The People's Perspective on Medicine

Do Flonase and Nasacort Harm the Sense of Smell?

Steroid nasal sprays may reduce or damage the sense of smell or taste; in some cases, they do not recover.
Bad smell concept – peg on male nostrils over black

The benefits of steroid nasal spray for allergies are significant. There are, however, some side effects that you may want to know about before you start using them. A loss of the senses of smell and taste seems to be rare, but it is not always reversible.

Q. I used Flonase for many years and have lost about 90 percent of my sense of smell and have significant loss of taste. Six years ago I had sinus surgery in hopes of improving these senses but it didn’t work.

I stopped using Flonase last year. No doctor ever suggested my loss of my sense of smell was from using Flonase. In retrospect, though, I’m pretty certain Flonase was the cause.

A. Steroid nasal sprays such as fluticasone (Flonase) and triamincinolone (Nasacort 24HR) used to treat allergies are considered so safe that they are now available without prescription. Nevertheless, many other readers have reported problems with the senses of smell or taste associated with using such a steroid nasal spray.

Here is one such report:

“I had very few problems with allergies until moving to Florida. About a year ago, I had congestion in my nasal passages. I bought some Nasacort and used it according to the directions for four days.

“Then I lost my senses of taste and smell. I wrote to the company to ask if they had any suggestions for a cure. I also asked my doctor who said, ‘Your senses will probably return.’ They haven’t. The company said they had never heard of such a problem. Do you know of anything that will help me regain my senses of smell and taste?”

We wish we had a solution. While this side effect is listed in the information for prescription Flonase, there is no mention of it on either OTC drug label. There may not be a cure for this distressing condition.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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Anybody have any tried-and-true formulas to get your smell back?

I have COPD and have used Advair and generic brand Flonase for several years. I, too, have lost my senses of smell and taste. They slowly went away, and now they are completely gone. All I now can taste is sweet and salt and not much of them. I wish there was something I could do about it. Being able to try and eat new foods for their taste was one of the few pleasures I had because of my illness. I hope all of you, and myself,a find a solution to our problem. Someone mentioned a class action suit. I think that is a good ides.

I had sinus and asthma problems as well as fluid in ears. I had used flonase along with prednisone, singulair, zyrtec, and an antibiotic. After this is when I lost my test and smell. So I really don’t know what caused it. I had used flonase prior to this for fluid in ears and never had problem. Have been off of these medications for about 6 weeks. However, my problem started in Feb. of this year. Have not gotten taste nor smell back. Once in a while I get a whiff of something. At one point, I was put on a prescription nose spray. Went to neurologist, and he thought the loss of smell and taste was from the sinus and asthma problem.

I used Flonase about two months ago and lost all sense of smell.
I looked up natural remedies and tried the castor oil and tea tree mix in a nasal spray for about a month.

Nothing seemed to work but today (May 24, 2019) while sitting in front of my computer, my sense of smelled returned instantly. I was so shocked that I went right to a scented candle in my bathroom and could smell it. I said “Thank you Jesus!” I then went throughout the house smelling everything: fruit, flowers (including my dirty socks), What a relief to be able to smell again as I was giving up hope that I would regain my sense of smell.

I have been dealing with phantom smells off and on for a year or two. I smell either a flower smell or oily dirty garage smell. I was not aware Nasacort or Flonase caused alteration to smell and taste. I have been using them for about the same time.

My Dr prescribed Aller-Flo the generic brand of Flonase from Costco and after a week or 2 of 1 spray per day I have lost my taste and smell. Reading these stories terrifies me. I’ve always had a terrific sense of taste and smell and this loss for me is catastrophic! I am going to try everything I can to see if it is recoverable.

I had a terrible upper respiratory infection in May 2018. I have used Flonase sporadically in the past, but this time, I used as recommended continuously for several weeks. I thought my loss of taste and smell was due to the infection. However, after recuperating, I still suffered from loss of taste and smell. I searched online for possible causes and nothing fit. I consulted an ENT and he started me on 10 day steroid pack, OTC zinc and Alpha Lipoic Acid. After 2 1/2 months, I could smell and taste just a little, but so happy for anything. Then, a scratchy throat and snuffy nose so I used Flonase again. The next day, no sense of taste and smell again. Completely gone. I thought what had I done differently in past couple of days and realized the difference was Flonase use. I just googled Flonase loss of taste and smell on internet and found this site. I am devastated.

I tried it. With only five pumps I lost my taste and smell. That was seven months ago. I smell-trained my nose. Using essistial oils of lemon, rose, clove and eucalyptus every day. My sense of smell finally fully recovered two weeks ago. My taste is coming back. Sometimes my food taste is distorted. I have had improvement. I’m sure in time you will fully recover.

Cheryl hi from Ruston LA
I have had the identical experience but with Nasocort!!!
I had a severe respiratory infection which lasted weeks. Taking advair, singulair and Nadicort!
I could’t Taste or smell anything! I stopped nasocort and smell/taste returned briefly. I was thrilled but still congested. So I started on Nasicort again and once again lost my sense of smell and taste. Praying with time this will change. I am devastated too. Takes a lot of joy out of life :(

I had a very bad cold last December on top of my allergies. My doctor said to used OTC Allegra and Flonase. I did and lost all sense of taste and smell. I, too, thought it was a result of the cold and that they would come back. It is now September 26, and my taste and smell are just starting to come back but not very acutely. The doctors all say they have never heard of such a thing, and it can’t be the Flonase. I am very frustrated.

I had been put on Flonase by my ent. Wanted me to take it til I saw him again. Questioned him that he wanted me to be on this for a month along with saline irrigation twice a day. Had finished up amoxicillin for this sinusitis. I now cannot taste or smell very well. Spicey foods slightly. I get sinusitis once or twice a year usually occurs when I am near someone who has a cold. Never used Flonase consistently. It has been a month now. I pray I can taste and smell again. I will try taking zinc. Have not seen anything that will treat this but possibly time. Have already lost 4 lbs. eat because I’m hungry but just not enjoyable.

