1. About beclometasone nasal spray
Beclometasone (sometimes written as "beclomethasone") is a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid (or steroid). Corticosteroids are a copy of a substance the body makes naturally. They are not the same as anabolic steroids.
Beclometasone nasal spray is available on prescription for adults and children. Adults can buy it from pharmacies and supermarkets.
Beclometasone also comes as:
- an inhaler – for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- cream and ointment – for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- tablets – for ulcerative colitis
2. Key facts
- You need to use beclometasone nasal spray regularly for it to work.
- It works by reducing swelling and irritation in your nose.
- The most common side effects are an unpleasant taste or smell, and a dry or sore throat.
- Do not give this nasal spray to children under the age of 6 years.
- If you're pregnant, speak to your doctor or a pharmacist before buying beclometasone nasal spray at a pharmacy or supermarket.
3. Who can and cannot use beclometasone nasal spray
Most adults and children over the age of 6 years can use beclometasone nasal spray.
Beclometasone is not suitable for some people. To make sure this nasal spray is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- are allergic to beclometasone or any other medicines
- are taking or have recently taken other corticosteroid medicines
- have had nose surgery
- have an infection in your nose
- are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
4. How and when to use it
Beclometasone nasal spray needs to be used regularly for it to work.
You'll generally use the spray twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. The usual dose is 1 or 2 sprays into each nostril.
Follow the instructions that come with your medicine. Do not use more than 4 sprays per nostril in 24 hours.
If you're using a new bottle, it may not work first time. Pump the spray a few times until a fine mist comes out. You'll also need to do this if you have not used the bottle for a few days.
Remove the cap and gently shake the bottle.
- Blow your nose gently.
- Close 1 nostril by pressing your finger against the side of your nose.
- Bend your head forward slightly and carefully put the nozzle into your other nostril.
- Slowly breathe in through your nose and with your fingers press down on the widest part of the nozzle to squirt the spray once into your nostril.
- Breathe out through your mouth.
- Follow steps 3 and 4 again to squirt a second spray into the same nostril if you need it.
Repeat the process with the other nostril, if you need it.
After using your spray, wipe the nozzle with a clean tissue and replace the cap.
Will my dose go up or down?
Once your symptoms are under control, you can use your nasal spray less often. For example, you might go from using 2 sprays twice a day, to 1 spray twice a day.
If you bought a beclometasone nasal spray from a pharmacy, stop using it when you think you no longer need it. Ask your pharmacist for advice if you're not sure when to stop. Do not use it continuously for more than 1 month without speaking to your doctor.
If your symptoms get worse after reducing your dose, you may want to increase it again.
If you have beclometasone nasal spray on prescription, your doctor will tell you how often to use the nasal spray and when to change your dose.
What if I forget to use it?
If you forget to use your spray, use it as soon as you remember. Unless it's almost time for your next dose, in which case skip the missed dose and take your next one as usual.
Do not take a double dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you forget doses often, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I use too much?
Using too much beclometasone nasal spray by accident is unlikely to harm you.
5. Side effects
Like all medicines, beclometasone can cause side effects although not everyone gets them.
With beclometasone nasal spray, very little medicine is absorbed into the rest of the body, so it's not likely to give you side effects.
Common side effects
These common side effects can happen in more than 1 in 100 people.
Keep taking the medicine but talk to your doctor if these side effects bother you or do not go away:
- dry or sore throat, or hoarse voice
- unpleasant taste or smell
- dry or sore nose, or nosebleeds
Serious side effects
Very few people have serious side effects when using beclometasone nasal spray.
You are more likely to have a serious side effect if you use beclometasone for more than a few months or take a high dose.
Tell a doctor straight away if you get:
- problems with your breathing, damage to your nose or sores inside your nose
- changes in your eyesight, such as blurred vision or a cloudy lens in the eye – these can be signs of increased pressure in your eyes (glaucoma) or a cataract
Serious allergic reaction
It happens rarely but it is possible to have a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to beclometasone.
Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E if:
- you get a skin rash that may include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you're wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start swelling
You could be having a serious allergic reaction and may need immediate treatment in hospital.
These are not all the side effects of beclometasone. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicines packet.
You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.
6. How to cope with side effects
What to do about:
- sneezing – this will usually settle down as you get used to the medicine
- dry or sore throat, or hoarse voice – rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth after you use your nasal spray to help prevent this
- unpleasant taste or smell – rinse your mouth with water or have a drink of water
- dry or sore nose, or nosebleeds – stop using your nasal spray for a few days, then start again. Speak to your doctor or a pharmacist if these side effects do not go away
7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Beclometasone and pregnancy
There's no clear evidence that beclometasone will harm your baby. For safety your doctor will only prescribe beclometasone in pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks. They will prescribe the lowest dose that works for you.
Speak to your doctor or a pharmacist before buying beclometasone nasal spray at a pharmacy or supermarket.
For more information about how using a steroid nasal spray might affect you and your baby during pregnancy, read this leaflet on treating allergic rhinitis on the Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy (BUMPs) website.
Beclometasone and breastfeeding
It's generally OK to use beclometasone nasal spray while breastfeeding.
However, always check with your doctor first. Your baby may need extra monitoring if you use high doses of the nasal spray.
Non-urgent advice: Talk to your doctor if you're:
- trying to get pregnant
8. Cautions with other medicines
Some medicines and beclometasone interfere with each other and this can increase your chance of side effects. It may mean you need to change your dose of beclometasone.
Check with a pharmacist or your doctor if you're taking:
- medicines used to treat HIV such as ritonavir or cobicistat
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or aspirin for pain relief
- other medicines that contain steroids such as eczema creams, asthma inhalers, tablets, injections, eye or nose drops, and other nasal sprays
Mixing beclometasone with herbal remedies or supplements
There's very little information about taking herbal remedies and supplements while taking or using beclometasone. Ask a pharmacist for advice.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you're taking any other medicines, including herbal remedies, vitamins or supplements.
9. Common questions
How does beclometasone work?
Beclometasone is a corticosteroid (steroid) medicine.
Steroids closely copy the effects of natural hormones produced in your adrenal glands. (The adrenal glands are next to your kidneys.)
Beclometasone works on your immune system to reduce the symptoms of inflammatory conditions and allergic reactions such as swelling, redness and itching.
The nasal spray reduces swelling and mucus in your nose. It can take a little longer to work than antihistamine nasal sprays but the effects last for longer.
How long does it take to work?
You will not notice any immediate improvement in your symptoms when you first start using beclometasone nasal spray. This is because it takes a few days for beclometasone to take full effect.
Tell your doctor if you feel no better after using the spray for 7 days.
For some people it can take 2 weeks or more to get the maximum benefits.
If you use the spray for hay fever, it's best to start using it at least a couple of weeks before the hay fever season starts. Many people notice they get symptoms at about the same time each year.
How long will I use it for?
If you buy beclometasone nasal spray from a pharmacy or supermarket, check the leaflet that comes with the medicine. This will tell you how long you can use it for. This is usually between 1 and 3 months.
If you are prescribed beclometasone, your doctor may advise you to use it for longer.
Is it safe to use beclometasone for a long time?
Beclometasone nasal spray is unlikely to have any lasting harmful effects if you follow the instructions that come with your medicine, or use it as your doctor recommends.
However, children and teenagers may need to have their height and weight monitored carefully if they're using high doses of a steroid nasal spray like beclometasone for a long time. This is to make sure the steroid is not affecting their growth.
The nasal spray delivers a small amount of steroid medicine exactly where you need it. This limits the amount of steroid reaching the rest of your body. It also keeps the risk of side effects as low as possible.
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Yes, you can drink alcohol with beclometasone.
Will it affect my fertility?
There is no clear evidence to suggest that taking or using beclometasone will reduce fertility in either men or women.
However, speak to a pharmacist or your doctor if you're trying to get pregnant.
Can I drive or ride a bike with it?
For most people, taking beclometasone nasal spray will not affect their ability to drive a car or cycle.