Compare Nasonex vs. Afrin

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

Nasonex
(Mometasone)

Afrin
(Oxymetazoline)

Relieves allergy symptoms. Nasonex (Mometasone) is a good first-choice treatment for stuffy and runny noses caused by allergies.Clears your sinuses. Afrin (Oxymetazoline) clears stuffy noses well, but don't use it for more than 3 days in a row or your congestion could get worse.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.961194029850747Nasonex
Reviews for Nasonex (Mometasone)
68%
of people say Nasonex (Mometasone) is worth it
38%
say it works well
8%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Afrin (Oxymetazoline)
71%
+3% vs. Nasonex (Mometasone)
46%
+8% vs. Nasonex (Mometasone)
12%
4% vs. Nasonex (Mometasone)
Side effects
NasonexAfrin
  • Nosebleed 8%
  • Headache 4%
  • Viral infection 3%
  • Menstrual cramps 2%
  • Sinus inflammation 2%
  • Musculoskeletal pain 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Coughing 1%
  • Vomiting 1%
More Nasonex side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Afrin »
How it works
NasonexAfrin
Nasonex (Mometasone) is a topical steroid. It works directly where it's applied to help reduce swelling and inflammation in your nose.Afrin (Oxymetazoline) is a nasal decongestant. It reduces swelling in your nose to make breathing easier.
Type of medication
NasonexAfrin
Anti-inflammatory
Corticosteroid
Prescription only
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Available as
NasonexAfrin
  • Nasal spray
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
NasonexAfrin
Risk factors for serious side effects
NasonexAfrin
  • Long-term use
  • Long-term use
  • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Long-term use
  • Exposure to immunizable diseases (chickenpox and measles)
  • Exposure to tuberculosis
  • Long-term use
  • Taking more than recommended dose
Detailed Nasonex (Mometasone) risks & warnings »
  • Using Afrin (Oxymetazoline) for more than 3 days
  • Women of childbearing age
Detailed Afrin (Oxymetazoline) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy category
NasonexAfrin
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
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.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
NasonexAfrin
  • 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 provides relief for up to 12 hours.
  • Can use for nasal congestion caused by colds and allergies.
  • It only affects your nose, so there aren't too many other side effects.
  • Available as a nasal spray and a nasal mist.
Downsides and risks
NasonexAfrin
  • 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.
  • Afrin (Oxymetazoline), like all other sprays used for stuffy noses, can make your congestion worse if you use it for more than 3 or 4 days in a row (called rebound-congestion).
  • Can cause temporary stinging, burning, or dryness in your nose.
  • Can't be used for kids younger than 6 years old.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
NasonexAfrin
  • Use Nasonex (Mometasone) once a day, following age-specific recommendations on how many sprays to use. Don't take more than prescribed.
  • Blow your nose before using.
  • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside your nose and throat. Can also cause nosebleeds, a sore throat, and headaches.
  • Needs to be used regularly during allergy season for it to work. It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the medicine to start working fully.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist on how to use the nasal spray the right way.
  • Shake well before using it. Before the first use, prime the bottle by spraying it until you see a fine mist.
  • Use 2 to 3 sprays in each nostril every 10 to 12 hours. Don't use Afrin (Oxymetazoline) more than two times a day.
  • Keep your head upright and don't tilt it back when spraying Afrin (Oxymetazoline) into your nose.
  • Breathe in with quick sniffs while spraying and wait a few minutes before blowing your nose.
  • Don't use Afrin (Oxymetazoline) for more than 3 days in a row since it can worsen your congestion after a few days of use.
Learn more
More about NasonexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about AfrinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert