Compare Nasacort AQ vs. Afrin

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

Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)

Prescription or OTC

Afrin (oxymetazoline)

Prescription or OTC
Relieves allergy symptoms.

Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is the only medication in its class available over the counter for treating stuffy and runny nose due to allergies. You have to use it every day for it to work.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 328 reviewsforNasacort AQ
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.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 599 reviewsforAfrin
Upsides
  • Available over the counter without a prescription.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Can't be used on as-needed basis. Must be taken every day.
  • Doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left.
  • Since the medicine in Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
  • Needs to be primed before use and re-primed if not used for more than 2 weeks.
  • 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
No pricing information available
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Reviews
328 reviews so far
67%
saidit'sworth it
39%
saiditworked well
10%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)?

Leave a review
599 reviews so far
71%
saidit'sworth it
47%
saiditworked well
12%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Afrin (oxymetazoline)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone) 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 risk factors
  • Changes in the nasal septum
    • Long-term use
  • Decreased wound healing
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Reduced immune system
    • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
    • Exposure to tuberculosis
  • Glaucoma and cataracts
    • Long-term use
  • Adrenal suppression
    • Switching from oral or injectable steroids to inhaled, especially if used long term
    • Using other inhaled steroids with Nasacort Aq (Triamcinolone)
  • Decrease in growth in children and teenagers
    • Long-term use
    • Taking more than recommended dose
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Rebound nasal congestion
    • Using Afrin (oxymetazoline) for more than 3 days
See more detailed risks and warnings