Symbicort Dosage, forms & strengths
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Symbicort is a combination product of budesonide, an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), and formoterol fumarate dihydrate), a long-acting beta2-agonist bronchodilator. Symbicort is indicated for asthma control and prevention in adults and children aged 5 and older. Symbicort is manufactured by AstraZeneca and has FDA approval for the treatment of adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Symbicort reduces inflammation and opens the airways in your lungs, helping to reduce breathing problems. Symbicort is not a short-acting, rescue inhaler and should not be used to treat an acute asthma attack or COPD exacerbation.
Common side effects of Symbicort include throat discomfort, stomach discomfort and vomiting, oral thrush, back pain, headaches, sinusitis, and upper respiratory tract infections. Serious adverse effects include adrenal insufficiency, paradoxical bronchospasm, low bone mineral density, delayed growth in children, glaucoma, and allergic reactions.
Symbicort forms and strengths
Symbicort is available as a metered-dose inhaler in the following doses: 80 mcg/4.5 mcg per actuation, 160 mcg/4.5 mcg per actuation.
Symbicort dosage for adults
The recommended dose for COPD maintenance treatment and asthma in adults is two puffs twice daily. Your daily dose will depend on how severe your asthma symptoms are.
Symbicort dosage chart
|Indication||Initial dosage||Maintenance dosage||Maximum dosage
|COPD||2 puffs (160 mcg/4.5 mcg per actuation) twice daily||2 puffs (160 mcg/4.5 mcg per actuation) twice daily||2 puffs (160 mcg/4.5 mcg per actuation) twice daily
|Asthma||2 puffs inhaled twice daily||2 puffs every 4 hours, as needed||12 puffs per day
Symbicort dosage for COPD
The starting dose for COPD in adults is two puffs twice daily. You should not exceed four puffs daily.
Symbicort dosage for asthma
Symbicort is also used for the treatment of asthma in adults. Dosing varies depending on the severity of your condition. The recommended starting dose is two puffs of Symbicort 80mcg twice daily. Your doctor may increase your dose of Symbicort to two puffs of 160 mcg twice daily if your symptoms are not improving after seven to 14 days.
For moderate to severe asthma, the maintenance dose is one to two puffs of Symbicort 160 daily or twice daily, then one to two puffs every four hours, as required.
Symbicort dosage for children
For children between the age of 6 and 11, the maintenance dosage for asthma is two puffs of Symbicort 80 twice daily. The maximum dosage is four puffs per day.
For children between the age of 5 and 11 with moderate to severe asthma, the standard dose is one to two puffs twice daily, then one to two puffs every four hours, as required.
For children ages 12 and older, the standard dosage for asthma is two puffs of Symbicort 80 twice daily. The maximum dosage is 12 puffs per day.
Symbicort dosage by age table
|Age||Recommended dosage (80 mcg/4.5 mcg)||Recommended dosage (160 mcg/4.5 mcg)
|6-11 years old||2 puffs inhaled twice daily||N/A
|12+ years old||2 puffs inhaled twice daily||2 puffs inhaled twice daily
Symbicort dosage restrictions
- You should not use Symbicort if you’ve had a hypersensitivity reaction to Symbicort or any of its ingredients in the past
- Symbicort can decrease your bone mineral density, and increase your risk of osteoporosis
- Your doctor should consider alternatives if you have severe hepatic impairment
- Cardiovascular conditions, including high blood pressure. Symbicort can have serious potentially life-threatening heart-related side effects
- Symbicort may increase or cause worsening side effects if you have thyroid conditions such as thyrotoxicosis
- Use with caution to avoid hyperglycemia if you are diabetic
- You should be monitored closely for changes in your vision if you have glaucoma or cataracts
Symbicort dosage for pets
Symbicort may be prescribed for cats and dogs with chronic asthma or other respiratory disorders. The dosage will depend on the weight and severity of your pet’s condition. Your veterinarian may recommend a canine aerosol mask that fits around your pet’s mouth to ensure the Symbicort is inhaled fully into the lungs.
