Nasal sprays (topical corticosteroid aerosols)
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Pill (oral-systemic) corticosteroids
Injected (systemic) corticosteroids
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When you take pill or injected (systemic) corticosteroids, the medicine travels throughout your body. This can result in serious side effects.
When you use nasal corticosteroids, most of the medicine stays in the nose and does not travel throughout the body. This results in fewer and less serious side effects than pill or injected corticosteroids.
You may use nasal corticosteroid sprays if your allergy symptoms are mostly in your nose. Your doctor may suggest them:
Pill or injected corticosteroids are not used as often as nasal corticosteroids because of the possible side effects. Your doctor may suggest them when:
Corticosteroids are the most effective medicine currently available for allergic rhinitis.
All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.
Here are some important things to think about:
Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:
Call your doctor if you have:
Common side effects of oral corticosteroids include:
Common side effects of inhaled corticosteroids include:
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
Nasal corticosteroid sprays work best when you take them regularly on a daily basis. They do not cause rebound congestion.
Health professionals disagree on whether nasal corticosteroids should be your first or second treatment option. Some doctors use nasal corticosteroids to treat allergic rhinitis only when other treatment, such as antihistamines, does not work. Other doctors use nasal corticosteroids right away.
Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.
There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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