Symbicort treats lung diseases including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Symbicort is not used to treat asthma attacks. It is used twice daily to prevent attacks.


Symbicort Overview


Symbicort is a prescription medication used to treat asthma and COPD. It is a combination medication that contains an inhaled corticosteroid, budesonide, to help decrease inflammation in the lungs, and a long-acting beta2-agonist medicine (LABA), formoterol. LABA medicines, like formoterol, help the muscles around the airways in the lungs stay relaxed to prevent asthma symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

Symbicort comes in a metered-dose inhaler. It is used twice daily.

Common side effects include throat irritation or pain, headaches, and colds.

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Uses of Symbicort

Symbicort is used to control symptoms of asthma, and prevent symptoms such as wheezing in adults and children ages 12 and older.

Symbicort is used long term, twice daily to help improve lung function for better breathing in adults with COPD.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.


Budesonide and Formoterol

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Symbicort Drug Class

Symbicort is part of the drug class:

Symbicort FDA Warning


Long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists (LABA), such as formoterol one of the active ingredients in Symbicort, increase the risk of asthma-related death. Data from a large placebo-controlled U.S. study that compared the safety of another long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (salmeterol) or placebo added to usual asthma therapy showed an increase in asthma-related deaths in patients receiving salmeterol. This finding with salmeterol is considered a class effect of the LABA, including formoterol. Currently available data are inadequate to determine whether concurrent use of inhaled corticosteroids or other long-term asthma control drugs mitigates the increased risk of asthma-related death from LABA. Available data from controlled clinical trials suggest that LABA increase the risk of asthma-related hospitalization in pediatric and adolescent patients. Therefore, when treating patients with asthma, Symbicort should only be used for patients not adequately controlled on a long-term asthma control medication, such as an inhaled corticosteroid or whose disease severity clearly warrants initiation of treatment with both an inhaled corticosteroid and LABA. Once asthma control is achieved and maintained, assess the patient at regular intervals and step down therapy (e.g., discontinue Symbicort) if possible without loss of asthma control and maintain the patient on a long-term asthma control medication, such as an inhaled corticosteroid. Do not use Symbicort for patients whose asthma is adequately controlled on low or medium dose inhaled corticosteroids.