In this article, we explain the difference between the various formulations of Flonase.
Nose Spray

Overview

February 2017 marks the launch of the OTC (over the counter) product Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate). Flonase (Fluticasone Propionate) has been available over the counter since 2015 so the question must be asked: What is the difference between the two products?

Flonase Products

There are in fact three different over the counter steroid nasal sprays that all contain Fluticasone. These products are:

- Flonase
- Flonase Sensimist
- ClariSpray

Flonase and ClariSpray both contain Fluticasone Propionate. Flonase Sensimist contains Fluticasone Furoate.  Flonase Sensimist is the OTC version of the prescription product Veramyst, which will be discontinued shortly after the launch of Flonase Sensimist.​

Fluticasone Propionate VS. Fluticasone Furoate


Although Fluticasone Propionate and Fluticasone Furoate are similar in name and chemical structure, they are two different drug molecules with distinct properties. They are often confused as simply different salt forms of the same drug, but that is not the case. 

Multiple studies have shown that Fluticasone Furoate binds more strongly to the site of action, the glucocorticoid receptor, than Fluticasone Propionate. While this certainly is a distinct difference between the two drugs, it is not known whether this stronger binding affinity is clinically relevant​.​


In regards to Flonase (Fluticasone Propionate) and Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate), there are some differences:

  • Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate) may be gentler on the nasal passages and better tolerated.  According to the manufacturer, Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate) has a patented spray mechanism that delivers the medication more gently than other products. This gentler spray may also result in less dripping from the nostrils.

  • Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate) is approved for use in children aged 2 years and older. Flonase (Fluticasone Propionate) is approved for children aged 4 years and older. So if you want to use a Flonase product for a child under 4, your only option is Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate).

  • Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate) may be more effective for red, itchy and watery eyes. Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate) has a FDA approved indication for treatment of itchy & watery eyes due to allergies while Flonase (Fluticasone Propionate) does not. If you are having trouble with allergy symptoms in your eye (redness, itching, watering), Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate) may be a better option.​

Cost

You can expect to pay slightly more for Flonase Sensimist (Fluticasone Furoate).  A 120 spray bottle costs around $25-30 while a 120 spray bottle of Flonase (Fluticasone Propionate) costs around $20-25.​