Health Guide
Drug Guide

Budesonide (Inhalation route)

Pronunciation:

bue-DES-oh-nide

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Classifications:

Therapeutic

Anti-Inflammatory

Pharmacologic

Adrenal Glucocorticoid

Uses of This Medicine:

Budesonide is used to help prevent the symptoms of asthma. When used regularly every day, inhaled budesonide decreases the number and severity of asthma attacks. However, it will not relieve an asthma attack that has already started.

Budesonide is a corticosteroid or steroid (cortisone-like medicine). It works by preventing inflammation (swelling) in the lungs, which makes the asthma attack less severe. Inhaled budesonide may be used with other asthma medicines such as bronchodilators, which are also used to open up narrowed breathing passages in the lungs.

This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using This Medicine:

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of Pulmicort Respules® in children 12 months to 8 years of age. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 12 months of age.

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of Pulmicort Flexhaler™ in children 6 years of age and older. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 6 years of age.

Older adults

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of inhaled budesonide in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related liver, kidney, or heart problems, which may require an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving inhaled budesonide.

Breast-feeding

There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking this medicine, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Using this medicine with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

Inhaled budesonide is used to prevent asthma attacks. It is not used to stop an attack that has already started. For relief of an asthma attack that has already started, you or your child should use another medicine. If you do not have another medicine to use for an acute asthma attack or if you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Use this medicine only as directed. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. Also, do not stop taking this medicine without telling your doctor. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

In order for this medicine to help prevent asthma attacks, it must be used every day in regularly spaced doses, as ordered by your doctor. This medicine usually begins to work in about 24 to 48 hours, but up to 2 to 6 weeks may pass before you feel the full effects.

Do not change your dose or stop using this medicine without first checking with your doctor. Your doctor may want you to gradually reduce the amount you are using before stopping it completely. Some conditions may become worse when the medicine is stopped suddenly, which can be dangerous.

When using the Pulmicort Flexhaler™:

When using the Pulmicort Respules® liquid:

Dosing

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Store the Pulmicort Flexhaler™ in a dry place at room temperature with the cover tightly in place.

Store the unused Pulmicort Respules® in an upright position at room temperature. Keep the medicine containers in the foil pouch until you are ready to use them. Do not freeze the containers. Once you have opened a foil pouch, the containers will only be good for 2 weeks. Throw away any unused containers if it has been longer than 2 weeks since you opened the pouch.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

It is very important that your doctor check you or your child's progress at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects caused by this medicine.

You or your child should not use this medicine if your asthma attack has already started. Your doctor will prescribe another medicine (e.g., a short-acting inhaler) for you to use in case of an acute asthma attack. Call your doctor if you have any questions about this.

If your or your child's symptoms do not improve within one to two weeks, or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This medicine may weaken your immune system. Avoid being around people who are sick or who have infections such as chickenpox or measles. Tell your doctor right away if you think you or your child have been exposed to chickenpox or measles.

If you or your child develop a skin rash, hives, or any type of allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to this medicine, stop using the medicine and check with your doctor as soon as possible.

This medicine may also increase your risk of having infections or sores in your mouth or throat. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have any signs of a throat infection.

This medicine may decrease bone mineral density when used for a long time. A low bone mineral density can cause weak bones or osteoporosis. If you have any questions about this, talk to your doctor.

This medicine may cause children to grow more slowly than normal. This would cause a child to not gain weight or get taller. Talk with your child's doctor if you think this is a problem or if you have any concerns.

This medicine may increase your risk of having an adrenal gland that is less active than normal. The adrenal gland makes steroids for your body. This is more likely for people who use steroids for a long time or use high doses. Check with your doctor right away if you or your child have more than one of the following symptoms: darkening of the skin, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, loss of appetite, depression, nausea, skin rash, unusual tiredness or weakness, or vomiting. Rarely, menstrual cycle changes, acne, pimples, or weight gain (fat deposits) around the face, neck, and trunk may occur while using this medicine.

Check with your doctor immediately if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you or your child to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Make sure any doctor or dentist knows that you or your child are using this medicine. You might need to stop using this medicine several days before having surgery.

Your doctor may want you or your child to carry a medical identification card that says this medicine is being used. You or your child may need additional medicine during an emergency, a severe asthma attack, an illness, or unusual stress.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
Body aches or pain
chills
congestion
cough
diarrhea
dryness or soreness of the throat
fever
general feeling of discomfort or illness
headache
hoarseness
joint pain
loss of appetite
muscle aches and pains
nausea
pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
shivering
shortness of breath or troubled breathing
sneezing
sore throat
stuffy or runny nose
sweating
tender, swollen glands in the neck
tightness of the chest or wheezing
trouble with sleeping
trouble with swallowing
unusual tiredness or weakness
voice changes
vomiting
Less common
Bruising
darkening of the skin
depression
dizziness
earache
excessive muscle tone
fainting
fractures
large, flat, blue, or purplish patches in the skin
lower back or side pain
muscle stiffness
muscle tension or tightness
painful or difficult urination
redness or swelling in the ear
skin rash
sore mouth or tongue
white patches in the mouth or on the tongue

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common
Back pain
Less common
Acid or sour stomach
belching
change in taste or bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
difficulty with breathing
difficulty with moving
dry mouth
ear congestion
headache, severe and throbbing
heartburn
indigestion
muscle cramping
neck pain
sleeplessness
stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
swollen joints
unable to sleep
unexplained runny nose or sneezing
weakness

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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