I took a store-brand version of Flonase for two and a half weeks. Within less than a week, I noticed I had lost my ability to smell and taste. I thought it was because of my nasal congestion. I kept taking the Flonase. Today, I started searching online for the causes of the loss of smell and taste. I found a lot of people who had been affected with these conditions because of Flonase. I’m angry. I would have never taken Flonase if I had known this was a possible side effect. I stopped taking it today. I don’t expect my senses of smell and taste to return (at least not quickly), based on the experiences of others. This is a class-action lawsuit. Find an attorney who takes these kinds of cases.

I was put on Nasocort several years ago when I had to start using a C-Pap. I lost my sense of smell, and it never came back. I guess I’m lucky because I didn’t lose my sense of taste (thank goodness) But- – -there was never any discussion of possible side effects of this product! Had I of known about this risk I would NEVER have used this product! ! !

Well, it’s good to know that my loss of my sense of smell might be a direct result of my use of nasacort. I have been trying accupuncture to recover it, but I am in the early stages. I will report back if I have any success. I will also try some extreme dieting (no sugar, no carbs ) as I have had success with that in the past. While I don’t pretend to understand why that has worked for other ailments I think it falls in line with the “let your body reset” idea. We’ll see.

I used Flonase for the first time about 5 days for congested sinuses from cough and colds and allergies last June. I noticed my sense of smell and taste has greatly decreased for a month now after the use. So I thought of what might have been causing it. I searched if the Flonase nasal spray can cause decreased and/loss of sense of smell and taste. And sure enough its not only me suffering from these side effects. I just hope my sense of smell and taste totally come back.

I took Flonase for YEARS. Then one year I got the flu and continued to use Flonase. I noticed that I couldn’t taste my food. I attributed to being sick, but even months after I was well, I still hadn’t gained complete smell or taste.

I cannot tell if something smells good or bad until someone lets me know, and then I try my hardest to smell it. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can’t. I’ve lost the umami flavor that comes with great food. So depressing. I can’t try new recipes because I don’t know what they’re supposed to taste like.

I used Flonase for 3 weeks and haven’t regained my sense of smell in over 2 months. I wish there was an easy solution.

Why is this product not being pulled off the shelves? I also suffer from loss of smell and taste due to this spray.

Hello, Delores. I wondered if you got your taste and smell back. I lost mine too because of Flonase.

I had a cold a few weeks ago and first thought it was allergies- so I used 3 doses of OTC Flonase, and I lost my sense of smell and taste within hours. I am still seeing the side effect now even after I stopped using it immediately. I hope my sense of smell returns.

Have super bad seasonal allergies and severe congestion. Used Flonase spray once yesterday for the first time. Two sprays in each nostril.
Discovered that I can no longer smell or taste anything today. Ate at Cheesecake Factory for lunch and ordered egg roll platter, meat sauce pasta, tater tots; did not taste a thing. Had Starbucks Espresso in the afternoon; could not taste the familiar coffee taste. Drinking my favorite wine right now; might as well be drinking water.
This is after ONE use of Flonase. Will stop immediately. Wish I came here before I used it.

I use fluticasone propionate (Flonase) on a nearly regular basis. A few days ago, almost overnight (literally), I lost my sense of smell and taste – about 80 percent loss. As a test, I sniffed a bottle of dried, snipped chives, which I could always smell.

There was not scent to it. In fact, later on, when I blew my nose, I found pieces of chives in the tissue. That tells you how much sense of smell I lost. Food is now less appetizing. I’m without help and cure, just like the rest of you. I’m going to discontinue this nasal spray and see what happens. Good luck to you all!

I developed allergies and asthma 4 years ago. I had terrrible congestion in my sinuses. Started taking flonase everyday. It took away the stuffiness but now I can’t smell. Just found out I have a condition called Samter’s Triad or AERD. Everyone with this condition has lost their sense of smell and has allergy and asthma symptoms. Everyone is also on a steroid type nasal spray or rinse. So I am not sure if this is from the steroids or the polyps.

I, too have suffered allergies and cold symptoms. I already take generic zurtec daily per my dr. And I tried Flonase per his suggestion. Have been following the directions for over a week now and have discovered that my taste has diminished to practically nothing. Smell too.

I came online to see if Flonase could that. I will stop taking it immediately. I sure hope my sense of smell and taste return!!

I have taken Flonase and the generic equivalent on and off for about 2 years…. I had lost about 90% of my sense of smell. I thought it was due to the allergies themselves. Now after not using the spray for about 4 months I have noticed my sense of smell has improved! I hope with more time, it will return 100%.

I have read elsewhere that someone took 500mg of turmeric daily, which quickly returned their sense of smell. Another person recommended getting a script for theophylline from your doc, as this has been working to improve patient’s sense of smell. Hope those suggestions help!

Its such a shame… Flonase really worked well for me in preventing bad allergies without having to take pills (Zyrtec). Will not take it again. Loosing your sense of smell removes color from your life and can also be dangerous.

I’ve recently read that Butterbur (herb) can be very helpful with allergies… I’m going to give it a try.

Took generic Flonase about five weeks ago for bronchitis. My doctor thought it would help with inflammation in that area my nose was fine before. Only took one dose a day for 4-5 days. Smell and taste totally gone. I have an unusual dry feeling in my nose since then. Sometimes a strange taste I mouth , but not due to eating food. Depressed at times, this is awful.

YES! I too lost my sense of smell after Fluticasone. After 2 years, it comes and goes and I sporadically smell something – definitely not ever taking this nasal spray again. It severely damages the olfactory system!

About three years ago I suddenly developed severe allergies. My doctor prescribed Clariton and Flonase. I used them for about six months. I was telling a friend the other day that my taste and sense of smell are impaired, that I must be getting old, but I know believe that this sudden change may be drug related. If I had know, I would have used something else. It’s not worth it. It’s been almost three years now.

I started taking Flonase on April 21, 2018 for allergies here in AZ and today, April 24, 2018 I have no sense of smell or taste!! I’m praying that these senses come back. Because of these losses, I have stopped taking Flonase!

