Beclomethasone (Nasal)

Beclomethasone nasal spray is a prescription-only corticosteroid used to relieve the common symptoms of allergies like hay fever, including sneezing, runny nose or itching in the nose and throat.

Overview

Most symptoms of allergies such as hay fever or rhinitis are caused by the body's own immune system, in an attempt to flush the foreign allergens out of the body. As a corticosteroid, beclomethasone blocks the effect of certain natural chemicals in the body that would normally trigger this immune response.

For example, beclomethasone stops the production of mucus in the upper respiratory tract, which can stop a runny nose, and reduces inflammation in the lining of the airways, which can relieve the "blocked up"feeling. The effects of beclomethasone usually start to appear within 1 to 7 days, although it can take up to 2 weeks before the medication takes full effect. Although this medication may relieve the symptoms of hay fever and other allergies, it does not cure the underlying condition.

Beclomethasone is not suitable as a treatment to relieve the symptoms of a common cold. Because this medication works by suppressing certain immune functions, taking the drug while you have an infection of any kind may make that infection more severe, and it may take longer before you fight it off. Speak to your pharmacist about alternative products you can use for infections.

Beclomethasone nasal sprays are also prescribed to people who have had surgery to remove nasal polyps, to help prevent them from returning.

The medication is available as an aerosol liquid, aerosol powder, or a spray, and is more commonly known under the brand names Beconase AQ, QNASL, and Vancenase AQ - although the latter two products are no longer available.

Conditions Treated

Type of Medicine

  • Corticosteroid

Side Effects

All medications can potentially cause side effects, which are undesired effects of the drug that occur in addition to the intended effect. Beclomethasone is generally a well-tolerated medication and most people do not experience any side effects. However, side effects can occur in some people. Consult your doctor promptly if you experience any of the following side effects.

Nose Irritation

The most common side effects are related to irritation in the nose, such as:

  • Blood in the mucus
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sores in the nose
  • Whistling noises when you breathe through your mouth

Fungal Infection

Beclomethasone nasal sprays may also increase the risk of fungal infections (such as thrush) in the nose or throat. Symptoms of fungal infections include:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Unusual discharge from the nose, which may be white or green
  • White patches in the nose or throat

Vision Problems

See your doctor immediately if you experience any problems with your vision while you are taking beclomethasone. For example:

  • Blurred vision
  • Problems reading
  • Changes in your vision

Reduced adrenal function

The adrenal gland produces steroids naturally in your body. Because beclomethasone is a steroid, using the drug may cause the adrenal gland to reduce its natural production of steroids to compensate. This side effect is more common in young children, and in people who take beclomethasone for a long period of time. See your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Acne
  • Changes to the menstrual cycle
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness or lack of coordination
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight gain

If you do experience these symptoms, do not abruptly stop taking beclomethasone. This is because your adrenal glands will take some time to restore their natural output of the steroids. Therefore you will usually be advised to reduce the dosage of the drug gradually over a period of time.

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to beclomethasone nasal sprays are very rare. However, if you experience any symptom of an allergic reaction to the drug, you should seek emergency medical assistance at once. Such symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Hives, rashes, or redness on the skin
  • Swelling, particularly of the tongue, throat or face

Switching from oral to nasal

If you were previously taking an oral corticosteroid but your doctor has advised that you switch to a nasal spray, you may experience side effects including:

  • Fatigue
  • Low mood or depression
  • Muscle aches and pains

You will probably be monitored more closely while you transition to the new medication. Inform your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, or if you experience anything that is unusual or bothersome.

Other side effects

This is not an exhaustive list of side effects and different people may have different reactions to medications. If you notice any unusual or concerning side effects, consult your doctor or pharmacist for further advice. There may be another medication that you can take to remove the side effects, and some less serious side effects may subside on their own as your body adapts to the drug.

Dosage

Different people will receive a different dose of beclomethasone depending on factors such as their age, body weight, the symptoms they are experiencing, other drugs they are taking, and other medical conditions they have. However, as a general guideline, the following dosages are commonly given:

  • Adults and children aged 12 or above: 2 sprays in each nostril once a day, with each spray providing 80 micrograms for a total of 320 micrograms.
  • Children aged between 4 and 11: 1 spray in each nostril once a day, for a total of 160 micrograms.
  • Children aged 4 or below: Your doctor will determine the dose for young children on a case-by-case basis.

Some forms of this medication provide a different dosage per spray, so always follow your doctor's prescribed dose when taking beclomethasone.

Note that many sprays need to be "primed"if you have not used them before or if you have not used it for 7 days or more. To do this, spray the medication into the air 4-5 times, or until a fine mist comes out of the nozzle. Priming the medication will ensure that you receive the correct dose when you use it.

Blow your nose before you use the spray, otherwise, the medication will get stuck in the mucus and you will simply blow it out the next time you blow your nose. This will effectively mean you are receiving a lower dose of the medication than you intended to take.

The nasal spray comes in canisters or bottles containing a limited number of sprays. Some containers will mark the number of uses that are remaining. Once you exceed this number, you should stop using this bottle, even if there is still some liquid inside. This is because subsequent sprays may not contain the correct dose.

If you miss a dose of beclomethasone, take it as soon as you remember, unless you are getting close to the time of your next dose. In that case, just continue with your schedule as usual. There is no need to double your next dose if you miss one.

Interactions

Beclomethasone may interact with other drugs that you are taking in a way that produces undesirable side effects. You should discuss with your doctor any medication, herbal supplements or vitamins that you are taking to ensure that they are safe to take at the same time as beclomethasone. However, the following medications are of particular note:

Ceritinib: This drug is usually prescribed to people with lung cancer and it sometimes has a side effect of raising blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). This side effect may be enhanced if you take beclomethasone at the same time as ceritinib. Your doctor will probably want to monitor you closely if you take both medications at the same time.

Desmopressin: This drug is usually prescribed for diabetes, bedwetting, hemophilia A, and von Willebrand disease. Desmopressin has the effect of reducing the amount of sodium in the body. This effect may be enhanced if you take beclomethasone at the same time. Your doctor will probably advise that you do not take these two medications together.

Other steroids: Inform your doctor if you are taking any other steroid products, whether these are prescribed or over-the-counter. This includes oral steroids as well as topical products.

Warnings

If the beclomethasone nasal spray doesn't start to improve your symptoms within 2-3 days, or if your symptoms get worse, consult your doctor for further advice.

This medication may increase your susceptibility to infections. If you have not previously had an infection such as chickenpox or measles, you should avoid people with these infections. If your child has been prescribed beclomethasone, and you think you or your child has been in contact with someone who has these infections, see your doctor promptly.

Some children taking beclomethasone may grow more slowly than they otherwise would, which can include both height and bodyweight. Before prescribing beclomethasone nasal spray for your child, your doctor will discuss the risks of the medication with you.

Always discuss your medical history with your doctor before taking beclomethasone. Existing conditions may mean that beclomethasone is not suitable for you, or your doctor may want to monitor you more closely while you are using the drug. The following medical conditions are of particular concern:

The medication may also not be suitable if you have any injuries or sores in the nasal passages, or if you have recently had surgery in this area.

Beclomethasone nasal sprays are generally not recommended to be taken by women who are pregnant, as the hormone can pass to the unborn baby. The drug can also pass into the breast milk, and so is not recommended for use by women who are breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or become pregnant while you are taking this medication, inform your doctor immediately.

It can be dangerous to stop taking beclomethasone abruptly. You will usually be advised to reduce the dose gradually over a period of time.

Do not give your medication to anyone else, even if they are experiencing the same symptoms as you. It can be harmful for certain people to use this drug, so a doctor needs to check that it is safe for an individual to take it first.

Storage

Proper storage of beclomethasone will ensure the safety of your medication. Observe the following guidelines:

Avoid heat: Store the medication at room temperature. Do not store the medication in the bathroom, as the heat from the shower or the hot water faucet can be damaging to the medication. You should also store the medication well away from heaters and radiators, and if you store it in the kitchen keep it away from the oven and stove.

Avoid cold: Do not store the medication in the refrigerator or the freezer as this can damage it.

Avoid moisture: Choose a dry location to store the medicine. Do not store your beclomethasone nasal spray in the bathroom, as this is usually too humid to serve as a suitable location to store this medication.

Avoid sunlight: Do not store your medication near to a window, or in any other place at which it is exposed to direct sunlight.

Up and away: To keep your medication away from children, follow the "up and away"rule. Keep it "up"in a location that children cannot reach, and "away"from their line of sight. It is also advisable to store the medicine in a child-resistant container.

Safe disposal: After you have finished the course of the treatment, or if the medication has passed its expiration date, dispose of it safely. Do not throw it into the trash, pour the liquid down the drain, pierce the container, or throw it onto a fire. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor about the best way to dispose of this medication - there may be a "take-back"scheme for medicines operating in your area.

Summary

Beclomethasone is a corticosteroid that is used to treat the symptoms of certain allergies, such as hay fever and rhinitis. Patients spray the medication into their nasal passages usually once per day, and the medication has a local effect here to reduce symptoms like sneezing, itching, or a runny nose. Improvements in these conditions may be seen within a day, although the benefits tend to increase gradually and are normally fully realized within 2 weeks.

This medication is generally well-tolerated and side effects are rare. However, there are some medications which beclomethasone interacts with to produce negative side effects, such as ceritinib, desmopressin, and other corticosteroid medications. Always discuss with your doctor any medications you are already taking before you proceed to use beclomethasone.

You also may not be advised to take this medication if you have certain existing medical conditions. These include any type of infection, certain eye problems such as glaucoma, and any open sores or wounds in the nasal area. This drug is also not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, as it can be dangerous if passed to the baby.

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Last Reviewed:
December 22, 2017
Last Updated:
April 02, 2018
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