by on April 18, 2012
Brand Names:Symbicort
Generic name:budesonide and formoterol
Pregnancy Category:C
Half-life:17 hours

What is Symbicort?

Available by prescription only, Symbicort is a metered-dose aerosol inhaler containing the medications budesonide and formoterol. Budesonide is a corticosteroid that works by reducing the irritation and swelling of the air passages. Formoterol, a long-acting beta agonist, opens the air passages in the lungs to facilitate breathing. Together, these drugs help to control asthma symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

Symbicort was approved in 2006 by the FDA and is available in the follow dosage forms:

  • Inhaler (80mcg/4.5mcg)/puff
  • Inhaler (160mcg/4.5mcg)/puff

Symbicort Uses

Symbicort is a long-term treatment for asthma or lung disease (such as COPD) that must be used regularly to ensure effectiveness. Patients are often prescribed a combination drug, such as Symbicort, after a single medication drug has failed to prevent or control asthma symptoms such as wheezing or difficulty breathing.

Symbicort does not work immediately and is not intended for use as a rescue inhaler to relieve asthma attacks. It is important to always carry a rescue inhaler, also known as a quick-relief inhaler, in case you experience a sudden asthma attack. Rescue inhaler medications, such as albuterol, are safe to use with Symbicort.

SymbicortDo not use Symbicort more than twice per day unless directed to do so by your doctor. Using Symbicort too frequently may increase your risk of developing side effects.

How to use

  • The Symbicort inhaler is used in the same way like other metered dose inhalers (MDIs).
  • The inhaler should be primed prior to first use or if the inhaler has not been used for more than 7 days. When priming the inhaler, spray the medication away from your face. Prevent the contact of the medication with your eyes.
  • Before each use, shake the inhaler for 5 seconds. Inhale the medications by mouth. In general, Symbicort has to be used two times each day: one time in the morning and one time in the evening.
  • Patients using Symbicort should rinse their mouth with abundant water following each use in order to prevent mouth or throat candidiasis. Do not sallow the rinse water.
  • Do not take the inhaler apart. The inhaler should be cleaned at least once per week using a dry cloth.
  • It may take approximately 1 week or longer until the medication is fully effective. Inform your doctor if your health condition do not improve or worsen.

Advisory information

  • Get informed about patient directions on how to use the inhaler in a proper way.
  • Use the medication in a regular way so as to get the most benefit from it. Tot help to remember it is advisable to take the medications always at the same time every day. Symbicort is more effective when it is used at equally spaced intervals. Do not increase the dosage recommended by your doctor. Do not stop to take the medications without consulting you doctor. Do not use other long-acting beta2 agonist while using Symbicort
  • Learn about which inhaler should be used every day and which should be used in case of the sudden asthmatic onset.
  • Get informed about what to do when your medical condition worsens, especially when you can self-medicate and when it is necessary to get medical attention.

Contraindications and cautions

  • Symbicort is contraindicated to treat acute bronchospasm, status asthmaticus or exercise-induced bronchospasm.
  • Symbicort is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to the budesonide or formoterol.
  • Formoterol may affect heart rhythm. Before taking this medication inform your doctor in case of the fallowing conditions: heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG and family history of certain hearth problems such as sudden cardiac death.
  • The risk of QT prolongation is higher when levels of potassium or magnesium drop. This condition is more common if you are using diuretics or if you have diarrhoea, intense sweeting or vomiting.
  • This medication may alter your response to infections. Patients taking Symbicort are more likely to suffer from infections.
  • When this medication is used for a long time, it may affect the response of the body to physical stress. Inform your doctor or dentist before having surgery or emergency treatment o in case of serious illness/injury.
  • This medication should be used with caution in children because it can slow down child’s growth if used for a long time.
  • Symbicort should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy.