Q. I used Flonase for one year to ease nasal congestion caused by allergies. I am 37 and have just learned I have cataracts in both eyes.
The optometrist was as surprised as I was that I would have cataracts at this age, particularly because I am in really good health. I saw a commercial for Veramyst and it says cataracts are a possible side effect. I’m angry because I was never warned that Flonase might cause this problem.
A. Both Veramyst and Flonase nasal sprays contain the corticosteroid ingredient fluticasone. Cataracts have been reported as side effects of this type of medicine.
A surprising range of other medications are linked to cataracts. They include inhaled steroids (both nasal sprays and asthma medicine like Advair, Flovent, Pulmicort and Symbicort), the osteoporosis drug Actonel (risedronate), the blood pressure pill Cozaar (losartan) and the asthma inhaler Spiriva (tiotropium).
Most physicians and patients are unaware that cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Crestor, Lipitor and simvastatin may also be linked to an increased risk of cataracts. There is no warning in the official prescribing information, but an article in the British journal BMJ (May 20, 2010) suggests that this is an important side effect.