Find a Doctor Find a Doctor
Time to see a specialist? Time to see a specialist?
We found [COUNT] Specialists
who treat [INTEREST]
We found [COUNT] Specialists
who treat [INTEREST]
[TELEHEALTH] offer Telehealth options.
Treating Nasal Polyps

This content is created by Healthgrades and brought to you by an advertising sponsor. More

This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the Healthgrades advertising policy.

What to Expect With Steroids for Nasal Polyps

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Was this helpful?

Doctors often prescribe corticosteroid medications (or steroids) for nasal polyps to help shrink their size and reduce inflammation. Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths that line the nasal passages and sinuses; they are usually caused by chronic inflammation of the sinuses (rhinosinusitis) that lasts 12 weeks or longer, making it harder to breathe, smell, and taste. Steroid medications for nasal polyps are either taken by mouth for a short period of time or applied topically longer term to relieve symptoms. Steroid injections are rare but may also be added in severe cases. Your doctor will likely start with oral corticosteroids and, based on how you respond to them, progress to other forms as needed.

Oral Steroid Medications for Nasal Polyps

Oral steroid medications for nasal polyps, such as prednisone, tend to work quickly and well. The downside is that oral steroids can cause serious side effects if you take them too long, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated blood sugar
  • Mood swings and memory problems
  • Fluid retention
  • Vision problems such as cataracts and glaucoma

Doctors typically prescribe oral steroid medications for only five to seven days at a time, up to three or four times a year.

Topical Steroid Medications for Nasal Polyps

If taking oral steroids occasionally isn’t enough to ease your nasal polyps symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a daily steroid spray or rinse. Fluticasone propionate nasal spray is the most used nasal steroid in the United States. It’s available without a prescription under several brand names, including Flonase, and with a prescription as a generic option. Mometasone furoate (Nasonex) is another prescription alternative. Nasal rinses, or irrigations, such as budesonide (Pulmicort) are applied through a squeeze bottle that uses pressure to reach deeper into the nasal passages than sprays.

It’s not common, but some cases will benefit from injecting steroids into the polyp area, although more studies are needed to assess the effectiveness and safety of this option.

Like all medications, every steroid-based treatment for nasal polyps comes with benefits and risks. Steroid treatment also tends to be highly individualized. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare team to get a proper diagnosis of your condition and monitor how your body reacts to treatment. Many people benefit from the right steroid treatment for them, but if steroids aren’t for you, other avenues like new biologic medications or minimally invasive surgery are worth exploring, too.

Was this helpful?
Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2022 May 11
View All Treating Nasal Polyps Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
1. Ask the doctor: Oral steroids for nasal polyps. Harvard Medical School.
2. Nasal polyps overview. Mayo Clinic.
3. Nasal Polyps. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.
4. Nonsurgical Treatment of Nasal Polyps. Medscape.
5. Chronic Sinusitis and Nasal Polyps: Diagnosis and Treatment. Northwestern Medicine.
6. Prednisone and other corticosteroids. Mayo Clinic.
7. Nasal polyps diagnosis. Mayo Clinic.
8. FDA approves first treatment for chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
9. Dupixent – FDA. U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
10. Mometasone Nasal Spray. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
11. The Effectiveness of Budesonide Nasal Irrigation After Endoscopic Sinus Surgery in Chronic Rhinosinusitis With Asthma. U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
12. Budesonide (Pulmicort) + Saline Irrigation/Rinse. Stanford University School of Medicine.
13. Becker SS, Rasamny JK, Han JK, et al. Steroid injection for sinonasal polyps: the University of Virginia experience. American Journal of Rhinology. 2007; 21(1): 64-9.