic and non-allergic rhinitis in patients aged 4 years and older.

Symptoms may include:

  • sneezing 
  • runny nose
  • stuffy nose
  • itchy nose
  • itchy, watery eyes

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Flonase Drug Class

Flonase is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Flonase

Common side effects of Flonase include

  • headache
  • nosebleeds
  • irritated or burning nose
  • runny nose
  • cough
  • nausea
  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness

Stinging or sneezing may occur for a few seconds right after use.

This is not a complete list of Flonase side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Flonase Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • medications that stop the work of an enzyme in the body (CYPA4) such as some macrolide antibiotics (clarithromycin, telithromycin), some HIV protease inhibitors (indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir), some HCV protease inhibitors (boceprevir, telaprevir), some azole antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole), conivaptan (Vaprisol), delavirdine (Rescriptor), and nefazodone (Serzone)

This is not a complete list of Flonase drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Flonase Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Flonase including the following:

  • nose problems. Nose problems may include:
    • nose bleeds
    • sores (ulcers) in your nose
    • a certain fungal infection in your nose, mouth, and/or throat (thrush)
    • hole in the cartilage of your nose (nasal septal perforation). Symptoms of nasal septal perforation may include:
  • crusting in the nose
  • nose bleeds
  • runny nose
  • whistling sound when you breathe
  • decrease in activity of your immune system. This will make you more likely to get an infection. Symptoms of infection may include: fever, pain, aches, chills, feeling tired, nausea and vomiting. Tell your doctor about any signs of infection while you use Flonase. Also, tell your doctor if you are exposed to chickenpox or measles.
  • slow growth in children. A child using Flonase should have his/her growth checked regularly.
  • eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts. Tell your doctor about any vision changes while using Flonase. Be sure to have regular eye exams while you are taking this medication.
  • slow wound healing. Do not use Flonase until your nose has healed if you have a sore in your nose, if you have surgery on your nose, or if your nose has been injured.
  • allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Call your doctor and stop Flonase right away if you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction:
    • swelling of the face, throat and tongue
    • hives
    • rash
    • difficulty breathing or swallowing

Flonase can cause dizziness. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how Flonase affects you.

To avoid withdrawal side effects, do not stop using Flonase at once. Discuss with your doctor about slowly decreasing the dose before stopping use of this medication altogether.

When using this product, do not share this bottle with anyone else as this may spread germs.

Do not use Flonase if you:

  • are allergic to Flonase or any of its ingredients
  • are taking ritonavir (Norvir)

Flonase Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Flonase, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking Flonase, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to Flonase or to any of its ingredients
  • are exposed to measles or chickenpox
  • have liver problems
  • take ritonavir (Norvir)
  • take any antifungal medication
  • have an immune system problem
  • have a history of glaucoma or cataracts
  • have or have had nasal sores, nasal surgery, or nasal injury
  • have any type of viral, bacterial, or fungal infection
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Flonase and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Flonase falls into category C. In animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication and had some babies born with problems. No well-controlled studies have been done in humans. Therefore, this medication may be used if the potential benefits to the mother outweigh the potential risks to the unborn child.

Flonase and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed.

It is not known if Flonase crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Flonase.

Flonase Usage

Use Flonase exactly as prescribed.

  • Flonase comes in the form of a nasal spray and is usually sprayed once a day.
  • Flonase is for use in your nose only. Do not spray it in your eyes or mouth.
  • Children should use Flonase with an adult’s help, as instructed by the child’s healthcare provider.
  • Flonase may take several days of regular use for your rhinitis symptoms to get better. If your symptoms do not improve or get worse, call your healthcare provider.
  • If you miss a dose by several hours, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Flonase at the same time.

Prescription Form:

Use Flonase exactly as your healthcare provider tells you. Do not use Flonase more often than prescribed.

You will get the best results if you keep using Flonase regularly each day without missing a dose. After you begin to feel better, your healthcare provider may decrease your dose. Do not stop using Flonase unless your healthcare provider tells you to do so.

