Contains two active ingredients, a corticosteroid called Budesonide and a bronchodilator called Formoterol Fumarate.
Corticosteroids are hormones that are produced naturally by the adrenal glands. They have many important functions, including control of inflammatory responses. Budesonide is a man-made derivative of the natural hormones and is used to decrease inflammation in the lungs. (Corticosteroids are often simply called steroids, but note they are not the same as anabolic steroids, which are abused by some athletes and body builders.)
When you breathe in budesonide it's absorbed into the cells of the lungs and airways. It stops these cells from releasing chemicals that normally cause immune and allergic responses resulting in inflammation. By stopping these chemicals being released, budesonide reduces the inflammation in the lungs that tightens the airways and makes it difficult for air to get into and out. Budesonide helps prevent asthma attacks and shortness of breath.
Formoterol is a type of medicine called a long-acting beta 2 agonist or bronchodilator. It works by stimulating receptors in the lungs called beta 2 receptors, which causes the muscles in the airways to relax and allows the airways to open, making it easier to breathe. Formoterol starts to work in one to three minutes and its effects last for about 12 hours.
Inhaling these medicines allows them to act directly in the lungs where they are needed. It also reduces the potential for side effects in other parts of the body, as the amount absorbed into the blood through the lungs is lower than if the medicines are taken by mouth.
What is it used for?
Symbicort turbohaler is a combined corticosteroid and bronchodilator inhaler used to reduce inflammation in the lungs and open the airways in asthma and COPD.
Symbicort turbohaler is prescribed for asthma that's not controlled by using a regular preventer inhaler (a corticosteroid) with an as needed reliever inhaler (eg salbutamol).
Symbicort doesn't cure asthma - it's used in one of two ways to help manage and control your asthma. You can use it regularly every day to prevent asthma attacks (maintenance therapy), and have a separate reliever inhaler (eg salbutamol) for relieving asthma attacks. Or your doctor may ask you to use Symbicort regularly to prevent asthma attacks AND use it as a reliever when needed to relieve asthma attacks (this is called Symbicort maintenance and reliever therapy or 'smart'). The smart approach is only suitable for adults and adolescents aged 12 years and over using the Symbicort 100/6 or Symbicort 200/6 strengths.