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What Are the Different Types of Prescription Nasal Spray?

If you are given a prescription nasal spray for allergies or some other condition, have your doctor or nurse demonstrate the proper administration.
Prescription nasal spray.
There are various kinds of nasal sprays.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2014
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Prescription nasal spay is a specific type of medication that is administered through the nasal cavities and most frequently is a class of allergy medication. Some prescription nasal sprays may be recommended for nasal congestion or runny nose. There are several different types of prescription nasal sprays available and they are usually recommended based on the symptoms or condition the medication is needed to treat. The most common type of prescription nasal spray is the nasal steroid, which is typically prescribed to treat nasal allergies.

Topical nasal steroids, such as fluticasone propionate, also known as Flonase®, and fluticasone furoate, also known by the brand name Veramyst®, are generally the most effective form of prescription nasal treatment for allergies. Unlike antihistamines, which block certain receptors triggered by allergens, topical nasal steroids work directly on the nasal passages to reduce swelling and inflammation, a common reaction to allergens. Swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages can cause congestion, sneezing, and discomfort. Many topical nasal steroids are safe for children as young as two to use, but can be difficult to administer to little ones.

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Other types of prescription nasal spray include topical anticholinergics, which are designed to dry up nasal secretions and are sometimes prescribed for chronic runny nose and rhinitis, both allergic and non-allergic in nature. Conversely, nasal sprays that include saline and provide moisture to nasal passages are available over the counter as are some nasal decongestants. Topical anticholinergics are less commonly prescribed for allergies than topical nasal steroids and do not treat nasal congestion.

A prescription nasal spray is a topical medication, meaning it works by treating the nasal passages directly, rather than being absorbed into the bloodstream. The administration of medication is in measured doses, based on the container. These doses are administered by squirting or misting the medication into the nasal passages through each nostril. Proper administration of nasal spray increases the effectiveness of the medications as well as reduces side effects. Reported side effects of prescription nasal sprays are typically mild and include dry nasal passages and irritation, nosebleeds, and bad taste. Sometimes throat irritation or discomfort when swallowing is possible, but this can often be the result of improperly administrating the medication.

If you are given a prescription nasal spray for allergies or some other condition, have your doctor or nurse demonstrate the proper administration. Also keep in mind that “snorting” or strongly inhaling a nasal spray can result in the most of the medication bypassing the nasal cavity and going straight to the back of the throat. Always try to inhale nasal spray as if smelling something rather than snorting and keep the held titled slightly forward while administering the spray.

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