Compare Symbicort vs. Theophylline

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

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Symbicort
(Budesonide / Formoterol)

Theo-24
(Theophylline)

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.Coming soon.
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Reviews & ratings
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4.67Symbicort
Reviews for Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)
58%
of people (All ages) say Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) is worth it
40%
say it works well
14%
say it's a big hassle
394 reviews
Have you used Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Theo-24 (Theophylline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
SymbicortTheophylline
  • 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 »

We haven’t found good data for Theophylline side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Theophylline »
How it works
SymbicortTheophylline
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.Coming soon.
Type of medication
SymbicortTheophylline
Anti-inflammatory
Corticosteroid
Bronchodilator
Long-acting bronchodilator
Prescription only
Coming soon.
Available as
SymbicortTheophylline
  • Inhaler
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
SymbicortTheophylline
  • Asthma Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Exercise-induced asthma; Prophylaxis Nocturnal asthma
Risk factors for serious side effects
SymbicortTheophylline
  • 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 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
SymbicortTheophylline
  • 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).
No kidneys and liver related info.
Weight
SymbicortTheophylline
  • Steroids can slow height growth in kids.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
SymbicortTheophylline
  • 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.
Coming soon
Downsides and risks
SymbicortTheophylline
  • 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.
Coming soon
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
SymbicortTheophylline
  • 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.
Coming soon
Learn more
More about SymbicortSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about TheophyllineSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Theo-24 (Theophylline)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it