How to take Symbicort
Symbicort comes in a metered-dose inhaler that needs to be primed before taking your first dose. To prime, your Symbicort inhaler holds your inhaler in an upright position and shake for five seconds, remove the mouthpiece cover and press down on the top of your inhaler to release one spray. Repeat this process by shaking for another five seconds and releasing a second spray. After releasing two test sprays, your Symbicort inhaler is ready to use.
To take Symbicort, shake the Symbicort inhaler before each use. Remove the cap and check the mouthpiece is clean. Breathe out releasing as much air out of your lungs as possible. Place the upright mouthpiece in front of your mouth, breathe in deeply through your mouth while pressing down on the top of the canister once. Hold your breath for 5 to 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly. Repeat this process after one to two minutes. Rinse your mouth out with water to prevent oral fungal infections. Do not swallow the water.
Symbicort dosage FAQs
How long does it take Symbicort to work?
Symbicort begins working within 15 minutes of being inhaled. Maximum benefits are seen after at least two weeks. You may start to see improvement in your symptoms within five minutes of inhaling Symbicort and your lung function will continue to improve after using Symbicort consistently for several weeks.
How long does Symbicort stay in my system?
This depends on the strength you’re taking. The combined ingredients, budesonide and formoterol stay in your body for 12 hours.
What happens if I miss a dose of Symbicort?
Carry on with your normal schedule and take your next dose at the normal time. You should use Symbicort every 12 hours to ensure consistent management of your condition.
How long can I take Symbicort?
You should take Symbicort until your doctor tells you to stop. Symbicort is a long-term treatment for asthma and COPD. It is not recommended to treat acute asthma attacks or COPD exacerbations.
How do I stop taking Symbicort?
Stopping Symbicort suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms including, worsening of your asthma or COPD symptoms, shortness of breath, weakness, feeling tired, muscle cramps, headache, and feeling sick.
Your healthcare provider will reduce your Symbicort dose over a period of time to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor for medical advice before you stop taking Symbicort.
What is the maximum dosage for Symbicort?
This will depend on your age and condition. Adults with COPD should not exceed 4 puffs of Symbicort 160 daily. Adults with moderate-to-severe asthma should not exceed 12 puffs of Symbicort 160 daily. Adolescent patients between the ages of 6 and 11 should not exceed 8 puffs of Symbicort 80 daily, and children 12 years of age and older should not exceed 12 puffs of Symbicort 80 daily.
Can I overdose on Symbicort?
Yes, you can. Dangerous adverse reactions from taking too much include symptoms such as chest pain, tremors, feeling anxious and sick, headaches, and fast or irregular heartbeats. Get emergency medical attention at your nearest hospital if you think you may have taken an overdose.
What does Symbicort interact with?
- Other long-acting beta2 – adrenergic agonist (LABA) treatments such as salmeterol
- Beta-blockers may cause a tightening of your airways
- Diuretics such as furosemide may reduce the effectiveness of Symbicort and increase your risk of hypokalemia (low potassium levels)
- Antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants may increase your risk of side effects such as arrhythmias
- Antivirals may increase budesonide (steroid) levels in your body
- CYP3A4 inhibitors such as ketoconazole may also increase the level of budesonide in your body
- Desmopressin may increase your blood pressure and decrease sodium levels
Tell your doctor about all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements you are taking before starting treatment with Symbicort.
What happens if I mix Symbicort and alcohol?
Alcohol may put you at an increased risk for side effects. Alcohol is not recommended with most medications. Talk to your doctor about drinking alcohol while using Symbicort.
Is it safe to take Symbicort during pregnancy?
If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while taking Symbicort, discuss your treatment options with your healthcare professional before beginning treatment.
Is it safe to take Symbicort while breastfeeding?
Studies show no known risks of taking the budesonide/formoterol combination during lactation and breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor about the risks before beginning treatment.
Symbicort inhaler strengths
Symbicort 80/4.5 inhaler
Symbicort 160/4.5 inhaler
Symbicort research & news
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.