Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic available

Rhinocort Aqua Alternatives

(Budesonide)

  • Nasal spray
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Compare Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) to alternatives

These medications are comparable to Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) or used for similar purposes.

Rhinocort Aqua
(Budesonide)

Astepro
(Azelastine)

Flonase
(Fluticasone)

Nasonex
(Mometasone)

Claritin
(Loratadine)

Sudafed
(Pseudoephedrine)

Afrin
(Oxymetazoline)

Relieves nasal allergy symptoms. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) is a steroid nasal spray that works best when used regularly for your nasal allergy symptoms.Relieves nasal allergy symptoms. Astepro (Azelastine) is a prescription-only antihistamine nasal spray that can help with your allergy or nasal symptoms without exposing the rest of your body to the medicine.Relieves allergy symptoms. Flonase (Fluticasone) is a good first-choice medicine for treating a runny or stuffy nose caused by allergies, and it's cheaper than some alternatives.Relieves allergy symptoms. Nasonex (Mometasone) is a good first-choice treatment for stuffy and runny noses caused by allergies.Treats allergy symptoms. Claritin (Loratadine) is a once-daily allergy relief medication that doesn't make you feel sleepy.Clears your sinuses. Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) relieves stuffy nose, but it could keep you up at night. Don't forget your photo ID or you won't be able to buy it in the drugstore.Clears your sinuses. Afrin (Oxymetazoline) clears stuffy noses well, but don't use it for more than 3 days in a row or your congestion could get worse.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Flonase (Fluticasone)
72%
28% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
43%
47% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
7%
7% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
Reviews for Nasonex (Mometasone)
68%
32% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
38%
52% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
8%
8% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
Reviews for Claritin (Loratadine)
74%
26% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
38%
52% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
6%
6% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
Reviews for Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine)
82%
18% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
45%
45% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
6%
6% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
Reviews for Afrin (Oxymetazoline)
71%
29% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
46%
44% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
12%
12% vs. Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide)
Side effects
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
  • Nosebleed 3%
  • Sore throat 1%
  • Bronchospasm 1%
More Rhinocort Aqua side effects »
  • Bitter taste 19%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 7%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Nosebleed 4%
  • Pink eye 3%
  • Cough 3%
  • Nasal burning 2%
  • Sneezing 2%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Paroxysmal sneezing 2%
More Astepro side effects »
  • Asthma symptoms 4%
  • Nausea/vomiting 3%
  • Nosebleed 2%
  • Headache 1%
  • Cough 1%
  • Sore throat 1%
More Flonase side effects »
  • Nosebleed 8%
  • Headache 4%
  • Viral infection 3%
  • Menstrual cramps 2%
  • Sinus inflammation 2%
  • Musculoskeletal pain 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Coughing 1%
  • Vomiting 1%
More Nasonex side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Claritin side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Claritin »

We haven’t found good data for Sudafed side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Sudafed »

We haven’t found good data for Afrin side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Afrin »
How it works
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) is a steroid nasal spray that works directly in your nose to reduce swelling and allergy symptoms.Astepro (Azelastine) is an antihistamine nasal spray. It works directly in your nose to block histamine, a chemical that causes runny nose, itching, and sneezing.Flonase (Fluticasone) is a nasal steroid. It works directly in your nose to reduce swelling and inflammation caused by allergies.Nasonex (Mometasone) is a topical steroid. It works directly where it's applied to help reduce swelling and inflammation in your nose.Claritin (Loratadine) is an antihistamine. It blocks histamine, a chemical that causes congestion, itching, and other allergic reactions. Antihistamines can also make you sleepy, but Loratadine is a low-drowsiness version.Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) is a decongestant. It narrows blood vessels and reduces swelling in your nasal passages to make breathing easier.Afrin (Oxymetazoline) is a nasal decongestant. It reduces swelling in your nose to make breathing easier.
Type of medication
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
CorticosteroidPrescription only
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription only
Anti-inflammatory
Corticosteroid
Prescription or OTC
Anti-inflammatory
Corticosteroid
Prescription only
Antihistamine
2nd generation
Prescription or OTC
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
DecongestantPrescription or OTC
Available as
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
  • Nasal spray
  • Nasal spray
  • Nasal spray
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Chewable tablet
  • Orally disintegrating tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
Risk factors for serious side effects
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
  • Long-term use
  • Surgery or trauma to the nose or sinuses
  • Long-term use
  • Untreated infections
  • Long-term use
  • Long-term use
  • Long-term use
  • Taking more than recommended dose
Detailed Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) risks & warnings »
Coming soon.Coming soon.Coming soon.Coming soon.Coming soon.Coming soon.
Pregnancy category
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

