Asthma Home > Symbicort

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.

What Is Symbicort?

Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol) is a prescription medication used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
(Click Symbicort Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Symbicort?

Symbicort is made by AstraZeneca.

How Does It Work?

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:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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