I used Flonase nasal spray in feb2018 I have no smell or taste for 2 months now.i am miserable.

I used fluticasone and Astepro for a few years and now I can smell almost nothing.

A year ago April 2017 I had a cold. In about a week it seemed to get better but I still had nasal congestion. I bought Flonase OTC and used it as per directions on label. The next day I realized I had lost my sense of smell and taste. I figured it was do to the cold I had. I kept using the Flonase for several more weeks.

My sense of smell and taste didn’t return until late November and only gradually got better as time went by. Now it’s April 2018 and I came down last week with another cold and yesterday I sprayed a shot of Flonase in each nostril only to find out around noon that my sense of smell and taste are gone again.

So, I searched on the net to see if anyone else had complained of this having used Flonase and much to my surprise there have been quite a few people that have had this misfortune. I just hope it doesn’t take seven months to get my sense of smell and taste back.

I used Flonase once a few years ago. I lost my senses of taste and smell. It finally started to come back but it took years to get it back to halfway normal. I would never use it again. For a long time I had some sense of smell, but nothing smelled like it was supposed to, like the smell of chlorine bleach, or a skunk’s spray. My sense of taste was the same. I knew I was drinking coffee but it didn’t taste like coffee to me. Eventually things started to smell and taste the way they used to, but it took a very long time.

I was prescribed Fluticasone Propionate, generic for Flonase, last December for allergies. In January I noticed a profound loss of smell and taste. I stopped using it. It is April and my sense of smell and taste have not returned. My passion is cooking and baking. I am very distressed about this. My physicians seem unaware of this side effect. It has diminished my quality of life greatly.

In the past 1.5 years, the ONLY time I had my olfactory senses was when I was in the hospital for a week. Just today I realized it’s the cats! BUT.. after reading all these responses, I’m sure that Flonaze and Altz. are not helping the problem. Another BUT.. since I can’t smell or taste ANYTHING it’s not fun to eat anymore. I lost 60 lbs!! Do I want my senses back??? Not sure!! :-)

When you have a side effect with a medication, make sure you also tell the manufacturer. Email them, post it on their Facebook or Twitter account, mail them a letter, call whatever. By law they must track complaints and give the information to the FDA. That’s the way drugs get recalled.

I used Flonase once a day for 4 to 5 days and stopped because it wasn’t helping. Then I noticed that everything I eat has a salty taste. I wish I’d never heard of this product.

This is so weird. I, too, have been using Flonase and Claritin for the past few years. Just a week ago I explain to my wife that my taste buds have changed. Nothing is tasting like it use to.
Mind you, I live in the Big Easy, (New Orleans), a place that is known for good cooking and great food. And all of a sudden I have no sense of taste! My wife began exploring on this site, and she discovered others are also experiencing the same signs from using antihistamines such as this.

I have contacted my physician to get a checkup and to see if there is something medically going on within me. But meanwhile, I will be discontinuing the use of these over-the-counter medicines. I will be looking into some more natural solutions for my sinus and allergy problems, and will let you know when and if I regain my taste buds.

It’s been almost 3 years sense I lost my sense of smell due to flonase. I wish I had investigated the side effects before using it.

Started using Fluticasone in conjunction with Azelastine, 1 spray once a day in each nostril. Not only does it taste like poison (the whole head down admin style is BS; you have to sniff to keep it from running out, and even slight sniff will get it to run down your throat), and this lasts for 1hr plus and makes me feel nauseous. I also have noticed, aside from the lingering floral scent, that my sense of smell has been significantly altered. I can only smell certain things very clearly, while most other smells are dulled if not gone completely! Stopping the Fluticasone immediately after reading other people’s experiences. thank you!

I also had some sinus issues a couple years ago. Was prescribed flonase. Used it as prescribed. A couple months later had the issue again with sinuses and Flonase was again recommended. Didn’t really realize I had list my sense of smell for a couple months. I truly believe it is due to Flonase. I did read that when it was a prescription, there was a warning for loss if smell. But the OTC does not have that warning. It’s been over a year and I still have no smell. I do get a chemical smell if I smell something strong. Yes, I am pissed. The recommend Flonase and nasacort Willy nilly.

Went my otolaringologo here in Salt Lake City before Christmas, after a cat scan he saw my sinuses completely blocked. During surgery they discovered they couldn’t get it all out through the nose so they had to go through my mouth, what a mess I was. Black and blue and swollen for a full month. I was sure I would smell again but not much so far. Now I’m getting any cold that’s going around. Will moving back to my native Oregon help? Suggestions

I wish I never used nasacort. Somebody must have botched the tests results since so many people have lost their sense of smell including myself. It is FAR from SAFE. Some days I feel like I might spiral into depression from not being able to enjoy life like I used to. I don’t even know what my close ones smell like and I feel very alone and distant.

My 69 year mother is going through this as we speak. She recently was diagnosed with fluid behind her ear drum. They prescribed Flonase daily x 6 days. 3-4 days after she finished, she noticed nothing had any flavor; not her daily cup of coffee nor anything salty. I even had her put salt on the tip of her tongue to see. I have informed her to get rid of the flonase after reading this thread. Anyone have any other suggestions, please let me know. I will dig around and see if I can find prednisone left overs. Doesn’t sound like the docs are going to believe us.

I had used 3 different nasal sprays for sinusitis and bronchitis: Nasacort OTC, Azelastine HCI, and Ipratropium/Bromide. Took a month to get well. I have used the Azelastine HCI for years for allergy and sinus condition when needed with no loss of smell/taste. However, using the Azelastine in combination with Nasacort OTC has definitely affected my sense of smell/taste. I am going to discontinue the Nasacort and see if that clears up the problem. I find it terribly concerning that ANY medication would have permanent loss of smell and taste, as the drug manufacturer would certainly know this and went forward anyway with marketing. They definitely would know what ingredient permanently destroys your sense of smell which affects your sense of taste.

I have also loss my sense of smell after using Flonase. Where do we lodge a complaint? I feel very frustrated.

