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Symbicort is known as Vannair internationally

What is a Symbicort Inhaler Used For?

Symbicort is a prescription inhaler for managing symptoms of asthma and COPD. This combination inhaler contains two medications that work together to open airways and reduce inflammation.

  • The first medication is budesonide, a corticosteroid that helps control inflammation in the lungs.
  • The second medication is formoterol, a long-acting beta-2 agonist (LABA). Formoterol relaxes the muscles around the airways, allowing them to open up.

Together, these two medications treat the underlying causes of asthma and COPD symptoms. By combining the treatments, Symbicort offers a convenient way to take both medications simultaneously.

Symbicort was approved by the FDA in 2006 for the following conditions:

  • Treat asthma in patients 12 years and older
  • Maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with COPD

While Symbicort is not meant to replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms, you may find yourself needing a rescue inhaler less often when using Symbicort as directed. However, you should keep a rescue inhaler on hand for emergencies.

If you want to add Symbicort to your treatment plan, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. They can assess your symptoms and decide if Symbicort is a good option for you. When you’re ready to fill your prescription, using a reputable online Canadian pharmacy like My Drug Center can help you save up to 90% on prescription costs.

The Symbicort inhaler contains two medications to help relieve breathing difficulties associated with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The two medications in Symbicort work together to open up the airways and make breathing easier.

  • The first medication in Symbicort is budesonide, which is a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids reduce inflammation and swelling in the lungs, which narrows the airways and makes breathing difficult. Budesonide works by reducing this inflammation, helping to open up the airways. It has been approved by the FDA since 1997.
  • The second medication in Symbicort is formoterol, which is a long-acting bronchodilator. Bronchodilators relax the muscles around the airways, allowing them to open up. This makes it easier to breathe. Formoterol has been approved by the FDA since 2001.

By containing both an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid and a bronchodilator, Symbicort provides two complementary mechanisms of action to improve breathing and manage asthma or COPD symptoms.

How to Use a Symbicort Inhaler

If you are using a new Symbicort inhaler or haven’t used yours in seven days or more, it’s important to prime the inhaler before use. Priming ensures that the medication is properly dispersed and ready for effective use. 

To prime your Symbicort inhaler, follow these steps:

  • Shake the Symbicort inhaler for 5 seconds to mix the medication inside.
  • Press down on the canister to release a spray.
  • Repeat the process one more time to ensure adequate priming.

Once your Symbicort inhaler is primed, follow these steps to use it correctly:

  • Shake your inhaler well for 5 seconds. This helps to ensure that the medication is properly mixed.
  • Remove the mouthpiece cover on the inhaler and check for any dust or debris inside.
  • Breathe out fully.
  • Close your lips around the mouthpiece and aim it towards the back of your throat.
  • Inhale deeply and slowly while pressing down on the canister. This allows the medication to reach your lungs effectively.
  • Hold your breath for 10 seconds to allow the medication to be absorbed properly.
  • Remove your mouth from the inhaler and breathe out away from the inhaler.
  • For your second puff, shake the inhaler again for 5 seconds and repeat the steps.
  • After taking your dose, rinse your mouth with water and spit it out. This helps to prevent any potential side effects, such as oral thrush.

Symbicort Inhaler Side Effects

Symbicort can cause side effects in some people. The potential side effects can differ depending on whether Symbicort is used to treat COPD or asthma.

If you have COPD, side effects may include:

  • Throat irritation
  • Thrush in the mouth and throat
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Upper respiratory tract infection

If you have asthma, side effects may include:

  • Throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Sinusitis
  • Flu
  • Back pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Thrush in the mouth and throat


What is Symbicort?

Symbicort is a combination inhaler containing two medications - a corticosteroid and a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA). Using these two medications together provides better control of asthma and COPD symptoms.

The corticosteroid reduces inflammation in the airways, which can help prevent asthma attacks and COPD flare-ups. Meanwhile, the LABA relaxes the muscles around the airways, allowing them to open up so breathing becomes easier.

While Symbicort is not intended for quick relief like a rescue inhaler, regular use can reduce your need for rescue inhalers.

How long does it take for Symbicort to work?

If you use Symbicort for asthma, you should start to feel relief from your symptoms within 15 minutes of taking an inhalation. However, it can take up to two weeks of regular use for the full effects of Symbicort to manifest.

If you use Symbicort for COPD, your lung function can start improving 5 minutes after inhalation. With continued use, Symbicort can also reduce your need for a rescue inhaler.

What dosages does the Symbicort inhaler come in?

Symbicort is available in two strengths:

  • 80 mcg of budesonide/4.5 mcg of formoterol
  • 160 mcg of budesonide/4.5-mcg of formoterol
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