Fluticasone Propionate or Budesonide

Fluticasone Propionate or Budesonide Feature Image
January 31, 2019

Fluticasone propionate and Budesonide are active ingredients used in some asthma medications to treat and prevent asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. These medications can only be prescribed by a physician. Fluticasone propionate and budesonide are very similar ingredients. However, they may affect your body differently. We’re here to compare both ingredients to help you determine which medication will work best for you.

Characteristics of Fluticasone Propionate

Fluticasone propionate is synthetic corticosteroid found in some inhalers such as Flovent. The ingredient is used for long-term treatment of asthma in people aged 4 years and older. It helps reduce airway inflammation. Fluticasone propionate is a preferred ingredient in inhalers because it allows for easier breathing in many patients.


Fluticasone propionate is recommended for patients with long-term breathing difficulties. In a 2000 research study examining the effects of fluticasone propionate, researchers found that patients had comparable improvements in chest tightness, wheeze, and overall symptom scores after using the medicine.

However, fluticasone propionate is not used to relieve sudden breathing problems such as an asthma attack. In this case, you should ask your doctor about a rescue inhaler. It also comes with some side effects. Common side effects include:

• fungal infections in your mouth or throat (thrush)
• slowed growth in children
• throat, nose and/or sinus irritation
• nausea and vomiting
• fever
• headache
• upset stomach

You should not use fluticasone propionate in children younger than 4 years old. The ingredient is also not recommended for patients taking other steroids as it can interact with other ingredients. It’s important to disclose all medical conditions with your doctor.

Characteristics of Budesonide

Budesonide is an inhalation powder found in some inhalers such as Pulmicort. It is used to help prevent asthma attacks in people aged 6 years and older. When used daily, it can decrease the number of severe asthma attacks in individuals.  An asthma medication research study concluded that budesonide is an effective first-line treatment for patients with newly detected, mild asthma.

However, like fluticasone propionate, it won’t stop an asthma attack once it has already started. Inhaled budesonide also contains milk protein, deeming it unsafe for individuals with a severe milk allergy. It also has some side effects including:

• dry/ irritated throat
• nosebleed
• runny nose
• nausea
• fever
• headache

Always disclose any medications with your physician as there is a risk of interaction. Although the risks of using an inhaled corticosteroid are low, you should be prepared for any side effect and discuss them with your doctor.

Which Active Ingredient Is Right For Me?

Fluticasone propionate and budesonide may both be effective in treating your asthma symptoms. There are advantages and disadvantages of the ingredients, so you should discuss your options with your physician. The allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers will talk you through your treatment plan and explain any side effects you may experience. It’s important to ask your allergist if you are using the proper technique to administer your inhaler, no matter which active ingredient it contains; this may help you achieve the best results for symptom relief and minimize some unwanted side effects. Call (212) 686-4448 to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified allergists.

Meet The Physician Collaborator

Dr. Kena Shah is a board-certified physician specializing in adult and pediatric allergy & immunology. She received her degree from Nova Southeastern University in Miami, Florida. She participates in research and has authored and co-authored multiple journal articles. You can book an appointment with her by calling (718) 416-0207 or by visiting one of our six locations.

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