Budesonide is used to prevent difficulty breathing, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing caused by asthma. Budesonide powder for oral inhalation (Pulmicort Flexhaler) is used in adults and children 6 years of age and older. Budesonide suspension (liquid) for oral inhalation (Pulmicort Respules) is used in children 12 months to 8 years of age. Budesonide belongs to a class of medications called corticosteroids. It works by decreasing swelling and irritation in the airways to allow for easier breathing.
Budesonide comes as a powder to inhale by mouth using an inhaler and as a suspension to inhale by mouth using a special jet nebulizer (machine that turns medication into a mist that can be inhaled). Budesonide powder for oral inhalation is usually inhaled twice a day. Budesonide suspension for oral inhalation is usually inhaled once or twice a day. Try to use budesonide at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use budesonide exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Talk to your doctor about how you should use your other oral and inhaled medications for asthma during your treatment with budesonide inhalation. If you were taking an oral steroid such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), or prednisone (Rayos), your doctor may want to gradually decrease your steroid dose starting after you begin to use budesonide.
Budesonide controls symptoms of asthma but does not cure it. Improvement in your asthma may occur as soon after using the medication, but full effects of may not be seen for 1 to 2 weeks after using the powder and 4 to 6 weeks after using the suspension on a regular basis. Continue to use budesonide even if you feel well. Do not stop using budesonide without talking to your doctor. Call your doctor if your symptoms or your child's symptoms do not improve during the first 2 weeks (powder) or first 6 weeks (suspension) or if they get worse.
Budesonide helps to prevent asthma attacks (sudden episodes of shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing) but will not stop an asthma attack that has already started. Your doctor will prescribe a short-acting inhaler to use during asthma attacks. Tell your doctor if your asthma worsens during your treatment.
Each budesonide inhaler is designed to provide 60 or 120 inhalations, depending on its size. After the labeled number of inhalations has been used, later inhalations may not contain the correct amount of medication. You should keep track of the number of inhalations you have used. You can divide the number of inhalations in your inhaler by the number of inhalations you use each day to find out how many days your inhaler will last. Dispose of the inhaler after you have used the labeled number of inhalations even if it still contains some liquid and continues to release a spray when it is pressed.
Do not swallow budesonide nebulizer suspension.
Before you use budesonide inhaler or jet nebulizer the first time, read the written instructions that come with it. Look at the diagrams carefully and be sure that you recognize all the parts of the inhaler or nebulizer. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist to show you the right way to use the inhaler or nebulizer. Practice using the inhaler or nebulizer in front of him or her, so you are sure you are doing it the right way.
To inhale the powder using the inhaler, follow these steps:
To inhale the suspension using the jet nebulizer, follow these steps:
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using budesonide inhalation,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Budesonide inhalation may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Budesonide inhalation may cause children to grow more slowly. There is not enough information to tell whether using budesonide decreases the final height that children will reach when they stop growing. Your child's doctor will watch your child's growth carefully while your child is using budesonide. Talk to your child's doctor about the risks of giving this medication to your child.
In rare cases, people who used budesonide for a long time developed glaucoma or cataracts. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using budesonide and how often you should have your eyes examined during your treatment.
Budesonide may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication.
Budesonide inhalation may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Keep the nebulizer ampules sealed in their foil pouches until you are ready to use them. Store the inhaler and nebulizer solution at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not refrigerate or freeze the nebulizer solution. If you are using the inhalation powder, replace your old inhaler each time you refill your prescription. If you are using the nebulizer solution, you must dispose of the ampules if unused 2 weeks after opening the foil pouch.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
¶ This branded product is no longer on the market. Generic alternatives may be available.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: November 15, 2015.