No, Flonase (fluticasone) does not come in a pill form. For use as a decongestant, it is only available as a nasal mist.
Fluticasone: A Corticosteroid
The active ingredient in Flonase, fluticasone, is classified as a corticosteroid and while there are other corticosteroids available in pill form (e.g. budesonide, prednisone), they should not be used for nasal congestion.
When used in sprays for nasal congestion, corticosteroids are very effective but exert mainly local effects (i.e. to the area of application). They are not extensively absorbed into the bloodstream.
Corticosteroids in pill form (like prednisone) have a wide range of applications, from treating inflammatory diseases, to use as immunosuppressants.
However, you would never use an oral corticosteroid to treat nasal congestion.
Oral steroids have an exhaustive list of potential side effects, such as adrenal insufficiency, increased blood glucose levels, cataracts, and growth inhibition, just to name a few.
The use of a corticosteroid nasally (like Flonase) is generally considered to be safe due to the low systemic absorption and they are not associated with the side effects of taking them orally.
How Else Does Fluticasone Come?
As mentioned, as a nasal decongestant, fluticasone is only available in a nasal mist, intended to be sprayed directly in the nose.
However, fluticasone is also available in other dosage forms intended for other indications. It is available as:
- Oral inhalation powder (for asthma)
- Topical cream (for skin disorders)
- Topical lotion (for skin disorders)
- Topical ointment (for skin disorders)
If you are looking for an alternative nasal steroid spray, there are several available.
- Flonase Sensimist (fluticasone furoate)
- Rhinocort (budesonide)
- Nasacort (triamcinolone)
All of these nasal sprays are similar and should be just about as effective as one another.
You may notice that Flonase Sensimist also contains fluticasone.
We have written about the difference between Flonase (fluticasone propionate) and Flonase Sensimist (fluticasone furoate) in the past, but as a summary, Flonase Sensimist has a finer spray and may cause less irritation than 'regular' Flonase.
If you are looking for an oral decongestant option, there are two:
- Sudafed (pseudoephedrine)
- Sudafed PE (phenylephrine)
These two drugs are not steroids but can provide effective relief from congestion (as a side note, most studies indicate that pseudoephedrine is more effective than phenylephrine).
SummaryFlonase (fluticasone propionate) does not come in a pill form. It is also available as an inhaler powder (for asthma) and in topical dosage forms (cream, ointment) but the nasal spray is the only form indicated to treat congestion.