What is the link between Flonase and acid reflux? (+3 links)

In this article, we will discover the link between Flonase and acid reflux. Each of the potential connections will be discussed, including factors influencing Flonase-induced acid reflux, when to consult your healthcare provider, pharmacological treatment options along with tips to manage acid reflux caused by Flonase.

What is the link between Flonase and acid reflux?

Flonase (fluticasone propionate) can cause acid reflux in some patients due to:

  • Oral ingestion
  • Increased acid production
  • Existing GERD
  • Delayed stomach emptying

Acid reflux is a rare side effect of Flonase. Not every patient taking Flonase will experience the same side effects including acid reflux.

Several factors can contribute to the incidence of acid reflux in patients taking Flonase. Flonase is the brand name for the fluticasone propionate which is a corticosteroid used to treat inflammations in the nasal passage associated with allergic reactions to some irritants (1).

If you experience acid reflux after taking Flonase then you need to consult your healthcare provider. They can help you treat the condition and manage it in your daily life if needed.

Oral ingestion

Even though Flonase is available as a nasal spray, sometimes while taking the medication, its contents may drip down the back of the throat causing it to reach the stomach (2). This leads to irritation of the lining of the stomach and causes the incidence of acid reflux (3). Flonase may not be the direct cause of acid reflux in this case.

The irritation may occur due to some excipient in the medication dose.  Acid reflux due to direct irritation of the stomach lining is especially observed when you don’t rinse your mouth after taking Flonase or lie down immediately after administering it.

Increased acid production

Flonase, a corticosteroid can stimulate the release of gastrin, a hormone that promotes stomach acid secretion. This can lead to acid reflux (4).

Flonase can also enhance the activity of parietal cells. These cells are found in the lining of the stomach and stimulate the release of hydrochloric acid in the stomach (5). These actions of flonase may lead to acid reflux. Flonase is also found to inhibit the activity of bicarbonate, a substance that neutralizes the acid in the stomach (6).

The increased production of stomach or reduction in the activity of bicarbonate can contribute to the acid reflux experienced after taking Flonase.

Existing GERD

If you have a concurrent disease like GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), then Flonase is more likely to cause acid reflux. GERD can exacerbate the conditions of acid reflux. In GERD, the gastroesophageal lining is already irritated making it more susceptible to irritation by the Flonase and makes it more susceptible to damage by acid reflux (7).


Certain other factors can also contribute to Flonase-induced acid reflux in patients taking this medication to treat allergies. These factors may include:

  • Interaction of Flonase with concurrent medications
  • Delayed stomach emptying caused by Flonase (8)
  • Stress and anxiety levels
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High doses of Flonase
  • Prolonged duration of Flonase
  • Individual sensitivity

All these factors can influence Flonase-induced acid reflux. They can impact on the intensity, severity and frequency of the condition.

When to consult your healthcare provider?

If you are taking Flonase and experience acid reflux then you need to consult your healthcare provider. You need to consult your doctor if:

  • The acid reflux is persistent and severe.
  • The symptoms do not subside even after taking it for weeks.
  • The symptoms of acid reflux interfere with your routine.

Your doctor will perform a complete examination and analysis to determine the exact cause of acid reflux. They can help you tailor your treatment plan to modify it according to your needs.

Your doctor may suggest lowering the dose or may suggest switching the medication altogether if the symptoms do not subside even after the adjustments in the treatment plan and lifestyle.

Pharmacological treatment options

Here are some pharmacological treatment options that may help you manage and treat acid reflux. Your doctor might prescribe one of the following

Proton Pump inhibitors (9)

  • Omeprazole
  • Lansoprazole
  • Esomeprazole
  • Pantoprazole
  • Rabeprazole

Histamine-2 receptor antagonists (10)

  • Famotidine
  • Ranitidine
  • Nizatidine
  • Cimetidine


All these medications can help manage acid reflux.

How to manage Flonase-induced acid reflux?

Here are a few tips that can help you manage acid reflux caused by Flonase.

  • After administering Flonase, rinse your nose properly. This can help with removing any residues of the medication.
  • Certain foods can exacerbate the condition of acid reflux. These include spicy food, caffeine, soft drinks etc. Avoiding these can be helpful.
  • Stay upright for about 2-3 hours after eating. Do not lie down immediately.
  • Drink plenty of water to help dilute the stomach acid.
  • If necessary, your doctor may prescribe some PPI or an antacid to use with your medication to avoid getting acid reflux.
  • Relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress can also be helpful in managing acid reflux.

In my opinion, Flonase can cause acid reflux in some patients. This effect can be a direct or indirect result of taking Flonase. Individual sensitivity plays an important role in this regard. Not every patient taking Flonase experiences acid reflux. The variations among individuals depends upon genetic predisposition, metabolic rate, age and gender.

However, consulting your healthcare professional is essentially the first step towards treatment of the condition. They can assess your condition and modify your treatment plan accordingly to ensure the effective treatment with minimum side effects.

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