What is Rhinocort aqua nasal spray?
Rhinocort aqua nasal spray is a steroid nasal spray prescribed to prevent and treat symptoms of hay fever and other nasal allergies such as pet allergies or dust mite allergies. It’s also prescribed to reduce nasal inflammation that’s not caused by allergies (vasomotor rhinitis). It controls symptoms such as a blocked, runny or itchy nose and sneezing.
Your doctor might also prescribe Rhinocort aqua to shrink nasal polyps, which are growths in the nose that happen when the linings of the sinuses become inflamed and swollen and push out into the nasal passages. The polyps can block the nose and make it difficult to breathe.
How does Rhinocort aqua work?
Rhinocort aqua nasal spray contains the active ingredient budesonide, which is a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid (or steroid for short). It works by reducing allergic reactions and inflammation in the nasal passages, which reduces symptoms like a runny, itchy or blocked nose, sneezing and sinus discomfort. It shrinks polyps by reducing the inflammation in the nasal passages.
The nasal spray can take a few days to build up its effect, so it won’t relieve symptoms straight away. Ideally for allergies you want to start using it a few days before you expect to get symptoms, for example before the start of the pollen season, or if you know you’re going to be in contact with pets that give you the allergy. However you can also use it to relieve symptoms that have already started. For maximum benefit, the spray should be used regularly while you are still being exposed to the allergen to keep the nasal inflammation under control.
Key facts about Rhinocort aqua nasal spray
- Rhinocort aqua is a brand name for budesonide.
- Rhinocort aqua is suitable for adults and children aged 12 years and over.
- Rhinocort aqua won’t relieve your symptoms straight away – you have to use it regularly for a few days for it to build up an effect.
- Keep using it regularly every day to keep your symptoms under control. You can use Rhinocort aqua for up to three months.
- The most common side effects are nosebleeds and sneezing, stinging sensation or dryness in the nose after using the spray.
- It’s OK to drink alcohol while you’re using Rhinocort aqua.
Who shouldn’t use Rhinocort aqua nasal spray?
Rhinocort aqua is not licensed for use in children, however your doctor may prescribe it for children aged 12 years and over.
Rhinocort aqua should be used with caution in certain groups of people. Make sure your doctor knows if any of the following apply to you:
- you have a nasal or sinus infection or a fever
- you have problems with ulceration in your nose
- you have recently had an injury or surgery to your nose
- you have tuberculosis
- you have a chest infection
- you have a problem with your liver
- you are, or have recently been, using any other product containing a corticosteroid, including creams, ointments, tablets, asthma medicines, eye drops or other nasal sprays or drops
- you are taking certain other medications (see end of factsheet for details)
- you are pregnant.
If you are pregnant and can’t tolerate your hay fever symptoms your doctor may suggest using a corticosteroid nasal spray like Rhinocort aqua, as only minimal amounts of the medicine pass into the bloodstream after using the nasal spray. But it needs to be prescribed by your doctor so that you can be monitored if required. Ask your doctor for further advice.
It’s fine to use Rhinocort aqua if you’re breastfeeding.
How do I use Rhinocort aqua nasal spray?
Follow the instructions provided with the nasal spray. You should shake the bottle gently before use. Be careful not to get the spray in your eyes.
Before you use the nasal spray for the first time it needs to be primed by pumping it into the air 5 to 10 times until a fine mist is produced. Hold the bottle upright and away from you while you are doing this. If the nasal spray hasn’t been used for 24 hours you should reprime it by spraying it once into the air before using it again..
If you forget to use your nasal spray use it as soon as you remember, unless it is nearly time for your next dose. In this case just leave out the forgotten dose and take the next dose as normal. Don’t use a double dose to make up for a missed dose.
To treat allergies:
It’s most effective to start using this nasal spray a few days before you expect to come into contact with the allergen. Then keep using it regularly all the time you are still exposed to the thing you are allergic to. However you shouldn’t use it continuously for more than three months.
