Due to fast nasal mucociliary clearance, only the dissolved drug content can effectively permeate the mucosa and be pharmaceutically active after intranasal application of suspensions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to increase the budesonide concentration in solution of a nasal spray formulation. Budesonide, a highly water-insoluble corticosteroid, was successfully solubilized using a micellar formulation comprising escin, propylene glycol and dexpanthenol in an aqueous buffered environment ("Budesolv"). A formulation based on this micellar system was well-tolerated in the nasal cavity as shown in a good laboratory practice (GLP) local tolerance study in rabbits. Ex vivo permeation studies into porcine nasal mucosa revealed a faster and more efficient absorption. Budesolv with 300 µg/mL solubilized budesonide resulted in a budesonide concentration of 42 µg/g tissue after only 15 min incubation. In comparison, incubation with the marketed product Rhinocort® aqua 64 (1.28 mg/mL budesonide as suspension) led to 15 µg/g tissue. The in vivo tumor-necrosis-factor (TNF)-α secretion in an acute lung inflammation mouse model was significantly reduced (p< 0.001) following a prophylactic treatment with Budesolv compared to Rhinocort® aqua 64. Successful treatment 15 min after the challenge was only possible with Budesolv (40% reduction of TNF-α, p = 0.0012) suggesting a faster onset of action. The data reveal that solubilization based on saponin micelles presents an opportunity for the development of products containing hardly soluble substances that result in a faster onset and a better topical treatment effect.