Intranasal steroids have proved to be an effective and safe form of therapy for allergic rhinitis. However, as the number of new glucocorticoid compounds has increased over the past decade, it has become important to consider whether significant differences exist between these agents. Pharmacologically, newer drugs such as mometasone furoate and fluticasone propionate appear to have substantially higher topical potencies and lipid solubilities and lower systemic bioavailabilities than do older compounds. In clinical use, however, all the available drugs appear to be equally effective in controlling symptoms of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis. With respect to adverse effects, emerging data suggest that mometasone furoate and fluticasone propionate may have less potential for systemic effects during prolonged use, particularly in children. Newer intranasal steroids appear to have practical advantages over older agents that may favor their use in some groups of patients with allergic rhinitis.