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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.62Combivent
Reviews for Combivent
63%
of people (All ages) say Combivent is worth it
37%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
142 reviews
Have you used Combivent (ipratropium / albuterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Symbicort
58%
+5% better vs. Combivent
40%
-3% worse vs. Combivent
14%
+1% better vs. Combivent
394 reviews
Have you used Symbicort (budesonide / formoterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
CombiventSymbicort
  • Bronchitis 12%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 11%
  • Headache 6%
  • Shortness of breath 5%
  • Coughing 4%
  • Pain 3%
  • Respiratory disorders 3%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Sinus inflammation 2%
More Combivent side effects »
  • Common cold 2%
  • Throat pain 1%
  • Sinus inflammation 1%
  • Flu 2%
  • Back pain 2%
  • Nasal congestion 2%
  • Stomach discomfort 5%
  • 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
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
CombiventSymbicort
  • Inhaler
  • Inhaler
Used for
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
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
Detailed Symbicort (budesonide / formoterol) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

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.

Kidneys and liver
CombiventSymbicort
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Adrenal suppression can occur if you lower your dose or stop taking Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) too quickly which is related to one of the medications in the combination. Symptoms include joint or muscle pain, extreme low energy and depression. Changes in your medication need to be done slowly and over time. Talk to your doctor before you decrease or stop Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol).
Weight
CombiventSymbicort
No weight related info.
  • Steroids can slow height growth in kids.
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 your heart race.
  • Can make symptoms of enlarged prostate or urinary blockage worse.
  • Can worsen a certain type of glaucoma.
  • 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.
  • Can make your heart race.
  • 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.
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
Have you used Combivent (ipratropium / albuterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SymbicortSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Symbicort (budesonide / formoterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it