Flonase nasal spray has become a very popular allergy treatment.

Corticosteroids (cortisone-like drugs such as prednisone) are very effective at easing irritation and inflammation in the upper respiratory tract (nose and lungs).

The problem with oral steroids, however, is that they come with a long list of side effects if they are used on a regular basis (cataracts, glaucoma, fluid retention, high blood pressure, muscle weakness, weakened bones, peptic ulcer, mood swings, etc.)

Ingredients in nasal sprays, however, are less likely to be absorbed into the body and cause such serious adverse reactions.

Flonase is prescribed for allergic symptoms such as runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing, nasal itching, and congestion.

Side Effects and Interactions of Flonase

Nasal irritation and burning may sometimes accompany the use of Flonase. Other side effects may include sneezing, sore throat, nosebleeds, runny nose, nasal congestion, sinusitis, nasal dryness, or unpleasant taste. Headache, dizziness, itching, wheezing, skin rash, and nausea have also been reported.

In rare cases patients using corticosteroid nasal sprays have noted ulceration of the nasal tissues and perforation of the septum (the cartilage between the nostrils).

Cataracts and glaucoma are quite uncommon but may represent signs of systemic absorption.

Prolonged use at higher than recommended doses can increase the risk of such side effects. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Special Precautions of Using Flonase

Corticosteroid sprays are not supposed to be readily absorbed into the body. Nevertheless, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine (July 3, 1997) revealed that when asthma patients inhaled beclomethasone (found in Vanceril and Beclovent) for long periods of time, they experienced a substantial increase in cataract formation. An article in JAMA (March 5, 1997) noted that high doses of inhaled steroids (taken for more than three months) increased the risk for glaucoma. This suggests that at least for corticosteroid asthma inhalers there is absorption of the drug into the body.

Although Flonase is very effective for relieving nasal allergy symptoms, care must be taken not to overuse this spray.

Exceeding the recommended dose could lead to systemic absorption and side effects such as cataracts, glaucoma, reduced growth in children, fluid retention, acne, menstrual changes, enlarged face, and suppression of the body’s natural cortisol production.

People exposed to chicken pox or measles should contact a physician immediately. If the immune system is impaired (through excess corticosteroid exposure) these infections could become very serious. Anyone with TB, herpes infection of the eye, or an untreated bacterial, fungal, or viral infection should probably not use any corticosteroid nasal spray unless specifically told to do so by a physician.

If someone uses corticosteroid nasal sprays for prolonged periods of time (more than several months) he should be seen by a physician so an examination of the nasal mucosa can be carried out.

There have been rare cases of nasal septum perforation (a hole between the two nostrils) when such products are used for a long time.

Cases of yeast infections (Candida albicans) can occur with repeated use of any corticosteroid spray. If such an infection arises in the nose it will likely require suspension of Flonase and appropriate antifungal therapy.

If symptoms persist or someone experiences nasal irritation or breathing problems such as wheezing, a physician should be notified promptly. In rare cases pressure within the eye has increased after exposure to nasal steroid sprays.

People with a risk of glaucoma should be periodically checked by an ophthalmologist.

A woman who may become pregnant should talk with a physician before using any corticosteroid nasal spray.

Taking the Medicine

The initial dose of Flonase is two sprays in each nostril once daily. An alternate dosing schedule may be one spray in each nostril twice daily (e.g., once in the morning and once in the evening).

After symptom relief has been achieved (usually within a week or less) it may be possible to maintain adequate benefit from Flonase with just one spray in each nostril once daily.

Never exceed two sprays in each nostril per day.

Steroid nasal sprays do not relive symptoms immediately. It may take several days of regular use to experience benefit. If symptom relief is not noted within a week a physician should be consulted.

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  1. Cimmay

    Caused weight gain for me. Doctor will denied it. I gained 40 lbs, then after stopping flonase gradually lost 35 lbs.

  2. Daphne

    Dr. recommended Flonase for my seasonal allergies about 2 years ago. I used the SensiMist (one spray in each) since I’m pretty much a minimalist when it comes to meds and I try hard to avoid steroids. It certainly helped….BUT it was also the genesis of so many problems. I take levothoroxine, and my levels began fluctuating. Last fall I had an episode of anxiety and confusion after a particularly tiring weekend. It was so bad my husband took me to ER. Everything checked out fine.

