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What to know about Flonase withdrawal

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Withdrawal symptomsSafely stopping FlonaseIs it addictive?Other treatmentsSummary
Flonase is a corticosteroid nasal spray that treats seasonal allergies and other allergic symptoms. It does not usually cause withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it.
Medically reviewed by Alyssa Peckham, PharmD, BCPP
Written by Gina Vaughan
Updated on November 13, 2023

Flonase is a nasal spray containing a corticosteroid that helps manage irritation in your nose and sinus lining. It’s a brand name for the generic medication fluticasone.

It slows down the function of chemicals in your body that trigger inflammation. People commonly use Flonase to get relief from allergic and nonallergic nasal symptoms like a runny or itchy nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing.

Some corticosteroid medications are often associated with causing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them, but Flonase is not known to cause withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms

A person sitting down and using a Flonase nasal inhaler, maybe wondering about Flonase withdrawal.
Photography by ProfessionalStudioImages/Getty Images

It is common for people taking corticosteroid medications to have concerns over withdrawal symptoms, alongside its side effects and dependence. But this is mostly in cases of topical or oral steroid medications rather than inhaled corticosteroids like fluticasone (Flonase).

Reducing doses of Flonase gradually (tapering) to avoid withdrawal symptoms is not usually necessary. This is because it does not typically cause significant withdrawal symptoms.

Congestion is the main symptom to keep a watch when stopping Flonase. Typically, whatever caused your initial symptoms may return, especially if you live with chronic allergies or a condition like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and you do not switch to an alternative treatment. Other symptoms may be:

  • runny nose
  • sore throat
  • postnasal drip
  • sneezing
  • headache
  • sinus pressure
  • difficulty breathing (due to sinus inflammation)

Withdrawal symptoms are more common when taking oral or topical steroids. To avoid this, healthcare professionals decrease your dose gradually, known as tapering. Withdrawal from suddenly stopping oral steroids such as prednisone can present with symptoms including:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • pain in muscles and joints
  • nausea and vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

There’s usually a link between the symptoms and the amount and duration of the steroids your doctor prescribes.

How to safely stop Flonase

Typically, you can stop using Flonase nasal spray without tapering. But if you have been taking it for an extended period or you are taking other oral steroids, talk with your doctor. They may wish to gradually reduce your dose.

If you have a long-term (chronic) condition like COPD, stopping Flonase might cause a return of your symptoms. You should not stop taking it unless your doctor recommends it. They might switch you to a different treatment method.

Is Flonase addictive?

There is no research evidence to show that Flonase or other corticosteroid nasal sprays are addictive medications. But you should ensure to follow the prescribing doctor’s guidance. You should only take Flonase once or twice per day, depending on what you’re using it for.

Other treatments

If Flonase is not working for you, there are several other treatments that may provide relief, both natural and medical. Always be sure to check with a doctor before starting any new health regimen or supplements.

Nasal irrigation

Nasal irrigation is a technique that uses saline to flush out your sinuses. It can help relieve congestion and other sinus symptoms. These are certain pots to assist you in nasal irrigation, known as “Neti pots.” Electric nasal irrigators are also available.

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Saline nasal spray

Easier for traveling or on-the-go administration, saline spray is a salt water mixture in a small bottle. You can take it just like Flonase. It will help you with nasal decongestion.

Sinus massage

A doctor might recommend a sinus massage to reduce congestion, pressure, and pain in the sinuses. You can use your fingers to massage the perinasal sinuses gently but firmly to assist with drainage and relieve pain.

Steam

Steam is a popular home remedy for relieving sinus pressure due to colds, congestion, or sinus infections. By boiling water, it produces a water vapor that can be beneficial to loosen mucus and assist in opening nasal passages. As the sinus opens, blow your nose frequently to help remove mucus and open airways.

Grapefruit seed extract (GFSE)

According to recent research, grapefruit seed extract has both antiviral and antibacterial effects. It can relieve congestion and sinus infection and also helps relieve coronavirus symptoms.

In many countries, people use GFSE for its effective antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. This helps to manage bacterial infections, sinus infections, and inflammation of the sinus cavities.

Natural anti-inflammatories

Some foods naturally have anti-inflammatory properties that help decrease inflammation in the body. Increasing your intake of these foods can help with sinus inflammation and swelling. Some of the top anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • berries
  • fatty fish (such as salmon, anchovies, sardines)
  • broccoli
  • turmeric
  • green tea
  • mushrooms
  • ginger

Other medications

If Flonase is not working for you, a doctor might decide to prescribe other medications. These include:

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Summary

Living with nasal congestion or sinus pressure due to seasonal allergies, nonallergic rhinitis, or conditions like COPD or asthma can be frustrating and significantly affect your quality of life.

Unlike oral steroids, Flonase (fluticasone propionate) does not usually require tapering down doses to avoid withdrawal symptoms. This allows Flonase to help manage the irritation in the nose and sinus lining and help ease those symptoms without the worry of dependency.

Always consult a doctor before changing your medications and talk about medication interactions with any medicines you may already be taking.

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