Fluticasone side effects and drug information

Fluticasone is a prescription or nonprescription corticosteroid medication for treating symptoms of asthma, nasal symptoms, allergic rhinitis, and specific skin problems. It is available to different forms, but the most common are nasal spray and topical creams.

ChEMBL Id 1201396
ChemSpider ID 4470631
Protein binding 91%
Molar mass 444.508 g/mol
CAS ID 80474-14-2
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There are various fluticasone products available in the market. Fluticasone oral inhalation is a medicine prescribed for the relief of symptoms associated with asthma. It prevents chest tightness, difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing. It is a corticosteroid class of medications and works by reducing the irritation and swelling of the airways.

For those experiencing symptoms of allergic and nonallergic rhinitis, fluticasone nasal spray is available with or without prescription. It works by reducing and preventing inflammation and swelling in the nose.

There is also Fluticasone topical medication in cream, lotion, and ointment that are prescribed to reduce inflammation and for the relief of redness, itching, scaling, and dryness that comes with various skin conditions.

Fluticasone is a corticosteroid class of medications, and it works by decreasing inflammation associated with nasal symptoms and skin conditions. For oral inhalation products, it is usually used two times daily by spraying once on each nostril. For creams and lotions, it is applied topically on the area affected once or twice a day.

Side Effects

Using Fluticasone may cause various side effects. If these symptoms are severe or persist, inform your doctor about it. Here are some of the most common side effects that come with the use of Fluticasone.


Topical (Nasal Spray)

Nasal spray users may experience sneezing or stinging sensation right after using fluticasone nasal spray.


  • Burning
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Increased redness
  • Irritation
  • Lightheadedness
  • Abnormal hair growth

Some side effects can be severe if you experience severe symptoms, stop using the product, and inform your doctor immediately.

The following symptoms call for immediate medical attention:

  • Thick nasal discharge
  • Severe face pain
  • Chills, fever, cough, and signs of infection
  • Hives/rash
  • Swelling of the face, tongue, throat, eyes, lips, hands, feet, and lower extremities
  • Wheezing
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Severe nosebleed

Likewise, this medication can cause a slow growth rate in children. Discuss with your doctor the benefits over risks if your child of 2 to 12 years needs to use nonprescription fluticasone nasal spray for two months per year. Or if your 12 years or older children need to use the product for more than six months per year.

Additionally, Fluticasone also increases your risk of developing cataracts or glaucoma. During your treatment, you may need to go for a regular eye exam to detect if there are any problems. If you experience redness, pain, halo, bright colors, bright vision, or discomfort in your eyes while using this medication, talk to your doctor immediately.  

Side effects due to the use of this medication vary widely from one case to another. If you experience unusual symptoms, inform your doctor as soon as you can.

Dosage and Administration

Inhalational (Aerosol)

  • You must use your fluticasone aerosol inhalation medication as prescribed by your doctor. There will be a prescription label to tell you the dose and the use, but if you are not sure, clarify this with your doctor. Do not inhale more than your prescribed dose or use it more often than what was prescribed.
  • It may take one to two weeks for the medication to start working, and you need to use it regularly. Even if you are feeling better, do not stop suddenly unless the doctor advised you.
  • Do not double dose. If you miss a dose, take your next one of the right schedules.
  • Doctors may prescribe other medications for emergency relief for a sudden asthma attack. If you do not respond to additional medication or you need more than usual, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Children should be assisted by adults per instruction by the doctor when using this medication. A holding chamber and face mask can be used to administer Fluticasone to young children. 

Inhalational (Power)

  • A child using this power-form medication should always have adult supervision to ensure that it is used correctly.
  • Use this medication as prescribed by the doctor. Never change the dosage yourself. Do not inhale more than what is advised or use it more often than what was prescribed by your doctor.
  • It may take two weeks or more for the medication to work. Use this medication regularly and do not stop suddenly unless ordered by your doctor. 
  • Do not double dose. If you miss a dose, take the next one at the regular schedule.
  • Your doctor may give you a rescue inhaler for an emergency asthma attack. In case you don’t respond to this, or you need more of your inhaler than usual, contact your doctor right away.
  • Do not use this with a spacer device.