In addition to loss of sense of smell, after having used Flonase/Fluticasone for a number of years, I developed a hole in the cartilage between my nasal passages. After seeing my second ENT, he agreed that it was more than likely the Flonase/Fluticasone that caused the problem. I have trouble breathing, use a nasal gel, and have difficulty sleeping. I have sores in my nose, and much crusting, which feels like razor blades in my nose. My quality of life has been greatly diminished.

Are there any lawyers currently suing these companies?

I have been on Flonase for 2-3 weeks recently as a trial to help vocal problems increasing over a few years. Ruled out allergies and there is only mild evidence of GERD. I need to go back to the ENT for review of my testing, but was shocked recently to not smell bleach, used to clean my toilet bowl. Wow. My sense of smell doesn’t seem to be gone for foods, so it is shocking that I could not smell something as strong as bleach. Yikes. I suspected the flonase so I checked for “flonase” (generic) side effects. I think I will stop this medication.

I just found this site because I also noticed that I am having trouble smelling…. and was googling “possible causes” including Flonase. Since i have been using Flonase regularly for the past 6 weeks, that I cant smell ANYTHING and my taste is about 25% of what it was “once upon a time”. asked my ENT…and he said that if i am still able to taste… then i MUST still have some smell capabilities…. Heck. I cant even smell “toast burning in the toaster”.

I am going to stop the Flonase immediately…. Maybe…. my smell will come back… If not… it’s one HELL of a way to lose weight. I cant taste or smell anything. I have found that anything “wet” (like soups, stews, chili, etc.) are slightly better for me. Not sure why.

I have lost my sense of smell completely and just realized it is from using OTC Flonase. I had used prescription Flonase many years ago on a consistent basis and never had any side affect. But after congestion, sneezing and a cold early in 2017, I used Flonase for a only 2-3 days. My symptoms improved but I lost my sense of smell completely for about 6 months.

Couldn’t smell onions cooking, spoiled food, our coffee pot smoking, etc. Still, I didn’t get the connection because I use other medications for RA. Then in July, I had to use Prednisone for my RA and magically, almost all my smell returned! Then 3 weeks ago (late August), I had the congestion and sneezing again and used only 2 applications of Flonase and now my smell is gone again.

I’m contemplating trying the prednisone again, even though I don’t need it right now. Where I can register my complaint with the company that makes OTC Flonase? That’s next on my list.

I was prescribed fluticasone (Flonase) and use prescription medication only for nine months. I lost my sense of smell and taste fully when the ENT added another Cortico-steroid into the nasal spray midst. I have quit using either product and I am slowly regaining both senses. It has been about 7 weeks since I quit both medications. When I spoke to to the ENT about my loss of senses she did not acknowledge that either of the prescribed medications could possibly be at fault. I will be seeing another ENT and I’m considering suing the one who prescribed the flucticasone.

Did you decide to use the Prednisone again? Did it help you gain your senses again? Thank you

SAME FOR ME Lost my sense of smell permanently. Will try Prednesone

advise you to join a support group such as Fifth Sense. and Living well with Anosmia. They are very good. and sharing caring support with links to research.

I cannot comment on medication . I can verify the value of sharing.

I had a terrible cold/virus in May 2017. I was told to take Flonase, I used the generic brand. My sense of smell is gone. I have been to an ENT and had a CT scan. I went thru a round of prednisone also. My follow up with the ENT said that I should try the Flonase daily.

I came across your comment. I am not sure what to do, but I am stopping my Flonase. I agree, if this many people are losing their sense of smell and the one thing that is in common is the Flonase. Any other thoughts? Thank you

I have had this same issue: I was prescribed Avamys, and it, too, has taken away my sense of smell and taste. I have been to the Doctor, spoken to a pharmacist, had CT scans done, and nothing. I mentioned about the Avamys spray, and no one will believe or at least admit that it’s a possible side effect. We can’t all be wrong. The Dr has booked me in for an appointment with an ENT for 3 weeks time. I’m only 34, and this has completely diminished my way of life and my concern is, if this is a permanent issue, then being the age I am, I will never be able to smell or taste anything new for the rest of my life, and that completely saddens me. As I said, we can’t all be wrong, and the Company needs to start recognizing this as a severe problem/side effect. If you had this issue and found something to help regain your sense of smell or taste please let me know. Thank you

I have struggled for years with a total loss of smell and could barely taste. I have been unable to pinpoint the cause and have seen an ENT doctor numerous times. Been prescribed various drugs administered through a NETI pot, they worked for a couple of weeks and then not. Received a cortisone shot for a bum shoulder last month and amazingly, my sense of smell and taste came back in full! Unfortunately as I write this these senses are once again subsiding. I do plan to explore the relationship between this drug and my condition though. Good luck to all.

I used Flonase for allergy years ago. I
Lost the sense of smell permanently. I even could not smell geysers in Yellow Stone National Park!!

I have also lost 90% of my ability to taste and smell from using Flixonase, NasuLe Drops. This happened 2 years ago, I was obviously not warned of any side effects. I use ventolin, Symbicort inhaler, just wondering if anyone could tell me if it is a combination of these drugs???

Mr R. Spear

I have used Flixonase nasule drops continuously for a number of years and this treatment has been successful in allowing me to smell and taste normally with no side effects. (I have been tested for these.) Prior to this I had been on stronger steroid drops which my ENT said I should not continue, and put me on nasules instead. I went for years with almost total anosmia caused by chronic sinusitis in hot humid climates. Tried all sorts of steroid treatment which worked only for short spells. Flixonase has been a mercy.

I had a cold at Christmas. Used Flonase for about 10 days. Realized that my sense of smell and taste both had disappeared completely, whereas my sense of smell had been very acute Pretty much equated the loss of my senses with the use of Flonase.

I don’t understand, as many similar remarks as there are, why ENTs and the manufacturer will not consider the possibility that Flonase caused these cases of anosmia. Recently, I have the added annoyance of have an “off” taste with many foods as well as an unpleasant smell, particularly from aerosol cans. Why was it listed as a side effect on the prescription but left off the OTC medication?