Over-the-Counter Form:

If your symptoms do not get better within 7 days of starting use or you get new symptoms such as severe facial pain or thick nasal discharge. You may have something more than allergies, such as an infection.

Stop use and ask your doctor if you you notice any vision changes, get a constant whistling sound from your nose, or you have severe or frequent nosebleeds.

Priming and Using Your Flonase Nasal Spray

Your Flonase must be primed before you use it for the first time and when you have not used it for a week or more.

How to prime your Flonase Nasal Spray:

  • Shake the bottle gently and then remove the dust cover
  • Hold the bottle with the nasal applicator pointing away from you and with your forefinger and middle finger on either side of the nasal applicator and your thumb underneath the bottle.
  • Press down and release 6 times until a fine spray appears. The pump is now ready for use.

Using your Flonase Nasal Spray:

Step 1. Blow your nose to clear your nostrils.

Step 2. Close 1 nostril. Tilt your head forward slightly and, keeping the bottle upright, carefully insert the nasal applicator into the other nostril.

Step 3. Start to breathe in through your nose, and while breathing in press firmly and quickly down 1 time on the applicator to release the spray. To get a full dose, use your forefinger and middle finger to spray while supporting the base of the bottle with your thumb. Avoid spraying in eyes. Breathe gently inwards through the nostril.

Step 4. Breathe out through your mouth.

Step 5. If a second spray is required in that nostril, repeat steps 2 through 4.

Step 6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 in the other nostril.

Step 7. Wipe the nasal applicator with a clean tissue and replace the dust cover.

Do not use this bottle for more than the labeled number of sprays even though the bottle is not completely empty. Before you throw the bottle away, you should talk to your healthcare provider to see if a refill is needed. Do not take extra doses or stop taking Flonase without talking to your healthcare provider.

Cleaning your Flonase Nasal Spray:

Your nasal spray should be cleaned at least 1 time each week.

1. Remove the dust cover and then gently pull upwards to free the nasal applicator.

2. Wash the applicator and dust cover under warm tap water. Allow to dry at room temperature.

3. Place the applicator and dust cover back on the bottle.

4. If the nasal applicator becomes blocked, it can be removed and left to soak in warm water. Rinse the nasal applicator with cold tap water. Dry the nasal applicator and place it back on the bottle. Do not try to unblock the nasal applicator by inserting a pin or other sharp object.

Flonase Dosage

Prescription Form:

Use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

The recommended adult dose is 2 sprays per nostril of Flonase once daily. 

  • The same total daily dose, 1 spray in each nostril administered twice daily (e.g., 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.) is also effective.
  • After the first few days, patients may be able to reduce their dose to 1 spray in each nostril once daily for maintenance therapy.

The recommended dose for adolescents and children aged 4 years and older is 1 spray in each nostril once daily (total daily dose, 100 mcg).

  • Patients who do not respond to 1 spray in each nostril may use 2 sprays in each nostril once daily.
  • Once adequate control is achieved, the dosage should be decreased to 1 spray in each nostril once daily.

Over-the-Counter Form:

Adults and Children 12 years of age and older

  • Week 1-use 2 sprays in each nostril once daily
  • Week 2 through 6 months-use 1 or 2 sprays in each nostril once daily, as needed to treat your symptoms
  • After 6 months of daily use, ask your doctor if you can keep using Flonase

Children 4 to 11 years of age- Use 1 spray in each nostril once daily

  • Children should use for the shortest amount of time necessary to achieve symptom relief since Flonase may impair growth in children
  • Talk to your child’s doctor if your child needs to use the spray for longer than two months a year
  • An adult should supervise use

Children under 4 years of age- do not use

Flonase Overdose

If you use too much Flonase, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store Flonase between 39°F and 86°F (4°C and 30°C).
  • Do not use your Flonase after the date shown as “EXP” on the label or box.
  • Keep this and all medicines out of the reach of children.