The good shit (for me, at least).

BeconaseTM is the trade name for the prescription drug beclomethasone dipropionate-trichloro-monofluoromethane clathrate, delivered via aerosol nasal inhaler in a base of oleic acid for the relief of nasal allergy symptoms. Beconase is a product of GlaxoSmithKline, formerly GlaxoWellcome.

Beconase is an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid hormone that is absorbed directly into the tissues of the nose. Each inhalation contains approximately 42 millionths of a gram of the active ingredient, which goes to show how damned strong it is. It's not recommended for children under six, probably because with their lower body weight, systemically absorbed trace quantities could have more pronounced effects. The best way to inhale it is to plug one nostril, point the inhaler into the nostril and align it with the nasal cavity, and blast it in vertically with a somewhat sharp inhalation...kind of like, uhm...yeah. If you get a post-nasal drip, you're not doing it right, as it tends to stick where you spray it. It's best to project it directly up the nose rather than to let any of it touch the surrounding lower tissues, as prolonged exposure by the nasal septum can result in partial perforation, just like with...uhm...yeah.

I've had allergies for my entire life, and experienced them most intensely in the seasons of spring and summer. I've never actually been tested, but I'm pretty sure that cat hair / dander, pollen, and fresh-cut grass (the regular stuff doesn't phase me) are my worst enemies in this regard. They never really were a problem until I moved out of the home and into a 580 square-foot apartment, which I share with a girlfriend and two cats. But then again, now that I've brutally smacked my allergies down with this potent topical corticosteroid, I realize that they've always been a lot worse than I've thought.

My allergies are predominantly nasal, but can spread to my face and eyes once exacerbated. For example, if I let my cat sit in my lap, and he sheds on me (which is guaranteed all year round with my big so-called shorthair), my nose will flare up, followed by my eyes. If he decides to lick my face, the afflicted areas will gradually inflame and itch, which forces me to take a shower lest I suffer the unbearable itching for the duration of the day. There's nothing worse than being unable to clear your nasal passages before going to sleep, and waking up with a cracked and dry tongue after a snore-ridden night of mouth-breathing. Beconase thus far has changed all of that, so I don't have to push the poor kitty away, who after all is just trying to give me some affection while insidiously coating me with his evil territory-marking cat-proteins.

It's so damned effective, it's scary. I was told it might take two to three weeks to kick in, but I noticed an improvement immediately. I used to suffer sneeze attacks that were so bad and so prolonged that I sometimes thought my heart would explode from the constant jarring. I've sneezed so much that I've almost puked, so much that it literally hurts to sneeze anymore. Sneeze attacks are the least fun in public, especially when you end up next to some wise-guy who insists on "blessing you" after each and every freakin' sneeze. Then you get to deal with the nice saliva/mucus coating on your hands, hoping nobody is watching. When you've got bad nasal allergies, blowing your nose is just about utterly pointless. All it really does for me is temporarily relieve the stuffiness (and I mean temporarily as in, seconds) and drive the allergens ever deeper into my nasal tissues. Combine that with the fact that the tissue disintegrates, and it's safe to assume that a fair portion ends up in my nose as well, contributing to the non-stop irritation.

So I went to a doctor for the first time in years (at the behest of my protective momma), and told him that I'd had allergies most of my life, but they were manageable until now. I'd been using Chlorpheniramine maleate as an antihistamine, but never remembed to take it when I really needed it and found that its initially mild side-effects were gradually worsening. You see, anticholinergic antihistamines like Chlor-Trimeton, Sudafed, and Benadryl affect the levels of acetylcholine in the brain, which has a drastic effect on the entire body as a whole. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter that is involved in every voluntary/involuntary muscle movement in the human body, so suppressing it merely to alleviate allergies seems almost absurd, especially when you consider that you're probably better off driving stoned on marijuana than dazed on antihistamine.

So the doc looked up my nose and concluded that it was indeed very congested, and wrote me a script for Beconase. I filled the prescription, but quickly learned about all of the potential negative side-effects, which drove me to leave it unopened for many months, until my pharmacist-mother informed me that nasal polyps as a result of prolonged nasal inflammation are far worse than any of the potential side effects of the inhaler. I've heard stories of nasal perforation (extremely rare and reversible), headaches, sneeze-attacks brought on suddenly after inhalation, and so on, but I took the plunge anyway, and I am all but allergy free.

I've read that Beconase is absolutely useless to some people, so don't take this as some sort of all-encompassing testimonial. I've read that symptoms of hay fever can be alleviated by paying better attention to diet (certain proteins in the diet may aggravate a touchy immune system) and by making better lifestyle choices in general, so I'm wary about depending on some "quick-fix" nasal spray to solve my woes. Plus I've heard that prolonged steroid use weakens the immune system, but isn't "taking the immune system down a notch" kind of the idea? Time will tell. The canister warns not to increase or decrease dosage, or to stop taking it altogether, without consulting a doctor. All I know is, it works for me, for now.

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