    Began experiencing dry mouth and my sense of taste and smell were less acute. Thought it was related to new tooth whitening regimen so stopped that. Worsening thyroid issues. I developed painful cracks in the corners of my mouth. I stopped the Flonase about 3 weeks ago when the dry mouth became unbearable. Now I have candida in my mouth that is proving stubborn to treat….on an oral antifungal and magic mouthwash. My tongue, inner lips, and cheeks are raw and unbelievably sensitive. Eating is painful and unpleasant. Any acid sends me through the roof. I’ve lost 20 lbs. My lips peel constantly even using Aquaphor constantly. My sense of taste is minimal. After 3 weeks my thyroid meds need readjusting again. All this has really played with my wellbeing, always being quite healthy.

    I don’t think these reactions are as rare as they are portrayed. I’m back to being a minimalist. Good luck to all dealing with this. Some are seeing great improvement after getting off Flonase so that gives me hope. Thank you to Peoples Pharmacy for all that you do and for this forum which allows us to regain some sanity dealing with things such as these.

  3. moopy

    Flosnase gave me a 2 month long Vaginal yeast infection

  4. Leah
    New York (NY)

    I’ve been on Flonase for six months and my right arm starting going numb. Then lower back pain set in, numbness down my right leg and foot, pins and needles in hands. I’ve had an MRI in the last few years and I know it’s not onset of MS. I’ve read that this might be some of the rarer side effects from Flonase, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed and stopping use today. I had no idea there were so many side effects for this drug!

  5. Susan

    I was on flonase and allegra d for decades and then when I was 50, I was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes! My doctor told me I was her youngest patient. To this day I blame it on the flonase. I stopped it for at least a decade and started up again when I started getting side effects from allegra D. Well I have been using the flonase for less than a year again and the headaches are unbearable. I already suffer from wide spread osteoarthritis especially in my neck. I suffer from chronic migraines triggered by the weather and my osteoarthritis. But now the headaches are everyday with no weather changes and my neck hurts all the time. The last time I stopped the flonase, about a month ago, the headaches stopped. I am stopping it again because I cannot take living like this. It also keeps my blood pressure around 140/145 over 80 which is kind of off for me at age 68. My 30 year old son also stopped taking flonase when he was much younger because of headaches. I am done with flonase and will try and find an alternative for my allergies.

  6. Deanna
    The Colony, TX

    Ive been taking flonase and antibiotics for about 4 days now. I went to an urgent care center and the doctor said i had strep. I got a shot in each hip and he prescribed me with antibiotics and flonase. Ive never used a nasal spray before and ive taken antibiotics many times and had the same shots many times. I have never felt like i do now. My symptoms have included anxiety, racing heart, general weakness, sore throat, acid-reflux and burning lungs…. my nose is clear though I now have more problems than I did before i went to the doctor…

    • Deanna
      The Colony, TX

      Oh… and bloating of the stomach as well as constantly tasting flonase.

  7. BB

    DO NOT USE FLONASE!! I had a very frightening side effect from this dangerous drug. I have a bad cold, and my doctor recommended I use Flonase. I accidentally purchased the ‘child’ version instead of the adult version. I used the spray twice. The night I used the spray for the second time I was awakened by an extremely forceful burning sensation rising from my chest and lung area. My throat was burning. I was coughing. I could not catch my breath. I was wheezing. I vomited. I had crackling sounds coming from my lungs on exhalation, a severe headache and sore throat.

    The next day my throat was swollen, felt burnt, and the tissue inside my throat was different, as though it had been singed by the experience. This was the ‘child’ dosage!! I had never experienced anything remotely similar to this violent reaction in my life. Obviously, I did not use Flonase again and every one of those nasty symptoms has disappeared!! I use very few ‘drugs,’ especially OTC drugs and will seek more natural approaches to treat my symptoms in the future.

    I still have this terrible cold, but the ‘treatment’ of the symptoms was so much worse than the symptoms. I will eat chicken soup, rest, and let time work its natural healing process.

  8. Rhonda

    I used Flonase for the first time 2 weeks ago. I used a squirt and a half in one nostril the evening of July 4th. When I woke the next morning I had some swelling under my eye & a dark circle. As the day progressed the dark circle became a full on black eye. I also had a severe burning that went from my nostril up around my eye with a eye piercing headache which lasted about a week. I still have loss of taste. Has anyone ever experienced any of these side effects?

  9. Jerrica

    Hello! I’ve taken flonase fovealmost a year. I noticed my skin thinning and my hair falling out. A high level was being absorbed systemically. This drug is so dangerous. Especially for those with endocrine disorders/diseases. Wish i wouldve found out sooner.

    • Kathy

      Did your hair grow back? I have the same problem and stopped Flonase a week ago.

  10. Marie
    San Francisco

    After using Flonase for two weeks, my face broke out in severe acne and redness. It feels like my face is on fire. I have never in my life had acne. I stopped Flonase 2 days ago but the symptoms have not gotten any better. Hoping this will subside soon.

