Compare Spiriva vs. Symbicort

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

Spiriva
(tiotropium)

Symbicort
(budesonide / formoterol)

Makes it easier to breathe. Spiriva (Tiotropium) works well to reduce COPD symptoms and flare-ups with fewer side effects than some medicines that open airways, but you have to use it every 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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Coupons for Spiriva
Best available price for 30 (30 capsules of 18mcg per capsule) handihalers of spiriva
Coupons for Symbicort
Best available price for 10.2 (120 doses of 160mcg/4.5mcg) inhalers of symbicort
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.78Spiriva
Reviews for Spiriva
64%
of people (All ages) say Spiriva is worth it
46%
say it works well
8%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Spiriva (tiotropium)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Symbicort
58%
+6% better vs. Spiriva
40%
+6% better vs. Spiriva
14%
+6% better vs. Spiriva
394 reviews
Have you used Symbicort (budesonide / formoterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
SpirivaSymbicort
  • Respiratory tract infection 4%
  • Dry mouth 13%
  • Sore throat 2%
  • Sinus inflammation 2%
  • Urinary tract infection 2%
  • Chest pain (non-specific) 2%
  • Headache 1%
  • Indigestion 1%
More Spiriva 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
SpirivaSymbicort
Spiriva (Tiotropium) is a bronchodilator. It relaxes muscles in your lungs to open your 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
SpirivaSymbicort
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
SpirivaSymbicort
  • Inhaler
  • Inhaler
Used for
SpirivaSymbicort
Risk factors for serious side effects
SpirivaSymbicort
  • History of atropine allergic reaction
  • History of narrow-angle glaucoma
  • History of urinary bladder blockage (urinary obstruction)
  • History of enlarged prostate
  • Severe milk protein allergy
Detailed Spiriva (tiotropium) 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
SpirivaSymbicort
  • The kidney is mainly responsible for removing Spiriva (Tiotropium) from the body so people with kidney disease or reduced function need to be watched closely. Spiriva (Tiotropium) can build up in the body and cause certain side effects. Tell your doctor if you develop dry mouth, blurry vision, confusion, sweating, increased heart rate or constipation. You may need to discuss other medication options to treat your COPD.
  • 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
SpirivaSymbicort
No weight related info.
  • Steroids can slow height growth in kids.
Upsides and benefits
SpirivaSymbicort
  • Helps you breathe easier and lessens the need for a fast-acting (rescue) inhaler.
  • Reduces flare-ups and hospitalizations with fewer side effects compared to some other medicines that open airways.
  • You only need to take it once a day.
  • 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
SpirivaSymbicort
  • Won't cure your COPD (but it will relieve your symptoms).
  • You'll need to use this medicine for a long time, and you have to take it every day.
  • Can make symptoms of enlarged prostate or urinary blockage worse.
  • Can worsen a certain type of glaucoma.
  • You might feel dizzy or have blurry vision while taking this medicine.
  • 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
SpirivaSymbicort
  • Don't swallow the capsule. Insert the capsule into an inhaler device only.
  • Use daily to control your COPD.
  • Starts working the first few hours, but it may take longer to feel full effects.
  • Prevents breathing problems, but doesn't stop sudden cough or wheezing once they start.
  • Don't breathe out into the inhaler.
  • You might feel dizzy and notice changes in your vision.
  • Don't use it if you have an allergy to atropine.
  • Contains lactose, so don't use it if you're allergic to milk protein.
  • 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 SpirivaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Spiriva (tiotropium)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about SymbicortSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Symbicort (budesonide / formoterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it