Adults and adolescents should use either two sprays in each nostril once a day, in the morning, or one spray in each nostril twice a day, morning and evening. Follow the instructions given by your doctor. Once your symptoms are under control you should reduce your dose to one spray in each nostril once a day. The spray should preferably be used in the morning, though it can be used any time of day if necessary. You should always use the lowest dose necessary to relieve your symptoms. Do not use more than your doctor has prescribed.
To treat nasal polyps:
Adults and adolescents should use one spray in each nostril twice a day, morning and evening, for up to three months. Follow the instructions given by your doctor.
Cleaning and storage
The plastic nozzle of your nasal spray should be cleaned at least once a week, or more frequently if the spray doesn’t work because it has become blocked. Follow the printed instructions supplied with the spray. Never try to unblock the nozzle or enlarge the tiny spray hole with a pin or other sharp object, because this will destroy the spray mechanism.
Any remaining spray must be discarded two months after you first open the bottle, because it may be contaminated with dirt or bacteria. Do not transfer any remaining suspension to another bottle. You may find it helpful to write the date of first opening on the bottle so you know when to throw it away. Dispose of carefully, preferably by returning it to a pharmacy.
What are the side effects of Rhinocort aqua?
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that may be associated with Rhinocort aqua. Just because a side effect is stated here doesn’t mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
Common (affect between 1 in 10 and 1 in 100 people)
- Dryness in the nose.
- Stinging sensation in the nose.
Rare (affect between 1 in 1000 and 1 in 10,000 people)
- Perforation or ulceration of the nasal septum.
- Hoarse voice.
- Blurred vision. Tell your doctor if you notice any changes in your vision while using Rhinocort aqua nasal spray.
- Allergic reactions such as rash, itching, hives or swelling of the face or tongue. Stop using Rhinocort aqua and get medical advice if you think you’ve had an allergic reaction to it.
If corticosteroid nasal sprays are used in high doses for long periods of time, they do have the potential to cause side effects similar to those associated with corticosteroids taken by mouth, such as cataracts, raised pressure in the eye or glaucoma, Cushing’s syndrome, adrenal suppression and mental health problems. However, these types of side effect are extremely unlikely to occur with this nasal spray, because the amount of budesonide absorbed into the bloodstream from the nose is very low. As a precaution, always use the lowest effective dose needed to control your symptoms, and for the shortest possible time.
Read the leaflet that comes with the medicine or talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you want any more information about the possible side effects of Rhinocort aqua nasal spray. If you think you have experienced a side effect, did you know you can report this using the yellow card website?
Can I use Rhinocort aqua nasal spray with other medicines?
If you’re already using any other medicines, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before you start using Rhinocort aqua as well.
This is particularly important if you are or have recently been using any other medicines that contain corticosteroids, for example tablets, injections, eye or nose drops, creams, asthma inhalers, or other similar nasal sprays. There may be a higher risk of side effects if you’re using more than one type of steroid medication – you may need to be monitored by your doctor.
If you’re having long-term treatment with any of the medicines listed below you should get advice from your doctor or pharmacist before using Rhinocort aqua. These medicines may slow the breakdown of any budesonide that’s absorbed into your bloodstream from your nose and so may increase the risk of getting side effects:
- cobicistat or protease inhibitors such as ritonavir for HIV infection
- the antifungals ketoconazole and itraconazole.
It’s fine to use Rhinocort aqua nasal spray alongside antihistamine tablets or eye drops to treat your hay fever if you need to.
It’s also fine to take non-prescription painkillers such as paracetamol, ibuprofen or co-codamol while you’re using Rhinocort aqua, assuming all these are appropriate for you.
What other medicines contain budesonide?
Budesonide nasal spray is available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.
Budesonide nasal spray can be bought without a prescription from pharmacies as the brand Benacort nasal spray.