See the FDA package insert
Alcohol
No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
Food
No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
Kidneys and liver
No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
Sex
No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
Sleep
  • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
  • Some people get a headache or feel drowsy and dizzy after using it.
No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
  • Relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose just as well as other antihistamines, but with less sedation (drowsiness).
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
No specific sleep-related info.
Weight
No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
Upsides and benefits
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
  • Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide) lowers the number of nasal symptoms you'll get during allergy season.
  • Most people don't have many side effects since it works in the nose and doesn't affect the rest of your body.
  • Doesn't make you drowsy or dizzy.
  • Astepro (Azelastine) lowers the number of nasal symptoms you'll get during allergy season.
  • Works faster than steroid nasal sprays and can be used as needed.
  • Most people don't have any side effects since it works in the nose and doesn't affect the rest of your body.
  • Won't make you feel sleepy.
  • Works just as well as steroid nasal sprays.
  • Available as a generic medication.
  • First-choice medication for treating runny and stuffy noses caused by allergies. It works by reducing inflammation in the nose.
  • Because it's used directly where the inflammation is happening, it has fewer side effects than oral steroids do and has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms once the medication is stopped.
  • Can be used as needed to help control symptoms in people age 13 years or older.
  • Available as a generic, which is cheaper.
  • First-choice medication for treating runny and stuffy noses caused by allergies. It works by reducing inflammation in the nose.
  • Because it's used directly where the inflammation is happening, it has fewer side effects than oral steroids do and has a lower chance of causing withdrawal symptoms once the medication is stopped.
  • Can be used as needed to help control symptoms in people age 13 years or older.
  • Relieves allergy symptoms like sneezing and runny nose just as well as other antihistamines, but with less sedation (drowsiness).
  • Also treats hives and itchy skin.
  • Side effects are rare and usually mild.
  • Available over the counter without a prescription.
  • Comes as a tablet, liquid, or quick-dissolving tablet.
  • Can provide quick relief of allergy symptoms for both kids and adults.
  • Okay to take with most other medications because it doesn't have many interactions.
  • One of the best over-the-counter options to clear stuffy nose and help you breathe better.
  • Clears nasal congestion better than other decongestants like phenylephrine.
  • Can be helpful in relieving congestion-related headaches and pressure in your ears.
  • Available in regular and extended release forms.
  • It works right away and each dose provides relief for up to 12 hours.
  • Can use for nasal congestion caused by colds and allergies.
  • It only affects your nose, so there aren't too many other side effects.
  • Available as a nasal spray and a nasal mist.
Downsides and risks
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
  • Needs to be used everyday to work, so it can't be used as needed.
  • Can hace an unpleasant smell or taste.
  • It's good for 120 sprays, but there isn't a counter to help you keep track of sprays.
  • Can't be used in kids younger than age 6 years.
  • Need a prescription to get Rhinocort Aqua (Budesonide).
  • In older versions of the medicine, you can get a bitter taste in your mouth after spraying it into your nose.
  • Can cause nose bleeds if the spray nozzle is inserted into your nose wrongly.
  • Need a prescription to get Astepro (Azelastine).
  • It's good for 200 sprays, but there isn't a counter to help you keep track of sprays.
  • Flonase (Fluticasone) doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left (each bottle has 120 sprays).
  • Needs to be primed (pressed/pumped until a fine spray appears) up to six times prior to using it for the first time, or if you haven't used it in 2 weeks.
  • Since the medicine in Flonase (Fluticasone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
  • Needs to be primed 10 times before it can be used, or re-primed if not used for more than 2 weeks.
  • Doesn't have a counter on it, so it can be hard to remember how many sprays are left (each bottle has 120 sprays).
  • Since the medicine in Nasonex (Mometasone) is a steroid, it can slow down your healing process if you've hurt your nose or had nose surgery.
  • For some people, its effectiveness on treating allergies wears off over time.
  • Some people find that other more sedating antihistamines (like Zyrtec or Benadryl) are more effective for them.
