Budesonide and formoterol are a combination medication that helps in managing and preventing symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath caused by asthma or ongoing lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
This medication contains two active ingredients, budesonide and formoterol. Budesonide belongs to the class of corticosteroids that helps in reducing the swelling and irritation of the airways. Formoterol belongs to the class of long-acting beta agonists that helps in relaxing the muscles around the airways to allow easy breathing. By controlling the symptoms of breathing problems, this medication can minimize the time lost from work or school.
Uses and Dosage
To use the inhaler properly, follow the instructions for priming it if you are using it for the first time, if you have not used it for more than 7 days, or if the inhaler was dropped. When priming, ensure that you spray away from your face to prevent medication from getting into your eyes.
Before each use, shake the inhaler well for 5 seconds. Inhale this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, typically twice a day (in the morning and evening, 12 hours apart). If your prescribed dose is 2 puffs, wait for at least a minute between them.
Wait for at least a minute between the use of this medication and other inhalers if you are using them simultaneously. Always use this drug last.
To prevent dry mouth, hoarseness, and oral yeast infections, gargle, rinse your mouth with water, and spit it out after each use. Avoid swallowing the rinse water.
Clean the inhaler once a week with a dry cloth, and do not disassemble it.
The dosage of this medication depends on your medical condition and response to treatment. Use it regularly to achieve the most benefits, and take it at evenly spaced intervals. To help remember, take it at the same time each day. Do not increase your dose, use this medication more often, or stop using it without consulting your doctor.
Do not use other long-acting beta agonists while using this medication.
If you are regularly taking a different corticosteroid by mouth, such as prednisone, do not stop taking it unless directed by your doctor. Abruptly stopping the drug may worsen some conditions such as asthma and allergies, and may cause withdrawal symptoms. To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may gradually reduce the dose of your old medication after you start using budesonide/formoterol. Tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately if you experience withdrawal symptoms.
If you have been using a quick-relief inhaler such as albuterol on a regular daily schedule, stop this schedule and only use the quick-relief inhaler as needed for sudden shortness of breath or asthma attacks.
It may take up to a week or longer to experience the full benefits of this drug. Inform your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or worsen.
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention:
- stomach discomfort
- difficulty with moving
- muscle spasms or stiffness
- pain in the arms or legs
- stomach upset
- swollen joints
Inform your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any serious side effects:
- body aches or pain
- difficulty with breathing
- ear congestion
- loss of voice
- muscle aches
- pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
- sore throat
- stuffy or runny nose
- tightness of the chest
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Before using this medication, inform your doctor or pharmacist about any allergies you have to budesonide, formoterol, or arformoterol, or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients that could trigger allergic reactions or other complications.
Before using this medication, share your medical history with your doctor or pharmacist, especially if you have a current or past infection such as tuberculosis or herpes, high blood pressure, heart disease including chest pain, heart attack, or irregular heartbeat, hyperthyroidism, seizures, osteoporosis, eye problems such as cataracts or glaucoma, diabetes, liver disease, aneurysm, or pheochromocytoma.
Formoterol may lead to a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), which could rarely cause serious symptoms such as a fast or irregular heartbeat, severe dizziness, or fainting that require immediate medical attention.
A low level of potassium or magnesium in your blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use specific medications such as diuretics or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
This medication may mask the signs of an infection, making you more susceptible to infections or worsening any current infections. Avoid contact with individuals who have infections that can spread to others like chickenpox, measles, or flu. If you have been exposed to an infection or require additional information, consult your doctor.
If you have switched from a corticosteroid taken by mouth (such as prednisone tablets) to this inhaler within the past year or have been using this product in higher-than-usual doses for an extended period, it may be more challenging for your body to respond to physical stress. Prior to undergoing surgery, emergency treatment, or if you develop a severe illness/injury, inform your doctor or dentist that you are using this medication or have used a corticosteroid taken by mouth in the past year. If you experience unusual fatigue or weight loss, inform your doctor immediately.
This medication may temporarily slow down a child’s growth if used for a prolonged period. Poorly managed asthma may also hinder growth. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor to measure your child’s height.
Older adults may be more prone to side effects, especially QT prolongation.
During pregnancy, this medication should only be used when absolutely necessary. Discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor.
Budesonide enters breast milk, and it is unknown whether formoterol passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.
Form and Strength
Symbicort is available in the following forms and strengths:
Symbicort aerosol inhaler:
budesonide and formoterol aerosol inhaler:
Do you have to rinse your mouth after using Symbicort Inhaler?
After you finish taking Symbicort Inhaler, rinse your mouth with water. Spit out the water. Do not swallow it.
How do I know if Symbicort Inhaler is working?
Your symptoms should start improving within 15 minutes of your inhalation. Full improvement in your symptoms may not occur for 2 weeks or longer after you have started treatment.