By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel


What is Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol) used for?

Symbicort® is commonly used for preventing bronchospasm in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How should I take Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)?

Use only the prescribed dose of this medicine, and do not use it for longer than your doctor recommends. Follow all directions on your prescription label and the patient instructions for safe use.

Symbicort® comes with a medication guide for safe and effective use, and directions for priming and cleaning the inhaler device. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

Symbicort® is not a rescue medicine. It will not work fast enough to treat an asthma attack or COPD flare-up. Your doctor may prescribe a fast-acting inhalation medicine to treat a bronchospasm attack.

Always rinse out your mouth with water after using the inhaler device, to help prevent thrush (a fungal infection in the mouth or throat).

Do not try to take apart the Symbicort® inhaler device. Clean the mouthpiece every 7 days following the instructions in the medication guide.

Throw the Symbicort® inhaler away when the inhalations counter on the canister shows a 0, or if it has been longer than 3 months since you first took the canister out of its foil pouch. The dose indicator on the inhaler will turn yellow when there are 20 doses left in the device. Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely. Always use the new inhaler device provided with your refill.

How do I store Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)?

Symbicort® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Symbicort® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Symbicort® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Symbicort® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Symbicort® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Symbicort® may increase the risk of asthma-related death or breathing problems that require you to be in the hospital. Use only the prescribed dose of Symbicort®, and do not use it for longer than your doctor recommends. Follow all patient instructions for safe use.

For people with asthma: Symbicort® is for use only if asthma is severe or is not well-controlled on other long-term asthma medication, such as an inhaled steroid.

Do not use Symbicort® to treat an asthma attack that has already begun.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Symbicort® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Symbicort®. Symbicort® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)?

Common side effects may include:

  • White patches in your mouth or throat (call your doctor if this occurs)
  • Throat irritation after using the inhaler
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Cold symptoms such as stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, sinus pain, sore throat
  • Flu symptoms (fever, chills, body aches)
  • Back pain
  • Headache

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Worsening asthma symptoms
  • Wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medication
  • Blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights
  • Signs of infection such as fever, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness
  • Symptoms of pneumonia such as fever, cough with yellow or green mucus, stabbing chest pain, wheezing, feeling short of breath
  • Swelling of your blood vessels like numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, flu symptoms, stuffy nose, sinus pain, skin rash
  • Low potassium like confusion, uneven heart rate, extreme thirst, increased urination, leg discomfort, muscle weakness or limp feeling
  • High blood sugar including increased thirst, increased urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)?

Symbicort® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products that may interact with this drug, including:

  • Budesonide (Entocort, Pulmicort, Rhinocort, Uceris)
  • Formoterol (Foradil, Dulera, Perforomist)

Does food or alcohol interact with Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)?

Symbicort® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol)?

Symbicort® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Tell your doctor if you have:

  • Heart disease or high blood pressure
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Glaucoma, cataracts, or herpes infection of the eyes
  • Any active infection, including tuberculosis
  • Liver disease
  • Weak immune system (caused by disease or by using certain medicine)
  • An electrolyte imbalance (such as low potassium levels in your blood)
  • A thyroid disorder


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol).

What is the dose of Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol) for an adult?

Asthma Maintenance therapy:

The recommended dose is 1-2 inhalations bd. Some patients may require up to a max of 4 inhalations bd.

Maintenance & relief:

The recommended dose is 2 inhalations/day either as 1 inhalation bd or 2 inhalations either morning or evening.

For some patients, a maintenance dose of 2 inhalations bd may be appropriate. Patients should take 1 additional inhalation as needed in response to symptoms.

If symptoms persist after a few min, an additional inhalation should be taken. Not >6 inhalations should be taken on any single occasion.

A total daily dose of >8 inhalations are not normally needed, however a total daily dose of up to 12 inhalations could be used for a limited period.

Patients using >8 inhalations daily should seek medical advice, should be reassessed & their maintenance therapy reconsidered.


The recommended dose is 2 inhalations bd.

What is the dose of Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol) for a child?

Asthma Maintenance therapy:

Adolescent 12-17 years old, The recommended dose is 1-2 inhalations bd.

Children 6-11 years old, The recommended dose is 80/4.5 mcg 2 inhalations bd.

<6 years. Not recommended.

Maintenance & relief:

Children & adolescent <18 years old: Not recommended.

How is Symbicort® (budesonide and formoterol) available?

Symbicort® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Symbicort® 160/4.5 mcg/dose turbuhaler 60 dose / 120 dose
  • Symbicort® 320/9 mcg/dose turbuhaler 60 dose

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Symbicort®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: June 8, 2017 | Last Modified: December 19, 2019

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