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What is Symbicort?

The Symbicort Inhaler is a combination therapy for asthma patients. This inhaler is a bronchodilator combination, containing budesonide and formoterol. Budesonide is a corticosteroid that eases asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation. Formoterol is a long-acting bronchodilator that relaxes the airway muscles. Together, the Symbicort inhaler is used to improve breathing and control symptoms in adults and children at overleast 6 years old. This medication is also approved to manage symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Symbicort may not be used as an emergency quick-relief inhaler. Additionally, Symbicort is for use by patients with severe asthma, and your doctor may tell you to stop taking this medication once your asthma is under control.

Follow your doctor’s instructions before starting Symbicort

  • Children should have help from an adult when using Symbicort
  • Take a deep breathe out and place the inhaler in your mouth
  • Press the inhaler cartridge down to release medicine
  • Inhale for 10 seconds after release of medication
  • Repeat for the second puff
  • Rinse your mouth out when finished

Cautions

Do not use the Symbicort Inhaler if you are allergic to budesonide or formoterol. To ensure Symbicort is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have a history of the following conditions:

  • osteoporosis
  • a thyroid disorder
  • tuberculosis
  • heart disease, high blood pressure
  • liver problems
  • a seizure
  • a drug allergy
  • a weak immune system
  • an electrolyte imbalance, such as low potassium levels in your blood
  • glaucoma, cataracts, or other vision problems
  • diabetes

It is not known if budesonide or formoterol will harm an unborn baby. However, you should still inform your doctor if you are pregnant. Uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy increases the risk of birth complications, so it is important to treat asthma and manage symptoms. If you are breastfeeding, ask your doctor if it is safe to do so while using Symbicort. This medication is not approved for anyone below the age of six.

Side Effects of budesonide/formoterol

Common side effects include:

  • throat pain or irritation
  • flu symptoms
  • cold symptoms such as stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, sore throat
  • white patches in your mouth or throat
  • back pain, headache
  • stomach discomfort, vomiting

Contact your doctor if you experience the following:

  • sores or white patches in your mouth and throat
  • leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling
  • high blood sugar
  • flu symptoms - fever, chills, body aches, unusual tiredness
  • wheezing
  • tremors, nervousness, chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats
  • eye pain or redness
  • tiredness or weakness, feeling light-headed, nausea, vomiting

FAQs

How quickly does Symbicort start to work?

Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol) is used to treat severe symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the long term. Nevertheless, asthma patients should see improvements in symptoms within 15 minutes, and COPD patients should experience improved lung function within the first five minutes. As this medication is for long-term treatment, the full benefit of Symbicort may take up to two weeks to take effect.

What does Symbicort do to the lungs?

When you inhale Symbicort, the ingredients budesonide and formoterol relax your airways, reduce inflammation, and open up your lungs to ease breathing. More specifically, budesonide works to reduce inflammation, and formoterol (a long-acting beta-2 agonist) relaxes the smooth muscles in and around the airways of your lungs. The combination of these two medications have been used to treat asthma and COPD since 2006.

Is Symbicort a rescue inhaler?

No, Symbicort should not be used for emergency situations. It does not open up the airways fast enough for an asthma attack. Symbicort is used long-term to prevent asthma flare-ups.

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