Difference between Nasonex, Flonase and Nasacort

Updated on December 3, 2017

Nasonex, Flonase, and Nasacort are medications administered for the treatment of nasal symptoms caused by allergies. However, these drugs are not usually used interchangeably. This article explains the differences between these three medications.



Nasonex is a trade name for a nasal spray medication used for the treatment of sneezing, runny nose, and congestion brought about by year-round or seasonal allergies. It is prescribed to individuals who are at least 2 years old. In addition to being an anti-allergy medication, Nasonex is prescribed to adults experiencing nasal polyps.

This nasal decongestant contains mometasone furoate monohydrate, a corticosteroid with anti-inflammatory properties. The generic name of Nasonex is mometasone.

Nasonex poses a low risk of causing side effects unless it gets into the bloodstream. Common Nasonex side effects include headaches, sore throat, cough, and flu-like symptoms. Consult with a doctor if signs of long-term steroid use appear. These include weight gain, slow wound healing, increased body hair, thinning skin, changes in sexual drive, depression, tiredness, anxiety, high irritability, and more.


Flonase is a brand name for an over-the-counter nasal decongestant spray used to treat symptoms caused by seasonal or year-round allergies. These symptoms include nasal congestion, watery or itchy eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. Its active ingredient is fluticasone, a corticosteroid that inhibits the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Flonase is normally administered to adults and children over 4 years of age and is available without a prescription. Fluticasone nasal is the generic name of Flonase.

Flonase can cause a marked decrease of blood cells that help the body resist infections. Thus, individuals taking Flonase are advised against coming in close proximity to people suffering from infections or illnesses. Being exposed to measles or chicken pox can be a serious health risk or even fatal to people taking Flonase. A doctor must be contacted at the onset of symptoms such as severe or continuous nose bleeding, crusting around the nostrils, white patches on the throat or mouth, sores, fevers, nausea, blurred vision, and more.

Common symptoms brought on by Flonase include an itching or “burning nose,” minor nosebleeding, cough, back pain, headache, sore throat, and sinus pain, among others.


Nasacort, or Nasacort AQ, is a trade name for triamcinolone (nasal), and is an over-the-counter medication used to alleviate nasal allergy symptoms (e.g. runny nose, itching, sneezing) caused by long-term or seasonal allergies and allergic rhinitis (i.e. hay fever). Triamcinolone is an active ingredient of Nasacort, and works by stopping the release of substances in the body that induce inflammation. It is may also be administered for other purposes not mentioned in this article.

Similar to other steroid-based anti-allergy nasal sprays, Nasacort lowers the body’s ability to fight infection. Individuals using this medication are strongly advised not to be near people who are ill. If symptoms of an allergic reaction to Nasacort (e.g. face swelling, hives, difficulty breathing) are triggered, immediate medical attention is required. This medication may also cause serious side effects such as appetite or weight loss, nausea, flu symptoms, body aches, unusual weakness, and blurred vision, to name a few. Less serious side effects may also include, sneezing, a stinging or bleeding in the nose, a sore throat, cough, watery eyes, and more.

Nasonex vs Flonase vs Nasacort

So what’s the difference between Nasonex, Flonase, and Nasacort? While all of them are steroid-based nasal allergy medications, these drugs differ in a few aspects, particularly in their ingredients and generic names. Nasonex can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription while Flonase and Nasacort are available as over-the-counter medications. Nasonex contains a steroid called mometasone furoate monohydrate while Flonase contains fluticasone propionate. Nasacort contains triamcinolone acetonide.

In terms of efficacy, it takes up to two weeks for Nasonex to clear nasal allergy symptoms, while Flonase may take several days. Nasacort may take up to a week to take care of the same nasal allergy symptoms.

Comparison Chart

Prescription onlyOver-the-counterOver-the-counter
Available under the generic name mometasoneAvailable under the generic name fluticasoneAvailable under the generic name triamcinolone
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