Compare Nasonex vs. Afrin

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

Nasonex (Mometasone)

Prescription only

Afrin (oxymetazoline)

Prescription or OTC
Relieves allergy symptoms.

Nasonex (Mometasone) is a good first-choice treatment for stuffy and runny noses caused by allergies.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 675 reviewsforNasonex
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
  • 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, which is cheaper.
  • 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
  • Needs to be primed 10 times before it can be used, or re-primed if not used for more than 2 weeks.
  • Doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left (each bottle has 120 sprays).
  • Since the medicine in Nasonex (Mometasone) 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
No pricing information available
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Reviews
675 reviews so far
68%
saidit'sworth it
39%
saiditworked well
8%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Nasonex (Mometasone)?

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
1possible side effects
  • Nosebleed
    13%
See more detailed side effects
The Afrin (oxymetazoline) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Thrush in the nose and throat
    • Long-term use
  • Changes in the nasal septum
    • Long-term use
  • Decreased wound healing
    • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Glaucoma and cataracts
    • Long-term use
  • Reduced immune system
    • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
    • Exposure to tuberculosis
  • 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