New OTC Nasal Sprays: What You Should Know!
Payal D. Patel, PharmD, Resident/
Mar 30th, 2015
Now that allergy season is here, so are concerns of runny noses, itchy watery eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing. Many people turn to their pharmacists at this time for a good recommendation to help manage these symptoms. While there is no cure of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, there are many treatment options that you can get without a prescription right at our pharmacy!
Antihistamines, such as Allegra®, Zyrtec® and Claritin®, are a standard first choice option for treating allergies as they are very helpful in managing sneezing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes that come with hay fever. Decongestants are usually recommended to help manage the nasal congestion that accompanies those other symptoms. Oral decongestants like Sudafed™ are great for managing the stuffy feeling caused by congestion but they also come with a slew of side effects ranging from difficulty sleeping to nervousness, and they can affect blood pressure. Nasal sprays are also often used to help treat allergy symptoms associated with hay fever or allergic rhinitis. But there are some new anti-inflammatory nasal sprays available without prescription you should know about that are dramatically superior for long term relief. These new sprays can be taken along with antihistamines, and are a great alternative to oral and nasal decongestants as they carry less of a risk of side effects.
Not all nasal sprays are created equal. There are two main OTC categories. Here’s what you should know:
- Nasal Decongestant Sprays
o Work very quickly to help clear stuffy noses and can be used as a rescue treatment
o According to the Mayo Clinic, using nasal decongestant sprays for more than 3-5 days may result in a medical condition called rebound congestion that requires more and more medication to treat congestion
o Nasal Decongestants available over the counter include Afrin® (oxymetazoline) and Neo-Synephrine® (phenylephrine)
- Anti-inflammatory Nasal Sprays
o Nasal corticosteroid sprays are considered the best option for treating allergies because they work well without many serious side effects
o They relieve symptoms of congestion like stuffy nose and irritation, however they require a few days to become fully effective and therefore are best if used regularly
o They DO NOT cause rebound congestion and can be used for long periods of time, even years
o Nasal Anti-inflammatory Sprays available for purchase without a prescription include Nasacort Allergy®-24 hour (triamcinolone) and Flonase®(fluticasone)
Want to learn more about allergies and nasal sprays? Contact your local pharmacist or click on the links below:
Payal D. Patel, PharmD, Resident