Symbicort is a medication that can treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. This medication is an inhaled corticosteroid. Corticosteroids reduce the amount of inflammation in a patient’s body. Symbicort uses two active ingredients that each can help lower inflation. These are formoterol and budesonide.

Formoterol is a type of medication classified as a long-acting bronchodilator. This ingredient will make breathing easier by relaxing the muscles in the airways. Budesonide is a type of corticosteroid. It reduces swelling and inflammation in the lungs, making breathing more accessible.

This medication is also used for asthma patients to prevent and control the symptoms of the disease. It has been approved for asthma treatment for patients aged six and older. However, this is a preventative medication and isn’t used for a bronchospasm or an asthma attack. For asthmatics, the doctor may prescribe this medication to get asthma under control and then have you stop taking it. It’s often prescribed to patients already using a small or medium dose of an inhaled corticosteroid.

Precautions and Warnings with Symbicort

Some severe health problems can be caused by taking this medication, though many are rare. Certain groups may have a higher risk of some of these effects. In some patients, Symbicort can cause COPD or asthma to become worse. It can tighten up the airways instead of loosening them. This may be life-threatening for some patients. If you have coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath, stop taking Symbicort and call your doctor.

It’s possible to take too much of this medication and to have an overdose of it. If you get too much of the medication, it can cause chest pains, headaches, muscle cramps, insomnia, dizziness, fast heartbeat, nausea, or a dry mouth. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor.

Some patients may get oral thrush from using this medication. This is a fungal infection found inside the mouth. This is often caused by not rinsing the mouth after taking this medication. If you get this infection, white patches appear inside your mouth. It can also cause a red mouth, pain when you swallow or eat, or soreness. If you get thrush, please tell your doctor as soon as possible. You’ll likely have to treat the infection with an antifungal drug.

While taking this medication, you may have a higher risk of developing various infections. If you have an infection or a weakened immune system, your risk of infection is higher. Avoiding anyone with a contagious disease like measles or the flu is best. If you have an active or chronic illness, tell your doctor about it before you start this medication. It can also increase your risk of developing specific lung infections like pneumonia. Call your doctor if you have shortness of breath, cough, or chest pains.

There is a risk of getting reduced function of the adrenal gland when taking Symbicort. This is rare, but this medication can suppress the adrenal gland and keep it from making the amount of steroids that your body needs. This can lead to a dependency on the drug. When this happens, it can be dangerous to stop this medication. If you stop using it and have withdrawal symptoms like low energy or fever, call your doctor.

Symbicort also may cause heart problems in some patients. There is more risk if you have a history of nerve or heart problems. Rarely, this medication may cause a patient to develop seizures or blood pressure changes as well. If you take too much of the drug, there are higher risks of these happening. Suppose you get a fast heart rate, tremors, dizziness, or chest pain. Let your doctor know right away.

This medication can also cause loss of bone density or stunted growth. There is more risk if you have osteoporosis in your family history or eat a poor diet. Symbicort may also cause specific eye problems. It can cause cataracts to form and make glaucoma worse. If you experience any vision changes like eye pain or blurry vision, let your doctor know about the problem.

Some patients develop low potassium levels or high blood sugar. If you get low potassium, it can change your heart rhythm, but this condition is usually temporary. Rarely, it can cause high blood sugar that can cause you to urinate and drink more often or get confused.

It’s also possible to have an allergic reaction to this medication. Don’t take it if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients. Severe allergic reactions may be life-threatening. Watch for any reaction symptoms and seek medical help immediately if you develop wheezing, trouble breathing, dizziness, itching, rash, fainting, or swelling in your mouth or face.

Symbicort Side Effects

When taking this medication for asthma, you may come down with the common cold and have a cough, headache, and sore throat. You may also have a non-cold headache. Some patients develop an upper respiratory tract infection with throat pain and sneezing. You may also create a stuffy nose or a sore throat by itself.

When taking this medication for COPD, you might develop the common cold, get a yeast infection in the mouth called thrush, or develop bronchitis. Some patients may have flu-like symptoms, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, or back pain.

Drug Interactions With Symbicort

There are many more that can lead to severe interactions, so make sure your doctor knows every medication you take. That includes OTC drugs as well as street drugs.

Many, many drugs can have a mild or moderate interaction with this medication. It can also interact with caffeine. The drugs that can have severe interactions with Symbicort include:

  • Adagrasib
  • Amprenavir
  • Atazanavir
  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Baricitnib
  • Boceprevir
  • Bempedoic acid
  • Carteolol
  • Ceritinib
  • Cladribine
  • Certolizumab
  • Clarithromycin (Biaxin)
  • Cobicistat
  • Desmopressin
  • Etanercept (Enbrel)
  • Fingolimod
  • Golimumab
  • Indinavir
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Ketoconazole
  • Lonafarnib
  • Mifepristone
  • Nadalol

Symbicort Strengths and Dosages

There are two strengths of this medication available. Each includes an inhaler and a pill that combines two active ingredients. Each contains 120 doses. There is a strength that is 80 mcg of budesonide and 4.5 mcg of formoterol. The other strength has 160 mcg of budesonide and 4.5 mcg of formoterol. The number of doses you take with the inhaler depends on the severity of this medication and how well it works for you. Be sure to take the exact dose prescribed to you to avoid an overdose.

Symbicort Inhaler:80 mcg/4.5 mcg, 160 mcg/4.5 mcg

FAQs About Symbicort

Can you drink alcohol with this medication?

There is no known interaction between Symbicort and alcohol.

Can you take Symbicort if you’re pregnant?

There may be risks to the baby, but there are also many risks to the baby if you have asthma that isn’t well under control. Since nothing is known about its effects during pregnancy, your doctor must weigh the risks and the benefits.

Is this medication a steroid?

This medication is made up of two active ingredients, and one of them is a corticosteroid.

Why is this medication prescribed?

It is prescribed to help prevent symptoms of both asthma and COPD. It can help prevent attacks and flare-ups so that it’s easier to breathe.

Is Symbicort a rescue inhaler?

No, don’t reach for this one if you need to use a rescue inhaler. Keep using your usual rescue inhaler when needed. Symbicort is a preventative drug.

How quickly does it work?

It starts to help with breathing after about 15 minutes. However, patients don’t get the maximum benefit until the two-week mark. Be sure to take it daily as prescribed to get the best results.

Will this cause me to gain weight?

No, this is not a reported side effect of this medication. When you take oral steroids, weight gain is a risk, but this is not believed to happen when the steroid is inhaled.

What is the cost of Symbicort in America?

The price of your Symbicort depends a lot on the strength that is prescribed and where you pick up the filled prescription. An inhaler with 120 doses often sells for about $250.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. It should not be taken as an endorsement of any specific medication or treatment. Individual health conditions and responses to treatment can vary greatly; therefore, this information should not be seen as a guarantee of safety, suitability, or effectiveness for any particular individual. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized medical advice and before making any decisions regarding your health or treatment plans.

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