I had a cold the beginning of May that included head congestion, runny nose and sneezing, sore throat and cough. My doctor’s office as an option, recommended Flonase OTC for the congestion. I used it for 5 days and realized that my sense of smell and taste were gone. Here it is June, and they have not yet returned. This can be a potentially dangerous situation, not being able to smell a gas leak, taste spoiled food and numerous other issues.

I see an ENT this week and am very concerned what he’s going to say. This is not a side effect that is listed on the drug warning label on the bottle. I decided to Google the problem and am amazed at all the people who have experienced this problem. Why does it continue to be recommended??? And why aren’t the makers/distributors of this drug being held accountable? Why isn’t this listed as a possible side effect on the bottle? Scary!!!

I lost my sense of smell from flonase and the generic form sold at Costco. I’m so upset! It also impaired my taste. This isn’t right. We should sue this company. I can’t smell anything. If there was a gas leak or a fire it wouldn’t be good.

Same for me. Permanently lost my sense of smell due to Flonase. Cannot smell stove gas AND even the gysers in Yellow Stone National Park.

About 3 years ago i had a respiratory infection and was prescribed Nasacort. A short time later I noticed i had lost my sense of smell and taste. I saw an ENT who tested me for Lymes Disease and did an MRI of my sinus passages. He found nothing. He said it must be from the respiratory infection and that he didnt know if it would come back.

Months later, I got part of my smell back. This week i went to urgent care for a sinus infection. They prescribed Flonase. I started it yesterday and this morning i have lost my sense of smell again. I will never use these sprays again! I hope i get my sense of smell and taste back again. The doctors need to know and the companies should have to put a warning on the labels! Two times can’t be coincidence.

I have lost my sense of smell. I have been using the generic Flonase for a couple of months. I thought maybe it was just my bad allergies, but my allergies are better, and my nose is dry but still can’t smell. I am going to stop using it immediately. I hope my sense of smell returns. This is a horrible side effect. The sense of smell is important as a warning for burning/fires, rotten food, and other hazards. They should warn people about this all over the label.

I cannot comment on medication. but I do recommend support group www Fifth Sense and also www Living well with anosmia. I am in a group working in …..Smell Training..a trial therapy.

I was prescribed the spray in order to regain the sense of smell! And it destroyed it completely and probably for ever!

I have so much fluid in my ears, that my ENT Dr. said I had to start back on fluticasone. I had stopped due to a terrible chemical smell. Now after 5 days, all I smell is a sickly chemical spray. I’m afraid to stop because my ear drum is in bad shape due to the fluid. Next week I’ll get a tube put in that ear. Also, I’m on a prednisone pack, but this smell is AWFUL

Hello Carolyn,

I too get that awlful chemical smell from Flonase. I tried the new product that is fragrance and alcohol free. I did not smell the chemical smell anymore but it is less effective for my allergies.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my Irish breakfast tea wasn’t as robust as it had been previously. I tried another brand, and it, too, was bland. I picked up yet a third brand – same thing. I had a feeling something wasn’t right, but the light bulb hadn’t gone off yet.

Over the next couple of weeks, it slowly began dawning on me that my senses of smell and taste seemed dulled in general. I hadn’t lost them completely, but only certain things like vinegars, citrus, etc. were coming through fully. Other milder tastes and smells were barely noticeable. Yesterday, I thought back to when it began and realized it started shortly after I began using Flonase for my spring allergies. Last night I googled “Flonase dull sense of smell and taste” and was shocked at how many hits I got. After reading through the comments here on Peoples Pharmacy, I decided that was it for me and Flonase. This morning I went back to my Neti pot, and I can already taste my afternoon cup of tea a tiny bit more. I hope all of us are able to fully regain our senses of taste and smell, and I am equally outraged that this isn’t noted as a side effect in the Flonase literature or on their web site.

I had a concussion 7 weeks ago and when I got to the EMS, they did a ct scan and said that I also have a sinus infection, they prescribed Flonase generic. After a few days, I noticed that I could not smell anything and I taste maybe basis tastes, like sugar, salt, lemon and pepper.

I thought the loss of smell and taste were because of the concussion (fainted 25 minutes, and hit my head on my bathroom floors and stayed out for 25 minutes). I read concussion could cause that, but now, I realize that it could be from the OTC Flonase. I just used it this morning too. I noticed that the last few days, my loss of smell became alweful. I only smell foul smell in my nose and not other smell. I will quit right away.

I used Flonase about 4 or 5 times. I have completely lost my sense of smell and almost entirely my sense of taste.

I first used Flonase before it became OTC. My ENT said that my nasal passages were swollen and this would help to calm the inflammation. This was right after my first cold of the season. So right in time for Thanksgiving, I lost my sense of smell and taste. That was enough for me. They tried switching me to Nasonex and that made my nose bleed AND removed my sense of smell.

About the person who said the loss of a sense of smell is a relief, I agree to some point. I own a lot of pets and cleaning up after them is easier with no sense of smell. However, I can’t tell if they have made a mess in the house unless I’m either standing next to it or I blow my nose really hard and I catch a whiff.

This is embarrassing because my house might smell like a pig sty and I don’t know it. Also, what if there is an oil leak or a gas leak and I can’t smell it? I can’t live without a sense of smell.

Exact same thing happened to me. Luckily, once I quit using Flonase, my senses came back after a few days.

A year ago I found relief for a cold using Nasacort. I was desperate to breathe at night so I could sleep and this did the trick. My cold passed and gone was 95% of my sense of taste and smell. Not only is the sense of smell diminished but when I’m able to smell something it’s nothing like it used to be. Many fragrances that I used to find lovely are now unbearably sweet and very unpleasant. So beware of using these products! I’m so sad I can hardly taste food and smell a fragrant flower.

Used Flonase many years ago. Lost my sense of smell permanently. Went to Yellow Stone National park a few years ago and could not even smell the geysers. Be careful considering it’s use. Anyone have something you found to reverse this condition?

My Husband was prescribed Flonase also called Avamys for blocked ears in the hope it would unblock them. It didn’t unblock his ears at all however he lost 95% of his taste and around 30% of his sense of smell.

