The potential for a newly developed, double-strength (0.084%) beclomethasone dipropionate (BDP) aqueous (AQ) nasal suspension to produce effects associated with exposure to systemic corticosteroids was assessed by the plasma cortisol response to cosyntropin stimulation induced by a 6-hour intravenous infusion of 250 micrograms of cosyntropin in 500 mL of normal saline. Sixty-four patients with allergic rhinitis were enrolled in this study. Patients were randomly assigned to one of the following four treatment groups: (1) BDP AQ Forte (0.084%) nasal spray 336 micrograms once daily; (2) BDP AQ (0.042%) nasal spray 168 micrograms twice daily; (3) placebo nasal spray twice daily; or (4) oral prednisone 10 mg once daily in the morning. After 36 consecutive days of treatment, there was a significant (P < 0.01) difference in the plasma cortisol response to cosyntropin stimulation between the prednisone and placebo groups; however, there were no significant differences between the BDP AQ Forte or the BDP AQ groups compared with the placebo group. Secondary analyses comparing BDP AQ Forte administered as 336 micrograms once daily with BDP AQ administered as 168 micrograms twice daily showed no significant differences in plasma cortisol responses to cosyntropin stimulation. No serious adverse events were reported. Adverse events consisted of headache, pharyngitis, or nasal irritation, with headache being reported most frequently. These adverse events were similarly distributed among active treatment groups and were similar to placebo. No clinically relevant changes were observed in any treatment group in findings on clinical laboratory tests, physical examination, or electrocardiography. Vital signs, obtained daily, were consistent with values observed in healthy individuals. No patient exhibited signs of oral candidiasis. All patients met the plasma cortisol concentration criteria for discharge relative to expected hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function. In conclusion, there were no significant differences in plasma cortisol responses to cosyntropin stimulation between groups of patients with allergic rhinitis treated with either BDP AQ Forte (0.084%) nasal spray 336 micrograms once daily or BDP AQ (0.042%) nasal spray 168 micrograms twice daily compared with the placebo group. These results indicate that the dosing regimens of BDP AQ nasal suspensions used in this study lack systemic effects and are safe and well tolerated.