Ask a Pharmacist
Tom is a 26-year-old male who suffers from seasonal allergies in the spring. It's getting to be that time of year, so he heads to the pharmacy to refill his nasal steroid prescription.
When he gets there, he notices that his prescription, Flonase, is now available over the counter (OTC); i.e., without a prescription. Not only that but there is another product, Flonase Sensimist, that is also available.
He's happy he doesn't have to get new prescriptions, but he doesn't know which product to choose. He asks, "What's the difference between Flonase and Flonase Sensimist?"
The Short Answer
Both Flonase and Flonase Sensimist contain the steroid fluticasone in a nasal spray form. However, Flonase Sensimist uses a different salt form and a proprietary spray device, allowing for a thinner, finer spray.
Although you probably won't get any better relief from Flonase Sensimist, it will be a gentler, more comfortable spray that many people prefer.
The Long Answer
Flonase became available OTC in 2015. It was one of the first prescription steroid nasal sprays to make the switch to OTC and it's certainly the most popular. It is a direct copy of prescription Flonase.
At that point, Veramyst (fluticasone furoate) was still only available as a prescription. In 2017, that changed and fluticasone furoate is now available over-the-counter as Flonase Sensimist.
Both products are used to treat all the symptoms of seasonal allergies, including itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing. Both work a full 24 hours and are safe to use long term.
The furoate salt form is sometimes purported to be stronger than the propionate salt form. While it is true that some people will respond better to fluticasone furoate, it cannot be said that, across the board, it is a stronger version. Many, if not most, people will enjoy the same benefits from fluticasone furoate as they do from fluticasone propionate. Studies just don't support one over the other when it comes to how well they work.
Where the differences are notable is how the sprays feel in your nose. Flonase Sensimist not only uses the furoate salt form but also has a proprietary actuation device, resulting in a noticeably thinner, finer mist. Not only does this feel better when sprayed in the nose, but it also is less likely to irritate nasal passages.
Technical differences between Flonase and Flonase Sensimist
Appropriate age of user
4 years and older
2 years and older
About $20 per month
About $25 per month
Regular nasal spary
Proprietary delivery system
The Generic Difference
Right now, only Flonase is available generically. Most pharmacies will have an in-store brand that is equivalent to the brand name Flonase. Since Flonase Sensimist is so new, there is no generic available.
The labeled price will always be less for the store generic, and I would always recommend giving the generic a shot. In almost all cases, it will work just as well as the brand alternative.
Since Flonase Sensimist is so new, you can find coupons in-store ads and from the manufacturer directly. This will help with the price for now, but remember that those coupons won't always be around.
Read More From Healthproadvice
Buy More, Spend Less
Flonase is available in a two-count package. This means you're going to spend more up front, but the cost per dose will ultimately be lower. So far, Flonase Sensimist is only available in a single pack.
The information provided on this page is intended for general educational and informational use only. It is not specific, personalized healthcare advice for you. For healthcare advice regarding your particular situation, talk to members of your healthcare team.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Al on March 31, 2019:
I'm a PharmD and would never waste my money on a Sensimist. I have several seasonal allergic rhinitis and always begin a 24 hour antihistamine in late January/early February to prepare. When I experience symptoms I begin generic fluticasone at increased frequency (3x/day to 4x/day) for 3 to 4 days and then drop to OTC dosing. If experience additional symptoms I merely use an extra spray or two for a few days.
Karl Langlotz on July 23, 2017:
I agree with "Library Lady HJS". Don't know if Sensimist is "far superior" but it has worked for me as a generic for the past 4-5 years. I have tried Flonase with proprionate but it just didn't work as well as with furoate. Right now I found it by accident at Costco for 3 spray bottles for $56.00. It's the cheapest right now until a generic is available.
Library Lady HJS on June 30, 2017:
I find that Flonase sensimist is far superior to regular Flonase when it comes to relief from my Allergy symptoms.
I have tried several store brands of regular Flonase but i always return to Sensimist after about a week.
Everyone is different but for me there is no comparison. I'd rather pay more for something that works then less for something that sorta works.
If you search online you will find an abundance of Mfg coupons. Additionally, stores like Walgreens offer in-store savings from their App which you can use in addition to the manufactures coupons.
I wish it were available in generic form but for now it isn't.
SALVATORE CINNIRELLA on June 29, 2017:
I have used Flonase for the last 25 years (plus) for the relief of allergy symptoms. I recently turned 65 years of age and was switched to the Ontario drug plan. the new drug plan does not cover Flonase, and the DR and Pharmacist both suggested I use Fluticasone by Ratio. It gives me some relief but not as good as Flonase. Any suggestions.