Topical (Nasal Spray)

  • Use the medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It is usually sprayed into each nostril once a day. Never spray the medicine into your eyes.
  • Children should be supervised by an adult when using this medication to ensure it is used as prescribed.
  • It may take several days of regular use for the symptoms to get better, if it does not improve or worsen, call your doctor.
  • To prevent withdrawal side effects, this medication should be stopped gradually. 
  • Discuss with your doctor about a gradual decrease of dose before stopping its use altogether.
  • Do not double dose. If you miss one dose, take the next one as soon as you remember. 
  • If it is almost time for the next, skip the missed one and take the next at the regular time.

Topical (Lotion, ointment or cream)

  • The use of fluticasone topical cream, lotion, or ointment should be as prescribed by the doctor. It is for external application only.

  • It should not be used for any condition other than for what it was prescribed. The treated area should not be covered or bandaged unless ordered by your healthcare provider.

  • Report signs of an adverse reaction, non-healing, or worsening condition.
  • This is not to be used for the treatment of diaper rash unless directed by your doctor. It should not be used in the diaper area as diapers constitute occlusive dressing. 
  • This medication is not to be used on the face, groin, or underarm areas unless directed. Avoid excessive and unnecessary exposure to sunlight and artificial light if using this medication.

Drug Interaction

Some drugs may affect the efficacy of Fluticasone, and it may also affect other medications that you are using. It is therefore necessary to let your doctor know about the medicines you are using including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, supplements and herbs. Some types of medications known to interact with Fluticasone are:

  • Antifungal medication like ketoconazole
  • Medications used for HIV treatment such as ritonavir
  • Antibiotics such as metronidazole and clarithromycin
  • Antidepressant medications like prednisone and dexamethasone
  • Heartburn medications
  • Heart medications like verapamil and amiodarone
  • Medications for mental illness like fluvoxamine
  • Asthma drug zafirlukast
  • Hormonal contraceptives like birth control patch, pills, implants, and injections.

Warnings and Precautions

Before using Fluticasone, discuss with your doctor any allergies that you have. It is also essential to let your healthcare provider know of other medications that you are using. This includes prescription and nonprescription drugs like supplements, vitamins, and herbal products that you use or plan to use along with Fluticasone. Keep in mind that there are drug interactions that can happen, so be clear with your doctor about your present medications.

If you have recent surgery or injury in your nose, vision problems, asthma, and other types of infections, let your doctor know of your condition. Illnesses such as measles, tuberculosis, or chickenpox that you or around you have should also be discussed with your doctor.

More so, let your doctor know if you are expecting or you plan to conceive, or you are nursing. If you become pregnant while medicating with Fluticasone, inform your doctor.

Overdose and Contraindications

These conditions are known to be contraindicated with Fluticasone. If you have these conditions, let your physician know.

  • Herpes simplex infection of the eye
  • Active/inactive tuberculosis
  • Candida/fungal nasal infection
  • Wide-angle glaucoma
  • Increased eye-pressure
  • Clouding of the eye lens
  • Nosebleed
  • Ulcers in the nasal septum
  • Injury to the nose
  • Chickenpox
  • Measles
  • Allergies to Corticosteroids

Similarly, it is essential not to take more of this medication than what is prescribed. Symptoms of overdose include easy bruising, irregular menstrual cycle, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, enlarged neck or face, and others.

Clinical Pharmacology

Like other corticosteroids, Fluticasone has anti-inflammatory, vasoconstrictive, antipruritic properties. It is a thought to act by inducing inhibitor proteins, called lipocortins. These proteins are known to control the biosynthesis of potent causes of inflammation like prostaglandins and leukotrienes. The half-life of Fluticasone is approximately 10 hours.

Medication Guide

Fluticasone in any form should be kept in its original container, safely closed and out of children’s reach. It should be away from excess heat, light, and moisture.

Use medication according to prescription or product label. If you don’t understand how to use, ask your doctor, or have the pharmacist explain to you. Never use the product more or less than directed in the packaging or as advised by your doctor.

Use inhalational and spray as indicated. Do not swallow and avoid contact with the eyes or mouth. This medication should be used by one person only to prevent the spread of germs.

Fluticasone relieves symptoms only, but it does not cure the condition. Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or worsen after a week of regular use.

Keep track of the number of sprays or inhalations as each bottle is designed to provide only a certain number of showers. The remaining sprays may no longer contain the right formulation of the medicine. 

Lastly, dispose of unused or unneeded medications properly to ensure that children, pets, and other people will not accidentally use them.