A nasal steroid spray is a medication which is used to manage issues such as allergies, nasal inflammation, and nasal polyps with steroids which are sprayed directly into the nose. The dosage is generally low, and using a nasal steroid spray is not dangerous, although there may be some cases in which it is not advised or is actively contraindicated. As always when a new medication is prescribed, it is advisable to get information about how the medication should be used, why it is being prescribed, and what kind of side effects to expect.
Nasal steroid sprays deliver steroids directly to the mucus membranes of the nose in the form of a spray which emerges from a nozzle when the patient pushes a button. The membranes of the nose readily absorb the steroids, allowing a small dose to be delivered because the bulk of the drug which reach the intended area. Some examples of nasal steroid sprays include Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort.
A doctor may prescribe a nasal steroid spray when a patient has an issue such as chronic sinusitis, emerging nasal polyps, nasal inflammation, seasonal allergies, or excessive mucus production. It can take as long as two weeks for the effects of the medication to be observed. A doctor will usually give directions about how many times a day to use the spray, and how long the spray should be used. The doctor may also request a follow up appointment to examine the patient in order to determine whether or not the nasal steroid spray is effective.
Using a spray can be an alternative to surgery, leading some doctors to try it before recommending surgical procedures to address issues like sinusitis and polyps. The spray can also help patients feel more comfortable during allergy season, and may be useful in managing seasonal allergies as a result.
The use of nasal steroid spray in pregnant women appears to be safe, and is actually safer than oral or inhaled steroids because of the lower dosages, although it is a good idea to discuss potential risks with a doctor before using the medication. Some steroids may be expressed in breastmilk, however, so breastfeeding women should consult their doctors before using a nasal steroid spray. In young children, steroids can interfere with growth and development, and a nasal steroid spray may not be recommended unless it is absolutely needed, and being used for a short period of time.