Rhinocort Allergy Now Available Without a Prescription

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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You may have noticed more medications available in the store that used to require a prescription—and the newest prescription med to make the switch is Rhinocort (budesonide) allergy relief nasal spray (the over-the-counter version will be known as Rhinocort Allergy).

Wondering if Rhinocort Allergy will be different from it’s prescription counterpart? Rest assured that before the status any medication can be changed from prescription-only to OTC, the FDA requires an evaluation for both safety and effectiveness.

What is Rhinocort Allergy used for?

Just like Rhinocort, Rhinocort Allergy is used to relieve nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy nose, and sneezing due to indoor and outdoor allergies.

Who can use Rhinocort Allergy spray?
Rhinocort Allergy is approved for use by anyone ages 6 and older.

When was Rhinocort approved for sale without a prescription?
Rhinocort Allergy was approved by the FDA on March 23, 2015,and it is now avaialble in pharmacies.

Will the OTC Rhinocort be the same as the prescription strength?

Yes. OTC Rhinocort Allergy is the same exact strength, 32 mcg/spray, as prescription Rhinocort.

How is Rhinocort typically used?

Your dose may vary based on your age, but it’s recommended that adults and children 12 and older use two sprays in each nostril once per day. For children ages 6 to 12, the recommendation is one spray per nostril instead.

Will prescription Rhinocort be discontinued now that there’s an OTC version?

Brand-name Rhinocort is no longer available with a prescription—BUT, the generic, budesonide nasal spray is still available by prescription only. There are no immediate plans to discontinue generic prescription budesonide.

What are the advantages of using OTC Rhinocort Allergy?

First and foremost, convenience. You’ll no longer be required to see your doctor for a prescription, and you can purchase as you need it. Since the OTC Rhinocort Allergy has the same dosing and instructions as prescription Rhinocort, you also get the same benefits.

What are the disadvantages of using OTC Rhinocort Allergy?

Cost, particularly if you have good insurance coverage. Because budesonide (generic Rhinocort) is sitll an inexpensive generic prescription, your co-pay may be lower than the cash price for OTC Rhinocort Allergy.

To give you an idea, the cost of most OTC steroid nasal sprays ranges anywhere between $14 to $35, give or take a few dollars.

Are thre other allergy nasal sprays available without a prescription?

Yes! Rhinocort Allergy is the third steroid nasal spray to make the switch from prescription-only to OTC. Nasacort Allergy (OTC Nasacort AQ) and Flonase Allergy Relief (OTC Flonase) are also available without a prescription.

Want more info on the new Rhinocort Allergy?

Check out the manufacturer’s website here.

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