It’s a warning you won’t be seeing on the label — or likely even hearing from your doctor.
Using those popular, easy-to-find, OTC allergy nasal sprays could rob you of your vision.
These drugs contain a steroid that can cause you to develop what’s called a “posterior subcapsular cataract.” That’s right — cataracts!
Or, perhaps something even worse: glaucoma.
And that’s not the only one of your senses it take from you.
But even if you read the package up, down, and all around, you still wouldn’t be informed of those risks. Due to one of the most lax and dangerous FDA practices out there called the Rx-to-OTC switch, drugmakers can get away with keeping such awful side effects a deep, dark secret.
More than meets the eye
At one time, you could only use nasal sprays like Flonase and Nasacort under a doctor’s orders.
Going to see your doctor, getting a prescription for the drug, and getting it filled at your pharmacy (possibly even chatting with your pharmacist about it) would make you take that med pretty seriously.
You might even take a look at the insert that lists the side effects.
And if that were the case with the Rx version of Flonase, you’d learn that using it “may result in the development of glaucoma and/or cataracts.” In fact, right up on the very top of the prescription-version label it warns that “close monitoring” should be done for those vision-stealers!
On top of that, the prescription “patient information” sheet says that you should have “regular eye exams while you use Flonase.”
But now, thanks to the FDA kowtowing to drugmakers and allowing risky meds to come out from behind the pharmacy counter, you could load up a truck with the OTC version of Flonase if you wanted to — and the OTC version is exactly the same strength as the Rx kind. And all you’ll find on the OTC package is a cryptic notice to “ask a doctor before use” if you “have or had” glaucoma or cataracts and to stop using it if you have “new changes” to your vision.
Those statements don’t quite have the same punch to them as the Rx ones, now, do they?
And drugmakers don’t duplicate those prescription-version warnings for one reason and one reason only — the FDA says they don’t have to.
And don’t expect to be warned by your doctor, as many physicians are still unaware of this connection.
Instead, unsuspecting users of these allergy sprays often have to find out the hard way.
Another side effect that was important enough to land on the Rx Flonase package but not the OTC one is what this drug can do to your senses of smell and taste.
Scores of visitors to the People’s Pharmacy website have complained about that for years now, often saying that their doctors shrug off the problem as if it doesn’t even exist.
One reader recently recounted how his sense of smell never returned after using one of these steroid sprays. “I really miss the smell of the ocean,” he says.
Another told how she couldn’t even smell the gas leaking from her stove when she was standing right in front of it. “That was my wake-up call, and I have never used Flonase again,” she said.
And you don’t have to either!
If your allergies are making you miserable, there are quite a few natural remedies you can try that will bring relief and let you keep your vision and sense of smell intact!
Saline sprays and neti pots (used to pour warm salt water into your nasal passages) are extremely helpful, especially if you have chronic sinus issues. Butterbur supplements are excellent for allergies as well.
To unclog a stuffy nose, try adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water, putting a towel over your head and breathing in the steam for a few minutes at a time.
“Allergy sprays and cataracts?” Joe Graedon, July 17, 2017, The People’s Pharmacy, peoplespharmacy.com