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What is a Symbicort Inhaler?

Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol) is a bronchodilator combination that can be used to treat symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This medication is approved for use in adults and children who are at least six years old. Budesonide is a corticosteroid that treats inflammation in the airways. Formoterol is a long-acting bronchodilator that relaxes the muscles in your lungs. Ask your doctor if the Symbicort inhaler is the right treatment for you. Symbicort is typically used to treat more severe respiratory illnesses, and your treatment may be stopped once your symptoms are under control.

Read the prescription label and medication guide before useing
Follow your doctor’s instructions

  • Children should have help from an adult when using Symbicort
  • Do not use it as a rescue inhaler during an asthma attack
  • Keep using this medication as directed. Symptoms may take up to a week to improve
  • Do not change the dosage without your doctor’s advice
  • Store with the mouthpiece down, away from high heat to prevent the canister from exploding
  • Do not puncture the inhaler canister

Cautions

Do not use the Symbicort Inhaler if you are allergic to budesonide or formoterol. To ensure Symbicort is safe for you, let your doctor know about any pre-existing conditions, such as:

  • osteoporosis
  • a thyroid disorder
  • 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
  • tuberculosis
  • heart disease, high blood pressure
  • liver disease

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, inform your doctor. It is not known if budesonide or formoterol will harm an unborn baby. If you have uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy, birth complications may occur, so the benefits of this drug may outweigh the risks to the mother and baby’s health. Seek advice from your doctor.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Symbicort include:

  • white patches in your mouth or throat
  • back pain
  • stomach pain
  • throat pain
  • flu symptoms
  • stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, sore throat

Contact your doctor if you experience severe side effects of Symbicort, which may include:

  • white patches in the mouth and throat (thrush)
  • low potassium level - leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling
  • high blood sugar - increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor
  • eye pain, redness, or seeing halos around lights
  • hormonal disorder symptoms
  • flu symptoms
  • Shortness of breath
  • wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medication
  • tremors

FAQs

How does Symbicort affect my lungs?

The ingredients in Symbicort (budesonide & formoterol) work together to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles in your airways. When you inhale this medication, the lungs will open up and make breathing easier. Note that Symbicort does not work fast enough to replace an emergency inhaler.

How long does it take for Symbicort to work?

Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol) is a long-term treatment for severe symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), so it may not work immediately. An improvement in symptoms may be seen within 15 minutes. COPD patients may notice improved lung function within the first 5 minutes. It may take up to two weeks for the full effect of Symbicort to kick in.

Can you use Symbicort for emergency situations?

No, Symbicort is not approved as a rescue inhaler for emergency relief during an asthma attack. This medication does not work quickly enough to open up the airways in case of an asthma attack. Symbicort is only approved to be used over time to reduce the severity of asthma flare-ups and symptoms.

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