Compare Combivent vs. Symbicort

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Combivent
(Ipratropium / Albuterol)

Symbicort
(Budesonide / Formoterol)

Makes it easier to breathe. Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) is good for people who need 2 medicines to relieve their COPD symptoms, but you need to be okay with taking it four times a day.Prevents breathing problems. Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) is good for people who need two medicines to control their asthma or COPD, but it might be expensive since there's no generic available.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.6453900709219855Combivent
Reviews for Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol)
63%
of people say Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) is worth it
37%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)
57%
6% vs. Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol)
39%
+2% vs. Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol)
15%
2% vs. Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol)
Side effects
CombiventSymbicort

The Combivent FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Combivent side effects »
  • Stomach discomfort 5%
  • Oral candidiasis 4%
  • Headache 4%
  • Throat pain 4%
  • Lung infection 3%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 3%
  • Common cold 2%
  • Flu 2%
  • Nasal congestion 2%
  • Vomiting 2%
More Symbicort side effects »
How it works
CombiventSymbicort
Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) is a combination medicine. It contains two bronchodilators (ipratropium and albuterol), which relax muscles in your lungs to open airways and make breathing easier.Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) is a combination medicine. Budesonide (a corticosteroid) lowers lung inflammation to control asthma and COPD. Formoterol (a bronchodilator) relaxes muscles in your lungs to open airways and make breathing easier.
Type of medication
CombiventSymbicort
Bronchodilator
Short-acting bronchodilator
Bronchodilator
Short-acting bronchodilator
Prescription only
Anti-inflammatory
Corticosteroid
Bronchodilator
Long-acting bronchodilator
Prescription only
Available as
CombiventSymbicort
  • Inhaler
  • Inhaler
Used for (click to learn more)
CombiventSymbicort
Risk factors for serious side effects
CombiventSymbicort
    • History of rapid heartbeat
    • History of high blood pressure
    • history of heart failure or chest pain.
    • History of narrow-angle glaucoma
    • History of high eye pressure
    • Spraying Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) into eyes
    • History of urinary bladder blockage (urinary obstruction)
    • History of enlarged prostate
    • History of atropine allergic reaction
    • Taking Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) with drugs that decrease potassium
    • History of low potassium
    • Taking Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) aerosol inhaler
    • History of soybean allergy
    • History of peanut allergy
    Detailed Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) risks & warnings »
    • Adverse effect of long-acting beta agonist drugs (LABAs), one of the medications in Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol), a combination drug.
    • History of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
    • COPD includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
    • Age greater than 65 years
    • Lowering dose or stopping too quickly especially after long-term treatment
    • Stress such as trauma, surgery or infection
    • Not rinsing mouth after use
    • Higher dose of the corticosteroid medication contained in Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)
    • Adverse effect of long-acting beta agonist drugs (LABAs) found in Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol), a combination medication.
    • History of arrhythmia, hypertension or heart failure
    Detailed Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    CombiventSymbicort
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    • There are reports of severe allergic reactions in people taking Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) aerosol inhaler who have allergies to soybean or peanuts. This is because the aerosol contains soya lecithin. Call 911 or your doctor right away if you develop severe rash, itching, swelling or difficulty breathing while taking Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol). Talk to your doctor about other medication choices to treat your COPD if you know you have food allergies to soybean and/or peanuts.
    No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • One of the medications in Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol) may increase blood pressure and heart rate, especially if you already have these conditions. Tell your doctor if you notice a tremor, rapid heartbeat, get dizzy or have difficulty sleeping while taking Combivent (Ipratropium / Albuterol), you may need to change or stop this medication.
    • Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) may increase blood pressure and heart rate, especially if you already have these conditions. These symptoms are related to one of the medications in this product so don't change or increase your dose without talking to your doctor first. Tell your doctor if you develop dizziness, tremor, nausea, rapid heartbeat, become very tired or have difficulty sleeping while taking Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol), you may need to change or stop this medication.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    CombiventSymbicort
    • 2-in-1 medicine that opens airways and makes it easier to breathe. Medicines are more effective together than alone.
    • Effectively relieves COPD and asthma symptoms.
    • Respimat formulation has a clear display for dosing, doesn't require shaking, and only needs one inhalation per dose.
    • 2-in-1 medicine that lowers inflammation and opens airways in your lungs. Medicines are more effective together than alone.
    • Makes lung function significantly better.
    • Lowers the number of flare-ups and rescue inhaler uses in asthma and COPD.
    • In studies, shown to improve asthma symptoms, rescue inhaler use, and lung function on the first day.
    Downsides and risks
    CombiventSymbicort
    • You have to use Combivent four times a day.
    • Can make symptoms of enlarged prostate or urinary blockage worse.
    • Can worsen a certain type of glaucoma.
    • Can make your heart race.
    • You have to use Symbicort twice a day, every day to control your symptoms.
    • You can't lower the dose or stop taking it too suddenly.
    • Lower doses are not as effective for COPD.
    • Steroids can slow height growth in kids.
    • Because steroids suppress your immune system, you can catch bacterial and viral infections easier, and they can take longer to go away.
    • There have been some reports of worsening asthma leading to death when taking this medicine.
    • Can make your heart race.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    CombiventSymbicort
    • Starts working in 15 to 30 minutes, and lasts about 4 to 6 hours.
    • Make sure to read the instructions about how to set up your first dose.
    • Clean the mouthpiece with a damp cloth once a week.
    • The inhaler shows you how much medication you have left so you can plan ahead for refills.
    • Don't take it more often or change your dose without talking to your doctor first.
    • Tell your doctor if the medication stops working or if your symptoms get worse.
    • One type of inhaler contains soya lecithin, so don't use if you have soybean, peanut, or allergies to atropine.
    • Lowers inflammation and opens airways to improve breathing.
    • Prevents breathing problems, but doesn't stop sudden cough or wheezing once they start.
    • Starts working in about 30 minutes, but can take 1 to 2 weeks to feel full effects.
    • Use inhaler in a level position, and don't breathe out into the device.
    • Rinse your mouth out with water after each use.
    • Shake inhaler for 5 seconds before you use it.
    • Pump the inhaler 4 times before inhaling the first dose, or if it's been more than a month since your last dose.
    • Call 911 or your doctor if it's hard to breathe, or if you have an asthma attack while taking this medication.
    Learn more
    More about CombiventSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about SymbicortSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert