- What is budesonide inhaler, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for budesonide inhaler?
- Is budesonide inhaler available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for budesonide inhaler?
- What are the side effects of budesonide inhaler?
- What is the dosage for budesonide inhaler?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with budesonide inhaler?
- Is budesonide inhaler safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about budesonide inhaler?
What is budesonide inhaler, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Budesonide is a man-made glucocorticoid steroid related to the naturally-occurring hormone, cortisol or hydrocortisone which is produced in the adrenal glands. It is used for treating asthma by inhalation. Glucocorticoid steroids such as cortisol or budesonide have potent anti-inflammatory actions that reduces inflammation and hyper-reactivity (spasm) of the airways caused by asthma. When used as an inhaler, the budesonide goes directly to the inner lining of the inflamed airways to exert its effects. Only 39% of an inhaled dose of budesonide is absorbed into the body, and the absorbed budesonide contributes little to the effects on the airways. While some improvement in the symptoms of asthma may occur within 24 hours, it may take a few weeks to obtain the maximum therapeutic benefits of budesonide when used to treat asthma.
What are the side effects of budesonide inhaler?
- The most commonly noted side effects associated with inhaled budesonide are mild cough or wheezing; these effects may be minimized by using a bronchodilator inhaler, for example, albuterol (Ventolin HFA), prior to the budesonide.
- Oral candidiasis or thrush (a fungal infection of the throat) may occur in 1 in 25 persons who use budesonide without a spacer device on the inhaler. The risk is even higher with large doses, but is less in children than in adults.
- Hoarseness or sore throat also may occur in 1 in 10 persons. Using a spacer device on the inhaler and washing the mouth out with water following each use reduces the risk of both thrush and hoarseness.
- Less commonly, alterations in voice may occur.
High doses of inhaled glucocorticoid steroids may decrease the formation and increase the breakdown of bone leading to weakened bones and ultimately osteoporosis and fractures. High doses may suppress the body's ability to make its own natural glucocorticoid in the adrenal gland. It is possible that these effects are shared by budesonide. People with suppression of their adrenal glands (which can be tested for by the doctor) need increased amounts of glucocorticoid steroids orally or intravenously during periods of high physical stress, for example, during infections, to prevent serious illness and shock.
Hypersensitivity reactions, which have been reported with the issue of inhaled budesonide include
Use of budesonide should be discontinued if such reactions occur.
What is the dosage for budesonide inhaler?
Budesonide is used to prevent asthmatic attacks and should not be used to treat an acute attack of asthma.
The Pulmicort Flexhaler
- The Pulmicort Flexhaler is used for individuals six years of age or older.
- Effects can be seen within 24 hours, but maximum effects may not be seen for 1-2 weeks or longer.
- Doses vary widely.
- Adults usually receive 2 to 4 puffs twice daily.
- The starting dose for also is 2 to 4 puffs twice daily.
- For those with mild asthma, treatment once daily may be sufficient.
- Pulmicort is used for individuals 12 months to eight years of age.
- Effects are seen in 2 to 8 days, but maximum effects may not be seen for up to 4 to 6 weeks.
- The usual dose is 0.5-1 mg daily taken in one or two divided doses. A lower starting dose of 0.25 mg once a day may be sufficient in some individuals.
Which drugs or supplements interact with budesonide inhaler?
When budesonide is given with strong liver enzyme inhibitors (CYP 3A4 inhibitors) such as ketoconazole and other drugs including ritonavir (Norvir), atazanavir (Reyataz), clarithromycin (Biaxin, Biaxin XL), indinavir (Crixivan), itraconazole (Sporanox, Onmel), nefazodone, nelfinavir (Viracept), saquinavir (Invirase) and telithromycin (Ketek), the concentration in blood of budesonide may rise increasing the probability of an individual experiencing more side effects.
Is budesonide inhaler safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
When given orally to animals, glucocorticoid steroids similar to budesonide have been shown to cause fetal abnormalities. Studies of pregnant women using inhaled budesonide during early pregnancy, however, do not show an increase in the rate of fetal abnormalities. Nevertheless, since these studies cannot exclude the possibility of rare effects on the fetus, inhaled budesonide should be used with caution during pregnancy.
Budesonide like other drugs of its class is secreted in breast milk. It is not known whether the small amounts that may appear in breast milk have effects on the infant. Nevertheless, the benefits of breastfeeding an infant should be weighed against the possible risks associated with using budesonide in a nursing mother.
What else should I know about budesonide inhaler?
What preparations of budesonide inhaler are available?
- Pulmicort Flexhaler (powder for inhalation), 90 mcg/act, 180 mcg/act.
- Pulmicort (inhalation suspension), 0.25 mg/2ml, 0.5 mg/2ml suspension, and 1 mg/2ml
How should I keep budesonide inhaler stored?
Budesonide should be stored at room temperature, 20 C - 25 C (68 F - 77 F).
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Emphysema is a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that often occurs with other obstructive pulmonary problems and chronic bronchitis. Causes of emphysema include chronic cigarette smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, and in the underdeveloped parts of the world. Symptoms of emphysema include chronic cough, chest discomfort, breathlessness, and wheezing. Treatments include medication and lifestyle changes.
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, and/or air pollutants. Conditions that accompany COPD include chronic bronchitis, chronic cough, and emphysema. Symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, wheezing, and chronic cough. Treatment of COPD includes GOLD guidelines, smoking cessation, medications, and surgery. The life expectancy of a person with COPD depends on the stage of the disease.
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COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the term doctors and other healthcare professionals use to describe a group of serious, progressive (worsens over time), chronic lung diseases that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and sometimes asthma. The number one cause of COPD or emphysema, is smoking, and smoking is the third leading cause of death in the US.
Asthma Over-the-Counter Treatment
Patients who have infrequent, mild bouts of asthma attacks may use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to treat their asthma symptoms. OTC asthma medicines are limited to epinephrine and ephedrine. These OTC drugs are best used with the guidance of a physician, as there may be side effects and the drugs may not be very effective.
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Asthma in Children
Asthma in children manifests with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Rates of asthma in children are increasing. Asthma in children is usually diagnosed based on the description of symptoms. Lung function tests may also be used. A variety of medications are used for the treatment of childhood asthma.
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- budesonide (Entocort EC, Uceris)
- budesonide nasal inhaler (Rhinocort Allergy, Rhinocort Aqua)
- triamcinolone acetonide inhaler, Azmacort
- beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler (Qvar)
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Prevention & Wellness
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information