Symbicort contains a combination of budesonide and formoterol. Budesonide is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation in the body. Formoterol is a long-acting bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways to improve breathing. It is used to control and prevent the symptoms of asthma in adults and children at least 6 years old. Symbicort is also used to help control the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. This is not for use in treating an asthma or bronchospasm attack. For people with asthma: Symbicort is for use only if asthma is severe or is not well-controlled on other long-term asthma medicines. Your doctor may tell you to stop using this medicine once your asthma is well-controlled. Formoterol when used alone may increase the risk of death in people with asthma. However, this risk is not increased when budesonide and formoterol are used together as a combination product.
BEFORE YOU USE THE MEDICATION
You should not use Symbicort if you are allergic to budesonide or formoterol. Budesonide can weaken your immune system. Tell your doctor about any illness or infection you’ve had within the past several weeks. To make sure Symbicort is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had: heart disease, high blood pressure; a seizure; a weak immune system; liver disease; osteoporosis; glaucoma, cataracts, or other vision problems; diabetes; a drug allergy; tuberculosis; a thyroid disorder; or an electrolyte imbalance (such as low potassium levels in your blood). Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. It is not known whether budesonide or formoterol will harm an unborn baby. However, having untreated or uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy may cause complications such as low birth weight, premature birth, or eclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure that can lead to medical problems in both mother and baby). The benefit of treating asthma may outweigh any risks to the baby. It may not be safe to breastfeed while using Symbicort. Ask your doctor about any risk. Symbicort is not approved for use by anyone younger than 6 years old.
HOW TO USE
Follow the instructions for priming the inhaler if you are using it for the first time, if you have not used it for more than 7 days, or if the inhaler was dropped. When priming the inhaler, make sure to spray away from the face so that you do not get the medication into your eyes. Shake the inhaler well for 5 seconds before each use. Inhale this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily (in the morning and evening, 12 hours apart). If your prescribed dose is 2 puffs, wait at least one minute between them. If you are using other inhalers at the same time, wait at least 1 minute between the use of each medication, and use this drug last. Gargle and rinse your mouth with water after using this medication to help prevent irritation and yeast infections (thrush) in the mouth and throat. Do not swallow the rinse water. Clean the inhaler once a week with a dry cloth. Do not take the inhaler apart. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. This medication works best if used at evenly spaced times. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day. Do not increase your dose, use this medication more often, or stop using it without first consulting your doctor. Also, do not use other long-acting beta agonists while using this medication. If you are regularly taking a different corticosteroid by mouth (such as prednisone), you should not stop taking it unless directed by your doctor. Some conditions (such as asthma, allergies) may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. If you suddenly stop taking the drug, you may also have withdrawal symptoms (such as weakness, weight loss, nausea, muscle pain, headache, tiredness, dizziness). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may slowly lower the dose of your old medication after you begin using budesonide/formoterol. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal. If you have been using a quick-relief inhaler (such as albuterol, also called salbutamol in some countries) on a regular daily schedule (such as 4 times daily), you must stop this schedule and only use the quick-relief inhaler as needed for sudden shortness of breath/asthma attacks. Consult your doctor for details. It may take 1 week or longer before you get the full benefit of this drug. Tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they worsen.
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Symbicort: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have: worsened breathing problems; sores or white patches in your mouth and throat, pain when swallowing; tremors, nervousness, chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats; cough with mucus, feeling short of breath; wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medication; blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or redness, or seeing halos around lights; flu symptoms – fever, chills, body aches, unusual tiredness; high blood sugar – increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor; low potassium level – leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling; or signs of a hormonal disorder – tiredness or weakness, feeling light-headed, nausea, vomiting. Budesonide can affect growth in children. Tell your doctor if your child is not growing at a normal rate while using this medicine. Common Symbicort side effects may include: throat pain or irritation; white patches in your mouth or throat; stomach discomfort, vomiting; back pain, headache; flu symptoms; or cold symptoms such as stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, sore throat.
How long does it take for Symbicort to work?
If you use Symbicort for asthma, your symptoms should start improving within 15 minutes of your inhalation. Full improvement in your symptoms may not occur for 2 weeks or longer after you have started treatment. Results can vary between patients. In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Symbicort can start improving your lung function within 5 minutes. Symbicort may also help to reduce your use of a rescue inhaler for acute COPD symptoms.
How long can you be on Symbicort?
Symbicort is used for long-term treatment in both asthma and COPD. However, if you have asthma and your symptoms improve to the point where you no longer need a long-acting beta agonist such as formoterol, your doctor may decide to switch you to an inhaler that only contains a corticosteroid.
This product is used to control and prevent symptoms (wheezing and shortness of breath) caused by asthma or ongoing lung disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema). It contains 2 medications: budesonide and formoterol. Budesonide belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids. It works by reducing the irritation and swelling of the airways. Formoterol belongs to the class of drugs known as long-acting beta agonists. It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school. It does not work right away and should not be used to relieve sudden asthma attacks. If an asthma attack occurs, use your quick-relief inhaler (such as albuterol, also called salbutamol in some countries) as prescribed.
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