- 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.
Quick GuideAsthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications
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).
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Asthma Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways of the lungs, which can be managed with proper treatment. Triggered by two main...
Picture of Lungs
The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). See a picture of the Lungs and...
Asthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications
What is asthma? Learn about asthma, a chronic inflammation disorder of the bronchiole tubes (airways). Discover information about...
What is Asthma? Asthma Myths Debunked
There is currently no cure for asthma, and no specific, single cause for asthma has been identified. Take this quiz on asthma...
Asthma Attack Signs, Treatments, and Prevention
Look at the anatomy of an asthma attack. See these warning signs and symptoms to avoid an asthma emergency such as a persistent...
10 Worst Asthma Cities in the U. S. in Pictures
Do you live in one of the 10 worst cites for asthma? There is no such thing as an asthma-free city, but some are more difficult...
Related Disease Conditions
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Life Expectancy
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a lung condition caused by smoking tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke, and/or...
COPD vs. Emphysema (Differences Similarities)
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the term doctors and other health care professionals use to describe a group of...
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...
Neutropenia (Causes, Symptoms, Ranges, Treatment)
Neutropenia is a marked decrease in the number of neutrophils, neutrophils being a type of white blood cell (specifically a form...
Emphysema is a COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) that often occurs with other obstructive pulmonary problems and...
Asthma is a condition in which hyperreactive airways constrict and result in symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and shortness of...
There are two types of asthma medications: long-term control with anti-inflammatory drugs and quick relief from bronchodilators....
Adult-onset asthma is asthma that is diagnosed in people over 20 years of age. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, shortness of...
Asthma in Children
Asthma in children manifests with symptoms such as coughing and wheezing. Rates of asthma in children are increasing. Asthma in...
There are many unusual symptoms of asthma, including sighing, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, chronic cough, recurrent walking...
Occupational asthma is a type of asthma caused by exposure to a substance in the workplace. Symptoms and signs include wheezing,...
Exercise-induced asthma is asthma triggered by vigorous exercise. Symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, chest...
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Asthma FAQs
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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