Compare Flonase vs. Afrin

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Flonase (Fluticasone)

Prescription or OTC

Afrin (oxymetazoline)

Prescription or OTC
Relieves allergy symptoms.

Flonase (Fluticasone) is a good first-choice medicine for treating a runny or stuffy nose caused by allergies, and it's cheaper than some alternatives.

5.0/ 7 average rating with 890 reviewsforFlonase
Clears your sinuses.

Afrin (oxymetazoline) clears stuffy noses, but can worsen your congestion if it is used more frequently than 3 days in a row.

5.1/ 7 average rating with 599 reviewsforAfrin
Upsides
  • First-choice medication for treating runny and stuffy noses caused by allergies. It works by reducing inflammation in the nose.
  • Because it's used directly where the inflammation is happening, it has fewer side effects than oral steroids do and has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms once the medication is stopped.
  • Can be used as needed to help control symptoms in people age 13 years or older.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • It works right away and each dose lasts up to 12 hours.
  • The effect is limited to your nasal passageways so it may be safer than other decongestants you take orally.
  • Available as a nasal spray and a nasal mist.
  • Can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription.
Downsides
  • Flonase (Fluticasone) doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left (each bottle has 120 sprays).
  • Needs to be primed (pressed/pumped until a fine spray appears) up to six times prior to using it for the first time, or if you haven't used it in 2 weeks.
  • Since the medicine in Flonase (Fluticasone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
  • Sometimes Afrin (oxymetazoline) causes temporary stinging, burning, or dryness of the nose.
  • Talk to your doctor first before using it in children younger than 6 years old.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Nasal spray
  • Nasal spray
Price
Lowest price near you
$200.08
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Reviews
890 
72%
think this treatment is worth it
43%
think this treatment works well
7%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Flonase (Fluticasone)?

Leave a review
599 
71%
think this treatment is worth it
47%
think this treatment works well
12%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Afrin (oxymetazoline)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Flonase (Fluticasone) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Afrin (oxymetazoline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and warnings
  • Adrenal suppression

    Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Decrease in growth in children and teenagers

    Long-term use

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Adrenal suppression

    Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Thrush in the nose and throat

    Long-term use

  • Reduced immune system

    Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)

    ...and 1 more risk factors

  • Decreased wound healing

    Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses

  • Changes in the nasal septum

    Long-term use

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Rebound nasal congestion

    Using Afrin (oxymetazoline) for more than 3 days

See more detailed risks and warnings