    • Robin

      My adult daughter and I have both been experiencing significant hair loss. We stopped using Flonase about a week ago. I hope we see some improvement soon.

      • Amy

        Robin, have you seen any improvement yet? I, too, have experienced significant hair loss with Flonase. I stopped one week ago, but I still had a handful of hair when running conditioner through it. Before starting Flonase I never experienced this. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

        • C

          I know this is almost a year later but I’ve experienced many symptoms. Among those was hair loss. When did your hair stop falling out after quitting Flonase?

          • Ramona

            So glad I found this chat room.
            I also am experiencing hair loss. Stopped using the spray 2 weeks ago
            Can someone please tell me when it will stop & is it reversalabe.
            Thank you.

  11. Millie
    Cambridge, MA

    I am amazed to hear about weak muscles in legs…I have been on flonase about a year or so. I have developed aching calf muscles and a feeling of anxiety associated with a feeling of not being able to breathe after I use the spray sometimes. Lately heartburn and nausea and a burning tongue have been driving me crazy. How do I stop? Can I just stop suddenly?
    I did not want to use this.The doctor sort of pushed me into it.

  12. Eureka

    I have been taking Flonase for fifteen years. I thought this was the wonder drug for my sinuses, little did I know thirteen years of yeast infections were caused by this. No doctor ever told me that this could be the cause of them. Many dollars were spent trying medications and exposing my lady parts to doctors trying to figure out what was wrong with me! Testing up the wazoo and pure embarrassment. I quit Flonase five days ago and low and behold first day of quitting, no irritating itching and discharge. I think this company and the doctors need to educate themselves a bit more on this drug!!

    • MEJ
      St. Luis

      I had no idea about this either…. I started Flonase with an antibiotic so I assumed the yeast infection was caused by that, but months later, it was persistent, no discharge but swollen intense itching. I stopped all soaps, detergent, perfumes, etc. with no relief. So, on a hunch I stopped the Flonase…. overnight, the symptoms improved! I’m pretty well informed, but I had no idea….

  13. Your friend

    Flonase is the devil’s drug! I took it for two days and had heart palpitations, extreme anxiety, diarreah, and GI upset. I was so scared that I almost took myself to a psych ER. I also suspect it fatigued my adrenal gland, as I began to have trouble with hypoglycemia shortly after. If you’ve had a bad reaction, please inform the FDA soon–I did! It is frightening that it is the first line of defense in seasonal allergies…

    • Gerri

      I have been having a bout of palpitations anxiety high blood pressure and chest discomfort every spring for 4 years. 2 times it sent me to the ER. I am pretty sure I have figured it out to be caused by this nasal allergy spray! Devil drug for sure

  14. Emily

    My son took this for years along with topical steroids for eczema. He is now 15months into topical steroid withdrawal. He is off of all steroids & will hopefully never have to use them again (unless life saving) or he could through all of this again. It is horrible! Please read ITSAN.ORG if you think you may be addicted to TS or any other steroid.

  15. Sue

    Steroids are sooo dangerous!
    My young nephew is in his 14th month of withdrawal from topical steroids for eczema. Check out website for red face syndrome or ITSAN.

  16. John

    I took Fluticasone about 10 years ago and after two weeks of taking it I noticed changes in my peripheral vision and light flashes and eventually eye floaters in both of my eyes. Problem with peripheral vision and light flashes disapeared but the eye floaters stayed as a reminder of using nasal corticosteroids.

  17. Daffy

    I took a steroid nasal spray for about 2 years. It thinned the membranes in my nasal cavity, and I contracted a severe infection in the bone in my nose. These sprays should not be used long-term, they can cause lots of problems.

  18. Lynne
    Tampa, FL

    I’ve only been taking Flonase for about 6 weeks now. I noticed calf stiffness and increased anxiety but didn’t connect that to the drug until reading some of these posts. About 2 weeks ago I noticed a floater in my right eye. Within the last 2 weeks both eyes developed spider web floaters and they seem to be increasing. I’ve had some eye pain and flashing halo of lights. I’ve been to an ophthalmologist twice so far and told him what I was taking but he never mentioned that Flonase could be the cause. I’m thankful for these posts. I’m stopping it immediately. I can deal with the sinus issues but not loss of sight!