Five months later, neither has returned at all not even a little bit. He always had a perfect sense of smell and taste now he doesn’t enjoy his food at all, even curry. This should be pointed out when you take this drug.

I lost my sense of taste and smell from something much simpler: hayfever for 50 years. This was before Flonase was invented. I now take Flonase and bless the company that makes it — at least I can breathe!

I’ve taken Flonase for YEARS, and about 9 months ago was switched to the generic equivalent. I subsequently lost my sense of smell (and taste!) I’ve been praying for the Lord to restore these senses, and this evening my wife put some apple cider vinegar on my salad, informing me that her beautician had heard that this might be helpful. Beginning with the salad, my taste returned! THANK YOU LORD JESUS!!!

Call me stupid (which I definitely was), I had never used Flonase before, was very congested, and went crazy with it for about 5 days straight… crazy to the point that I finished an entire small bottle (yes, I know…). At the end of day 5, I realized that I could no longer smell or taste ANYTHING. I immediately stopped using Flonase hoping my senses would return. After about a week, my cold had past but my senses were still completely absent. I was so frustrated and miserable. Another week came and went and my senses were still nowhere to be found… Today… almost a month later, I woke up and could smell and taste EVERYTHING. Yesterday I still had nothing and today I have it all. Never will I take Flonase again (even in the recommended dose) and never will I take my senses for granted. For those that lost their senses for months and years at a time, I pity you and thought my case would be the same, but for those of you who have lost your senses for a few weeks and have almost given up hope… it can and may return. Everyone is different. I was lucky. Don’t give up hope. Two products I would highly recommend- A NeilMed neti pot, and Arm & Hammer Simply Saline spray. Good luck!

Over a year now, smell is not the same. Unless its an extreme smell, I can’t sense it. Tuff thing to deal with! !

For me… Flonase taking my sense of smell away has been a good thing. I have a nearly debilitating sense of smell. My sense of smell is so acute, it is frustrating because I was constantly distracted by odors especially in the work place where I can’t escape and people come in smelling badly. It is a very strong distraction.

I used to use Flonase, but if I use it for prolonged time it gives me headaches so I stopped. When I did my sense of smell increased.

But I discovered if I use Flonase- my sense of smell is deadened. This is wonderful. I try to use it every other day to avoid headaches which is my numero uno side effect but I can definitely attest that it does take my sense of smell away. Thank god. An acute sense of smell is wonderful when you can choose the things you can smell. Otherwise… Flonase has made my live much more endurable because of this side effect.

Ok, everyone! Same story here…3 days of nasocort use twice a day as prescribed by my ENT Dr. And boom, taste and smell gone!!! It’s been over a year now and no return. I can only smell something if I press it to my nose very firmly. Ridiculous! Not to mention the danger if there’s a gas leak in your home…Tastes are a vague shadow and strange. So many are in agreement about joining a class action lawsuit! How does one start this? I’ll Facebook friends and ask for lawyer suggestions.. . Can others do this too and let’s meet back at this site!? Let’s do it!! 2 of our 5 senses gone!! Quality of life sooo diminished!!!!!

I find this topic very interesting as I’ve noticed exactly the opposite. I’ve been taking Aquacort for the last few years. I lost my sense of smell before I started with Aquacort, due to a cat allergy, and taking the nose spray regularly brings at least some of it back. If I stop taking it, my nose will gradually get worse again over a week or so and that little bit of my sense of smell will also nearly go away.

I used Apo-Mometasone. It was prescribed to me to spray twice in each nostril twice a day. I followed the directions for one day and immediately noticed the loss of my sense of taste and smell. I did not continue the treatment. It has been 2 days since and still nothing. I am worried my senses won’t return. How can such a simple thing cause so much damage?

In my case my sense of smell actually returned after taking Nasacort or Flonase on a daily basis. My sinuses stayed open and my sense of smell actually became more sensitive. I am a fan of Bavarian wheat beers and they taste much better if I take a nasal steroid spray an hour before I drink. I do a saline nasal wash every morning, but until I started Nasacort or Flonase, beer would sometimes taste foul or disappointing.

I tried Nasacort after it was recommended by a pharmacist to help relieve a sinus infection. I can not use typical OTC meds because of my HBP so I tried it. After the 2nd time I used it, my husband made popcorn and I could not smell it!!! After only 2 uses and I was already losing my sense of smell and although it returned, I will not be using these products ever again.

I can’t wait for the ads telling you to join the class-action lawsuit to appear in the media…way to go FDA.

I lost my sense of taste and small after 3 days if use…that was over s year ago and it had never returned! I’d join that class action lawsuit!! Two of five senses gone??!! Quality of life greatly diminished!!!

I have seasonal allergies (spring) and for about 3 springs I used Nasacort daily. I lost most of my sense of smell and taste gradually over that period of time. I did not relate it to the Nasacort at first, but I’m pretty sure that’s what did it. I stopped using it altogether about 3 years ago and the sense of smell/taste has never returned to normal. The only plus side is that I can change a dirty diaper with no problem!

I too have lost my sense of smell and taste. Been on Zicam, Nasacort but mostly stuck to Flonase since it was prescribed. I have had periods where u could smell and taste and then it disappears again. I had balloon sinuplasty and procedure to shave down deviated septum and trim off a turbinate to help control sinus infections. But the congestion from seasonal allergies is why the Flonase was prescribed. Vi threw it out today and I’m going to go back to saline rinses only for congestion. This is what the first allergist I went to prescribed. We all should start a class action suit against GSK

It’s unfortunate that there is a lack of awareness that corticosteroids (and similar steroids) have this side effect. I personally suffer from a rare inflammatory skin condition and usually end up on oral prednisone once a year for about 3 weeks (when topical triamcinalone cream stops working).

I lose my sense of taste and smell about 6 to 8 days into the treatment regimen. It takes 2 to 3 weeks for smell/taste to return after I discontinue treatment). I have never heard of this occurring with a topical medication. I know of patients who have had cortisol injections into inflamed joints and they DO report loss of smell/taste. It makes sense that Flonase will result in these side effects. It is applied directly to the nasal mucosa and there is considerable systemic absorption.

