On Wednesday an FDA advisory panel voted 10-6 in favor of allowing Nasacort AQ to become available over the counter. This is great news for allergy sufferers. The active ingredient of Nasacort AQ is triamcinalone acetonide–a steroid. This will be the first in the nasal steroid category to become available without a prescription.
Great for congestion sufferers: I am always asked about remedies to treat nasal congestion, especially in children. The availability of Nasacort will provide another treatment option without calling the doctor for a prescription or having to use pseudofedrine or Afrin-like products.
The safety conundrum: For years allergists have been asked about the safety of prescription nasal steroids when in reality, more complications are seen from OTC topical decongestants like Afrin and other oxymetazoline containing products. In my mind, it would make more sense for nasal steroids to be available OTC and Afrin to require a prescription.
Others will follow: Watch for many others to follow suit. As you may recall, a similar trend happened with antihistamines; we saw Claritin, Zyrtec and Allegra become available OTC. I would expect to see Flonase, Nasonex and others rush to be next in line for placement beside Nasacort AQ on the grocery store shelves.
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Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to create a doctor-patient relationship with any reader. If you need personalized medical advice, contact your primary care physician or other physician in your community.