  19. Samantha

    I took it for awhile years and years ago when it first came on the market and it seemed to help with seasonal allergies. I stopped due to cost. Last week I saw an ENT after having a bit of difficulty swallowing. Got diagnosed with rhinitis and prescribed Flonase to help with mucus in my throat which is, according to the doctor who saw me, a symptom of silent GERD/acid reflux. Perhaps, but I’ve never had problems with acid reflux before and after using the Flonase I’m now burping a lot and having bouts of nausea and uncontrollable vomiting with no other reasonable explanation. It appears for me anyway, to be causing GERD/acid reflux, not helping with anything. Just threw it in the trash. Back to warm water and salt rinsing. It’s not great for allergies but it’s more natural.

  20. Rachel

    I was so happy with no allergy issues for two months, but the loss of sense of taste and smell, the weight gain and the dramatic decline in vision just aren’t worth it. I hope my body will forgive me and heal –especially the vision problems are scary. Does anyone know of a supplement that might help fix problems caused by Flonase?

  21. Neil
    Chandlers ford

    I have taken this and other corticosteroids for sinus issues and chronic allergy which remains undiagnosed. Unfortuantely after a week of taking the recommended dose of the nasal spray I usually become agitated, dizzy and chronically tired but unable to rest and relax. I have decided not to take these meds for any longer than 5 days maximum.

  22. M. Douglas

    How many more people have lost their sense of smell after using fluticasone?
    There is another forum where a number of people have posted about this.

    • J. M.

      Hi, I am responding to your question about loss of taste and smell after using fluticasone. I have taken “two snorts” (once a day) for 4 days now. After the first two snorts, I noticed a loss of taste and smell, but my congestion (nasal and chest) were worse, so I didn’t think too much about it… by day 3, the nasal congestion was improving. By day 4, I was feeling much better. HOWEVER, I cannot smell ANYTHING , and I can BARELY taste anything at all. My taste test included a variety of flavors…the ultimate being 1/2 teaspoon of chile de arbol salsa macha , which consists of HOT (15,000 – 30,000 scoville units) chile infused with oil. I chewed it in my mouth for about a minute before swallowing. I tasted no flavor and only about as much heat as Crystal or Taco Bell Hot sauce (not hot at all). Normally, I will not allow that much of the salsa to touch my tongue at once! This concerned me, so I started searching online….. I read that the longer you lose your sense of taste/smell (from flonase), the greater becomes your chance of not being able to recover your full range of senses (taste/smell). I read this in an online post/response conversation where the response was from an MD, and the patient had been using Flonase “longer term” (I don’t know how long) and still experienced significant loss of taste and smell after stopping the use of Flonase for over a year. Again, the MD stated that if the senses have not returned after a year of stopping the Flonase, it’s unlikely that additional improvement will be significant. Wishing you all a speedy recovery!

  23. Loretta M

    I have allergies and continuing sinus problems, and this has been going on for years. I was prescribed Flonase last week again. I’ve used it for a couple of years on and off. I started having blood pressure elevation, heart palpitations, and my last lab result has been elevated glucose levels, which I do not have usually. Also, I feel aggressive and angry for no good reason and snapped at a lady in the grocery store earlier today who had an attitude. Now, I’m a very nice person and this is uncharacteristic for me, that is why I googled Flonase side effects.I am glad for the comments on this website. I am going to check out alternative methods to helping my allergies and sinus problems without using these dangerous drugs. Thank you, People’s Pharmacy.

  24. Camille
    New York

    I was prescribed Flonase in February of this year and it is now May and I had to stop it. It is a very dangerous med. I have many friends that are nurses and I was informed that any type of steroid will increase blood pressure (which my blood pressure was fine) and also raise blood sugar level (which I do not have diabetes). I have heart palpitations and yes, my blood pressure raised and the itching of my entire body has been unbearable. Plus, I got a yeast infection. This medication should be reported to the FDA immediately and taken off the market. Doctors should also be away that just because a small majority do not get side effects, the fast majority do. I would rather tolerate my seasonal allergies than put up with this horrible nose spray. And by the way, my right nostril felt like the muscle would not stop throbbing. Please do not use Flonase or any other nasal spray with steroids. Hopefully the side effects will disappear. I will never understand how the FDA approved this monster med. Doctors should know better also.

    • Camille

      I am totally upset and should have remained with an old remedy. Steamed water, towel over the head and Vicks. Now that is what I call safe.

    • Tony

      Just curious, how did you get off Flonase? Did you taper off gradually or go cold-turkey. I’ve read that corticosteroids should be gradually reduced.

      • Grace

        I, like Tony, would also appreciate any information on how to best get off Flonase. I am at present going cold turkey for the second day, but I’m not sure if that’s the best way. I feel a bit of anxiety, but am excited to see if it is the cause of a diabetes diagnosis.

      • Terry

        My naturopath doctor recommended tapering off of flonase over one month period of time.

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