Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic available


(Budesonide / Formoterol)

  • Inhaler
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Prevents breathing problems.

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Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic available

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

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.

Worth it?Is it worth it?
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  • 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.
  • 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.

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Side effects for Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)

From clinical trials of Symbicort / Asthma (80/4.5 mcg)  ( 677)

  • Common coldCommon cold11% for Symbicort vs.9% for placebo
  • Ear, nose, or throat infectionEar, nose, or throat infection8% for Symbicort vs.8% for placebo
  • HeadacheHeadache7% for Symbicort vs.7% for placebo
  • Throat painThroat pain6% for Symbicort vs.5% for placebo
  • Sinus inflammationSinus inflammation6% for Symbicort vs.5% for placebo
  • FluFlu3% for Symbicort vs.1% for placebo
  • Back painBack pain3% for Symbicort vs.1% for placebo
  • Nasal congestionNasal congestion3% for Symbicort vs.1% for placebo
  • Stomach discomfortStomach discomfort1% for Symbicort vs.2% for placebo
  • VomitingVomiting1% for Symbicort vs.1% for placebo

What to expect when you take Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) for Asthma

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Tips from our pharmacists
  • 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.

Risks and Warnings for Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Adverse effect of long-acting beta agonist drugs (LABAs), one of the medications in Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol), a combination drug.

    There are reports of worsening asthma leading to death in people taking Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol). It is related to one of the medications in this product. Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol) should only be used if your symptoms have not improved with a fast-acting or controller medication alone. If this happens, call 911 or your doctor right away.

    This is a black box warning. The FDA requires this warning when there is a significant risk of serious or life-threatening effects that anyone taking the drug should consider.

Means that some groups have a high risk of experiencing this side effect

Tips from pharmacists and people taking Symbicort (Budesonide / Formoterol)

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The FDA category for this medication is C. It is advised that you: Weigh risks vs. benefits
  • Risks from our pharmacists
  • 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.