  • If you have daily allergy symptoms, a prescription nasal steroid spray might be better for you long-term.
  • Not for kids under 2 years.
  • The Reditabs version contains aspartame (phenylalanine).
  • Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant) can make your heart race or make you feel anxious and restless.
  • It can affect the quality of your sleep, so you can't take it too close to going to bed.
  • Can raise blood pressure so check with your doctor before using it if you have high blood pressure or other heart conditions.
  • Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) isn't as effective after using it for more than 4 days straight.
  • Need to show a photo ID to buy it in the drugstore and there is a limit on how much you can buy each visit.
  • Afrin (Oxymetazoline), like all other sprays used for stuffy noses, can make your congestion worse if you use it for more than 3 or 4 days in a row (called rebound-congestion).
  • Can cause temporary stinging, burning, or dryness in your nose.
  • Can't be used for kids younger than 6 years old.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
Rhinocort AquaAsteproFlonaseNasonexClaritinSudafedAfrin
  • Works best if used everyday. It takes about one week to start seeing the best results.
  • Shake the spray gently and clear your nose before each use.
  • Before using it for the first time or if you haven't used it in 2 days, prime the spray pump until you see a fine mist.
  • Breathe in slowly as you're spraying and tilt your head back slightly after spraying. Wait 15 minutes before blowing your nose if needed.
  • Some people get minor nose irritation, nosebleeds, sore throat, or headaches after using it.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know how to use this nose spray correctly.
  • Starts working in 15 minutes.
  • Before using the spray for the first time, prime it until you see a fine mist.
  • Clear your nose before using the spray and breathe in slowly as you're spraying. After spraying, wait a few minutes before blowing your nose if needed.
  • Tilt your head forward to avoid getting a bitter taste while spraying the medicine.
  • Some people get a headache or feel drowsy and dizzy after using it.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know how to use this nose spray correctly.
  • It can take several days for Flonase (Fluticasone) to start working fully.
  • Don't take more of it than was prescribed for you.
  • Blow your nose before using Flonase (Fluticasone).
  • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside the nose and throat.
  • Can also cause a headache, sore throat, or nosebleeds.
  • Use Nasonex (Mometasone) once a day, following age-specific recommendations on how many sprays to use. Don't take more than prescribed.
  • Blow your nose before using.
  • Can cause thrush (a fungal infection) inside your nose and throat. Can also cause nosebleeds, a sore throat, and headaches.
  • Needs to be used regularly during allergy season for it to work. It can take 1 to 2 weeks for the medicine to start working fully.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist on how to use the nasal spray the right way.
  • Shake well before using it. Before the first use, prime the bottle by spraying it until you see a fine mist.
  • Take it only once a day.
  • Starts working in a few hours.
  • Can make you feel sleepy, so take it at bedtime if needed.
  • Avoid possible side effects by drinking plenty of non-caffeinated liquids.
  • If you need to use it for more than a few weeks, talk with your doctor about trying a nasal steroid instead, which might work better for you long-term.
  • Using an antihistamine eye drop might work better to help itchy or watery eyes.
  • Starts working in 30 minutes.
  • You need to show an ID to buy Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) in the drugstore because it contains pseudoephedrine.
  • Follow age-specific dosing instructions on how much to take. Don't take more than recommended on the package.
  • Don't take Sudafed (Pseudoephedrine) too close to bedtime since it can keep you awake.
  • Can cause an irregular or fast heartbeat, and can raise your blood pressure.
  • Talk to your doctor if your symptoms don't get better in 1 week.
  • Use 2 to 3 sprays in each nostril every 10 to 12 hours. Don't use Afrin (Oxymetazoline) more than two times a day.
  • Keep your head upright and don't tilt it back when spraying Afrin (Oxymetazoline) into your nose.
  • Breathe in with quick sniffs while spraying and wait a few minutes before blowing your nose.
  • Don't use Afrin (Oxymetazoline) for more than 3 days in a row since it can worsen your congestion after a few days of use.
Learn more
More about Rhinocort AquaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
More about AsteproSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about FlonaseSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about NasonexSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about ClaritinSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about SudafedSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
More about AfrinSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert