Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA)

FDA and Nasal Sprays

Published July - 18 - 2013 Print This Post

Do you – or someone in your family – use a corticosteroid nasal spray?

On July 31, AANMA released results of our recent survey regarding patient use of intranasal corticosteroid sprays. Findings were shared during the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee meeting considering the switch of triamcinolone nasal spray from prescription to over-the-counter status.

“AANMA conducted a survey of more than 1,600 families and patients who use nasal corticosteroid sprays and found that they are prescribed to treat a complex set of symptoms for patients who often take an assortment of other medications,” said Nancy Sander, president and founder of AANMA and a nationally recognized patient advocate. “This makes patient education a high priority for safe use. When medications are available over-the-counter, families tell us they assume it is safe to self-diagnose their conditions and pick and choose among medications.”

Nine out of 10 said they prefer to rely on medical professionals to diagnose and manage their conditions. When asked if intranasal corticosteroid sprays should be available without a prescription, the overwhelming concerns expressed were about cost: 72% felt moving the medication OTC would increase their financial burden.

“The truth is,” Sander continued, “the average patient doesn’t know allergic from nonallergic rhinitis, or boggy nasal passages from sinus infections or a deviated septum. These are complex conditions, and intranasal corticosteroids are serious medications with the potential for unwanted side effects. Patients deserve the best possible care and guidance from their physicians; not left on their own to self-diagnose at the pharmacy.”

AANMA has identified seven important facts patients should understand regarding the efficient and safe use of intranasal corticosteroid sprays:

1.  Why this medication was prescribed

2.  How quickly to expect improvement in symptoms

3.  What to do if symptoms don’t respond as expected

4.  How to aim the nasal spray tip to deliver medication to the right part of the nose and avoid septal irritation, nose bleeds or damage

5.  How often to visit the doctor to have your nose re-examined and the treatment plan adjusted

6.  The possible role of environmental allergens and how reducing exposure at home, school, work or play could reduce symptoms

7.  The importance of a yearly eye exam and reporting all medications, including intranasal and other corticosteroids to the ophthalmologist

Currently this information is relayed to patients by healthcare professionals, but if these medications were to be available without a prescription and patient education, the details would need to be communicated fully and clearly.

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