I have prescribed powerful topical steroid eye drops to my patients and no one has yet to report any side effects with regards to smell/taste. Unfortunately the FDA rarely hears the little voices, including those of us in health care.

I have recommended Flonase as an OTC therapy for mild ocular allergies. I will make sure I warn my patients that this side effect may occur. I hope all of you recover, and please make sure you inform your health care providers of your side effects. Class action may be the appropriate course to raise awareness.

I just started using Flonase off and on for about a week for allergic rhinitis. After a few days, I noticed an odd, unfamiliar odor was pervading my taste and smell perception, which were greatly reduced.

After reading comments on this blog and elsewhere, I’ve realized Flonase is the culprit. I am immediately stopping the use of this product. The manufacturer should be sued, as far as I’m concerned. I will update as to the status of my symptoms.

I too used Flonase I started it back in August of 2015 I noticed my sense of smell and taste is gone I just recently figured out that it was the Flonase after racking my brain I actually got scared that I might have had a brain tumor but it was the Flonase I know that now for sure after seeing some of the the comments on the internet hi call Jacoby and Meyers and I reported the situation and I gave them a website about the FDA and a manufacturer of the drug they both know that both loss of sense and smell was a side effect but did not put it on the packaging the law office said that they were going to research it and get back with me and yes I lost my sense of smell in August of 2015 and it has not come back I was a lover of chocolate but no more it tastes horrible

This has happened to me after using fluticasone a for a couple of weeks.
Food tastes strange, mostly bad. I love some big IPAs but anything bitter tastes absolutely horrible, especially beer. I poured a whole six-pack of Founders Centennial IPA down the drain because it tasted like it had gone bad.
No. It wasn’t the beer. It was me that’s gone bad.
Who do I sue?

I am using Avamys nasal steroid spray because of allergic polyps.
I am suffering of total loss of smell for two months now.
I am not a doctor but I see the mechanism of these steroids is to shrink polyps, however I think it shrinks the nasal smell sense passage as well.
ENT doctors will tell you no side effects, but loss of smell is a fact for long usage of steroids.

I only used prescription Flonase twice in July 2015, and quit because all I could smell and taste was like burnt metal. 7 months later, it’s somewhat better, but nothing tastes or smells like it should, and lots of food I used to love is very unappealing. I wish I had been warned about this side effect, because it is very depressing to not be able to enjoy eating anymore.

I can tell anyone who want to know that Flonase ruined my sense of smell. I only used it for a couple of weeks. I still smell things but smells I used to love now smell rancid to me. Some of my favorite foods and drink now smell repulsive! It’s been almost a year now and no improvement.

Ugh. I started Flonase last week and for a couple days I’ve had this smoke smell lingering in my nose. I read package inserts carefully before I start a new drug, and it said NOTHING about losing my sense of smell. I haven’t lost mine, but I will quit it now and find ways to help my sinus’ without something that would pretty much ruin my life, since I am a cook. Too bad because it really helped my symptoms, but it’s not worth it.

Flonase almost killed me. My cardiologist told me he had a patient that actually had a heart attack from using it. I completely lost my sense of smell but it has returned (not completely) after about a month of being Flonase free. I am hoping it all comes back one of these days.

In 2009 I had a common cold. I took no Flonase, no Zicam, and lost my sense of smell entirely. I could still taste salty, sweet, bitter. Luckily some of my sense of small has returned over time but I often have troubles enjoying food.

Often the very conditions that we take medications for can cause taste and smell problems all by themselves. Could Flonase cause anosmia? Possibly but it’s very hard to say. Without a study showing that cold and allergy sufferers who don’t take Flonase are less likely to have taste and smell problems there isn’t much to go on. If the anecdotal reports seem really really numerous like for Zicam maybe that tells us to worry.

I have great sympathy to anyone who has completely lost their sense of smell. It sucks big time. I’ve experienced some partial loss myself. I’ve been looking at studies and I think intranasal theophylline might show some promise for treating anosmia/hyposmia. I may take a trip to a taste and smell clinic sometime to see if I can get on something like that. In my case I’ve tried all kinds of supplements and I don’t think they did much.

Oddly it seems like if I don’t get daily caffeine my sense of smell decreases. May have something to do with caffeine’s influence on cyclic AMP. Good luck all of you. God bless.

I too lost my sense of smell around 2009 and it has never returned. It’s a very sad thing.

I used flonase for only one week it didn’t help my allergy so I stopped. Then I started to notice that things smelled different some of my favorite foods and drinks smell revolting! I didn’t really think about the nasal spray until the problem didn’t go away and I started to backtrack to find the problem! It was over the counter brand and the thought never occurred to me that it would damage my smell! It has ruined eating and drinking many of my favorite foods and drinks. I keep hoping my sense of smell will return to normal but it’s been almost 8 months and it hasn’t happened. :(

After using Flonase for about a week, my sense of smell disappeared, and is now replaced with a permanent smell of chemicals of some sort. It started with running tap water. I thought there was something wrong with the water, but little by little the smell extended to everything that gets close to me.
Everythng I eat smells like chemicals used to make plastics or something else.
Any ideas on this?

Oh no! Me too! I’ve been using Nasacort for a couple of months and now all I smell is a waxy chemical smell. It’s unbearable….it even wakes me up in the middle of the night. No more Nasacort for me. My doctor suggested I use it, I wish I’d never listened. I can’t taste food or smell any subtle anything….

I found this via search. I just started trying Flonase 2 days ago and it seems like I cannot taste things as clearly. I normally have a pretty strong sense of smell and taste and it does feel compromised just after the 2 applications, so I will discontinue its use.

Hi Beth,
I’m an attorney in Colorado. Did your sense of smell or taste return to normal after you discontinued use?

I’ve been for a while on Flonase, a couple of years at least. I’m out of it now as I’m very sure it was the cause of losing my sense of smell.

