Compare Flonase vs. Sudafed

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

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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.Clears your sinuses. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) relieves stuffy nose, but it could keep you up at night. Don't forget your photo ID or you won't be able to buy it in the drugstore.
How it works
Flonase (Fluticasone) is a nasal steroid. It works directly in your nose to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by allergies.Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.
Type of medication
Prescription or OTC
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Available as
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Flonase (Fluticasone)
of people say Flonase (Fluticasone) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
+10% vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
+2% vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
+1% vs. Flonase (Fluticasone)
Side effects
  • Asthma symptoms 4%
  • Nausea/vomiting 3%
  • Nosebleed 2%
  • Headache 1%
  • Cough 1%
  • Sore throat 1%
More Flonase side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Sudafed side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Sudafed »
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
  • Using other inhaled steroids with Flonase (Fluticasone)
    • Long-term use
    • Taking more than recommended dose
    • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
    • Using other inhaled steroids with Flonase (Fluticasone)
    • Long-term use
    • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
    • Exposure to tuberculosis
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
    • Long-term use
    Detailed Flonase (Fluticasone) risks & warnings »
    • History of high blood pressure
    • History of heart problems
    • Age 65 years or older
    • History of seizures
    • Women of childbearing age
    Detailed Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    No specific sleep-related info.
    • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    • 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.
    • One of the best over-the-counter options to clear stuffy nose and help you breathe better.
    • Clears nasal congestion better than other decongestants like phenylephrine.
    • Can be helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches and pressure in your ears.
    • Available in regular and extended release forms.
    Downsides and risks
    • 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.
    • Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
    • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
    • Can raise blood pressure so check with your doctor before using it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
    • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) isn't as effective after using it for more than 4 days straight.
    • Need to show a photo ID to buy it in the drugstore and there is a limit on how much you can buy each visit.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    • It can take several days for Flonase (Fluticasone) to start working fully.
    • Don't take more of it than was prescribed for you.
    • Blow your nose before using Flonase (Fluticasone).
    • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside the nose and throat.
    • Can also cause a headache, sore throat, or nosebleeds.
    • Starts working in 30 minutes.
    • You need to show an ID to buy Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains pseudoephedrine.
    • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than recommended on the package.
    • Don't take Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) too close to bedtime since it can keep you awake.
    • Can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, and can raise your blood pressure.
    • Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don't get better in 1 week.
    Learn more
    More about FlonaseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about SudafedSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert