Watch out allergies! A new weapon has entered the OTC (over the counter) market in the battle against nasal congestion, runny/itchy nose and sneezing due to allergies: Nasacort Allergy 24HR. In this article I will briefly review this product and tell you what I think of it. I am a pharmacist, and have no financial ties to the makers of Nasacort Allergy 24HR.
WHAT IS NASACORT ALLERGY 24HR?
Nasacort Allergy 24HR is the first ever OTC nasal steroid product. Such products have been available by prescription for years. For a review of some of the various prescription nasal sprays on the market, CLICK HERE. One such prescription product was Nasacort AQ which contains 55 mcg (that’s MICROgrams) of a steroid known as triamcinolone per dose. Nasacort Allergy 24HR is the OTC version of Nasacort AQ and is available in exactly the same strength as the prescription product.
There are currently many OTC options for patients who suffer from allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny/stuffy nose and itchy/watery eyes. These include OTC products like:
Antihistamines: Antihistamines block the effect of histamine (released in response to an allergen) on other cells and work well to help reduce sneezing and runny nose. Many non-drowsy options are available and most can be taken once daily for the ultimate in convenience. I always remind patients that antihistamines used for allergies take several days to be working at their best. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist to determine if you should take an antihistamine.
Decongestants: Nasal decongestants (like pseudoephedrine) help decrease nasal congestion by shrinking swollen nasal membranes. They come in oral tablets and nasal sprays. Products containing pseudoephedrine must be sold behind the pharmacy counter and require showing a photo ID to help reduce the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine. As with antihistamines, check with your doctor or pharmacist if a nasal decongestant is right for you.
Nasacort Allergy 24HR is now the only nasal steroid available OTC for patients suffering from upper respiratory allergy symptoms.
USING NASACORT ALLERGY 24HR
Nasacort Allergy 24HR is easy to use. When you first buy it, you will need to prime the inhaler (you will also need to prime it if you do not use it for 2 weeks or more). Priming simply involves giving it a gentle shake, then spraying it into the air (don’t spray into your eyes) until a fine mist is produced.
For initial treatment, the manufacturer recommends using 2 sprays in each nostril once daily (that means a total of 4 sprays per day). Once your symptoms improve, they recommend decreasing to just 1 spray in each nostril once daily. Nasacort Allergy 24HR is not to (and should not) be used more than once daily. It lasts for 24 hours, hence the name. Some symptoms may see improvement within 1 day, but it may also take up to 7 days of daily use to see the full benefits.
NOTE: Currently the product is available in either 60 sprays or 120 sprays per container. At the recommended initial dose of 4 sprays daily, 120 sprays will last 30 days.
So what do I think of the new Nasacort Allergy 24HR? I’m actually pretty excited to see it available without a prescription. It is safe, safer in my opinion than other nasal sprays currently available. It is easy to use. Clinical studies have proven the effectiveness of nasal steroids for allergy symptoms.
The one down side is that the availability of an OTC nasal steroid might mean that prescription plans will stop covering the prescription versions. But in the case of nasal steroids, other generic prescription options are still available and typically still covered. Plus, going OTC as a brand name is the first step into having an OTC generic version eventually. That will bring the cost down even more.
Depending on where you buy it, you will probably pay $30 to $40 per month on Nasacort Allergy 24HR. I have seen some good deals available on Amazon.
If you have a prescription insurance plan, and you want to try Nasacort Allergy 24HR, you might consider asking your doctor to phone in a prescription for the original prescription version, Nasacort AQ. The pharmacy will typically fill the generic. You can call the pharmacy and ask what your copay for the prescription version is (remember, the OTC version is EXACTLY the same strength). If your copay is less than what you could buy it for OTC, then get the prescription version.
Nasacort Allergy 24HR has a variety of resources that you can access for more information about their product.
Check out THEIR WEBSITE for consumers.
Check out THEIR WEBSITE for health care professionals.
Check out THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE and if you click on the “MORE” tab, you will see a coupon offer. You have to install their coupon printing software to print it out. It only takes a minute, but it is a bit of a nuisance. Still, the coupon will save your $5.00.
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