Compare Sudafed vs. Flonase

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



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.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.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
Reviews for Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
of people (All ages) say Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
1732 reviews
Have you used Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Flonase (Fluticasone)
10% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
2% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
1% vs. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
881 reviews
Have you used Flonase (Fluticasone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects

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

FDA side effect reports for Sudafed »
  • Asthma symptoms 4%
  • Nausea/vomiting 3%
  • Nosebleed 2%
  • Headache 1%
  • Cough 1%
  • Sore throat 1%
More Flonase side effects »
How it works
Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.Flonase (Fluticasone) is a nasal steroid. It works directly in your nose to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by allergies.
Type of medication
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Prescription or OTC
Available as
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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 »
  • 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 »

    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.

    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.

    No pain related info.
    • Long-term use of Flonase (Fluticasone) can increase your chances of getting thrush in the nose and throat. Your doctor will check your nose and throat if you have to be on this medication for a long time. Also, tell your doctor if you notice pain in the nose and throat with redness and white patches.
    • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
    No sleep related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    • 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.
    • 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.
    Downsides and risks
    • 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.
    • 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.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    • 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.
    • 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.
    Learn more
    More about SudafedSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about FlonaseSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Flonase (Fluticasone)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it