Symbicort is a combination medicine used to prevent COPD and asthma symptoms. By reducing inflammation and opening up the airways, the drug can help prevent asthma attacks from occurring. Symbicort, which is available by prescription, comes in a metered-dose inhaler that is generally used twice a day. Possible side effects include throat pain, headache, and upper respiratory tract infection.
Symbicort contains two different medications: budesonide and formoterol. Formoterol is part of a class of drugs called beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, or beta agonists for short. Beta agonists stimulate beta receptors in the body, including those on the muscles around airways. This stimulation causes the muscles to relax, which opens up the airways and allows more air to get into and through the lungs.
The other component of Symbicort is budesonide, an asthma medication that belongs to a group of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short. Inhaled steroids go directly into the lungs and help to decrease the inflammation of airways that makes asthma attacks more likely.
Because Symbicort does not work quickly, it should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, it is used twice a day in order to prevent them.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Symbicort [package insert]. Wilmington, DE: AstraZeneca LP; 2010 May.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 24, 2012.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 26, 2007.
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