Before I started using it my congestion was incredible bad but I had very sensible sense of smell, I have to recognize that Flonase + Zyrtec + Asmanex changed my life completely. I was at a point where I could not run for 20 minutes without having to take a 30 minutes hot shower to counter the asthma effects until I got to use the mix mentioned above.

Now, without Flonase, definitively I have a lot of congestion now, but I can fight it with Sudafed from time to time + Zyrtec everyday, exercise and watching what I eat… but my sense of smell is gone (90% at least). A little bit came back, but not noticeable on a day to day basis.

Maybe when my congestion is gone I may regain some, it’s tough to tell now… during the day when I take deep breaths thorough the nose or strong exhalations I may sense something… Chocolate, smoke… but nothing like before Flonase.

In retrospect, my advice will be to stay away from Flonase if you can fight your congestion in any other way. From what I’m reading, there might be no coming back from losing the sense of smell due to Flonase.

I’ve been using Flonase for one week and my sense of smell and taste are gone. It’s funny how they put scent in it so that you don’t realize that it’s causing the loss of senses until they are gone. I’m not sure what to do? I guess I’ll try the zinc thing? Bummed.

Yes, me too. I’ve lost it once, regained it, now I’m in the midst of losing it again. Flonase is certainly the culprit, as nothing else has changed in my regimen. Thanks to your article–and the comments–I am going to stop using this drug immediately and find a replacement. Any ideas for that?

I had a common cold combined with seasonal allergies and started using Flonase about 2 months ago 5/15.
I lost my sense of smell almost immediately. After a couple of weeks of no sense of smell and no congestion, I went to my doctor to see if there was some other problem and he recommended continuing the use of Flonase, which I did for about a week. My sense of smell did not return and I quit using Flonase. I suspected the loss of smell might have something to do with Flonase and found other sites like this, which have confirmed my suspicions.
At this point, after over a month of discontinuing the use of Flonase, I have recovered about 10% of my sense of smell and after reading other people’s comments I am beginning to fear this will be more or less permanent.
I am surprised other posters seem so unconcerned about their loss of smell. This is a big deal. No smell and you lose most of your sense of taste, which ruins one of life’s great pleasures. I am or was a wine geek with a few thousand dollars worth of nice Cabs in my cellar, which I can no longer enjoy. I was also a foodie which is now history.
Isn’t there anything we can do to get our sense of smell back? If not, why isn’t loss of smell listed on the Flonase bottle as a side effect. I certainly would not have used Flonase if there was any chance I could lose my sense of smell.

I starting taking zinc about a week ago & my sense of smell is coming back rapidly. I am just now realizing that fluticasone is the reason it went away. For me, the advice to try zinc came from a nutritionist working with me to change my diet, trying to figure out why so many foods didn’t appeal to me, i.e. had no taste, and she felt I had a zinc deficiency. I’ve used the fluticasone intermittently for several years. No more!

My brother has used nasal steroids for years and has lost his sense of smell as well. I use them off and on and have the same problem.

Did your sense of smell recover more than the 10%? I used a similar product for only 3 days and can’t smell or taste anything at all. I, too, fear this is permanent.

I lost my sense of smell totally and taste substantially after changing nasal spray from Flonase to Nasacort 4 weeks ago. My ENT Dr. said he could not find any cause to the loss and told me to consult a neurologist. I’ve stopped taking Nasacort 4 days ago, still can’t smell anything, hoping this will help get my sense of smell back. J

Steroid nasal sprays can trigger hypomania in bipolar disorder, just as steroids such as prednisone, etc. can. Even though the amount of steroid contained in the nasal sprays seems to be very small, it is enough to have this effect. Unfortunately, I learned this by experience.

Last year, my mother 87 years of age lost most all of her sense of taste and smell. Through some internet research I found that taking Zinc could possibly help such symptoms. We tried it and it worked like a minor miracle for her. Give it a try might provide some help. By the way her symptoms were not induced by nasal sprays. She thought it was attributed to getting older.

This happened to me several years ago. I carefully used the minimum dose of the steroid spray for seasonal allergy, but lost the ability to taste/smell my food. I stopped when I made the connection. After months, some of the sense of taste/smell seemed to come back. But it has never been the same. I believe I lost part of my taste/smell senses permanently.

Instead, I use the hypertonic nasal solution during allergy season– definitely recommend that. This solution was recommended by my allergy doctor also. It’s a mix of water, rock salt (no iodine or any other additive), and baking soda.

I had a similar experience–lost the ability to smell and taste after use of nasal steroids in 2003. Permanent, unfortunately. It was helpful to see this article, since there doesn’t appear to be any research about this.

I lost my sense of smell in 2005. I had not thought about Flonase being a culprit, but I had been using Zycam as well, and thought that could have something to do with it. It is now 10 years and no real change since the loss. Now I can smell smoke and burning things, and many chemical smells, although all in a very reduced way. Cannot seem to smell most biological smells, so I get cat box duty by default. 8^)

I’ve partially lost my smell about a moth ago after using fluticasone, went to see a ent Dr, there was nothing he could about my smelling, feel so helpless…

I also lost my sense of taste from the use of a inhalator. It has only come back partially. I understand I may not fully recover it. Very disappointing. I can only cook from experience now.

Those steroid nose sprays make my nose bleed. So I use a neti pot twice a day, and take loratadine. The loratadine has been the best thing since apple pie.

I had been using nasacort for a few years for nasal polyps. When it stopped being effective I stopped using it. My quality of life was awful primarily due to lack of sleep. I could taste salt, sweet, bitter and sour and smell absolutely nothing. I have a wonderful allergist who tried digestive enzymes to rule out food allergies. They weren’t ruled out. They were the cause of the severe nasal swelling with the polyps. I had to eliminate a lot of foods (11) and am still in the testing/trial and error phase. Cane and beet sugar and soy seem to me to be the biggest causes of my problems. My sense of smell and taste have partially returned. It’s extra work to eat this way and I miss those foods, sometimes more than others, but not enough to go back to my life those past few months. I can breath through my mouth, sleep at night and smell the sweet magnolias while on vacation! I am steroid free! Find an allergist that thinks outside the box.

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