It’s important to use your inhaler exactly as prescribed by your doctor. To use SYMBICORT effectively:
Remember, SYMBICORT will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms.
Before starting SYMBICORT, read the full instructions in the Medication Guide that comes with your prescription. You can also use the directions in this Quick Reference Guide (PDF). If you have any questions about the directions, ask your doctor or call the Nurse Hotline at 1-877-886-2226.
Take your SYMBICORT inhaler out of the foil pouch and write the date on the box. If you are using your inhaler for the first time, you need to prime it. To prime your inhaler:
If you do not use your SYMBICORT inhaler for more than 7 days or if you drop it, you will need to prime it again.
Shake your inhaler well for 5 seconds. Remove the mouthpiece cover by squeezing gently at both sides, then pulling out. Check the mouthpiece for foreign objects.
Breathe out fully (exhale). Hold the inhaler up to your mouth. Place the white mouthpiece fully into your mouth and close your lips around it. Make sure that the inhaler is upright and that the opening of the mouthpiece is pointing towards the back of your throat.
Breathe in (inhale) deeply and slowly through your mouth. Press down firmly and fully on the top of the counter on the inhaler to release the medicine.
Continue to breathe in (inhale) and then hold your breath for about 10 seconds, or for as long as it is comfortable. Before you breathe out (exhale), release your finger from the top of the counter. Keep your inhaler upright and remove it from your mouth.
Shake your inhaler again for 5 seconds and repeat steps 2 to 4.
Actuation counter: The actuation counter on top of the inhaler will monitor the amount of medication remaining and help you know when to refill your prescription.
Put the cover back on the mouthpiece after use. Rinse your mouth with water and spit it out. Don’t swallow the water.
The counter for your SYMBICORT inhaler is found at the top of the metal canister. The arrow points to the number of inhalations, or puffs, remaining. After you have primed the inhaler for the first time, the counter will read either 120 or 60, depending on which size was provided to you.
Each time you release a puff from the inhaler, the counter will count down.
When the arrow gets close to 20, you will notice the beginning of the yellow zone, indicating that it is time to call for a refill. Discard the inhaler when the arrow points to the red zone and reads zero (0), or 3 months after it is taken out of its pouch, whichever comes first. Your inhaler may not feel empty and may continue to operate, but you will not get the right amount of medicine if you keep using it.
Get the most from your medication by taking it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. You can do this by:
If you have any questions about using your inhaler, talk to your doctor or call 1-887-886-2226.
You should clean the white mouthpiece of the SYMBICORT inhaler every 7 days. Remove the gray mouthpiece cover by squeezing gently at both sides, then pulling out. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the inside and outside of the white mouthpiece.
When you are finished cleaning the mouthpiece, place the cover back over the mouthpiece.
Never put your SYMBICORT inhaler into water. Do not try to take the inhaler apart.
Throw away SYMBICORT when the counter reads zero (0) or 3 months after you take SYMBICORT out of its foil pouch, whichever comes first. Your SYMBICORT inhaler may not feel empty and it may continue to operate, but you will not get the right amount of medicine if you keep using it.
Never immerse the canister into water to try and determine the amount of medicine remaining ("float test").
SYMBICORT contains formoterol, a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA). LABA medicines such as formoterol increase the risk of death from asthma problems. It is not known whether budesonide, the other medicine in SYMBICORT, reduces the risk of death from asthma problems seen with formoterol.
SYMBICORT should be used only if your health care provider decides that your asthma is not well controlled with a long-term asthma control medicine, such as an inhaled corticosteroid, or that your asthma is severe enough to begin treatment with SYMBICORT.
If you are taking SYMBICORT, see your health care provider if your asthma does not improve or gets worse. It is important that your health care provider assess your asthma control on a regular basis. Your doctor will decide if it is possible for you to stop taking SYMBICORT and start taking a long-term asthma control medicine without loss of asthma control.
Children and adolescents who take LABA medicines may have an increased risk of being hospitalized for asthma problems.
SYMBICORT does not replace rescue inhalers for sudden symptoms.
Be sure to tell your health care provider about all your health conditions, including heart conditions or high blood pressure, and all medicines you may be taking. Some patients taking SYMBICORT may experience increased blood pressure, heart rate, or change in heart rhythm.
Do not use SYMBICORT more often than prescribed. While taking SYMBICORT, never use another medicine containing a LABA for any reason. Ask your health care provider or pharmacist if any of your other medicines are LABA medicines.
SYMBICORT can cause serious side effects, including:
Common side effects in patients with asthma include nose and throat irritation, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, sinusitis, stomach discomfort, flu, back pain, nasal congestion, vomiting, and thrush in the mouth and throat.
Common side effects in patients with COPD include inflammation of the nasal passages and throat, thrush in the mouth and throat, bronchitis, sinusitis, and upper respiratory tract infection.
SYMBICORT 80/4.5 and 160/4.5 are medicines for the treatment of asthma for people 12 years and older whose doctor has determined that their asthma is not well controlled with a long-term asthma control medicine such as an inhaled corticosteroid or whose asthma is severe enough to begin treatment with SYMBICORT. SYMBICORT is not a treatment for sudden asthma symptoms.
SYMBICORT 160/4.5 is for adults with COPD, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. You should only take 2 inhalations of SYMBICORT twice a day. Higher doses will not provide additional benefits.
Talk to your doctor about prescription SYMBICORT.
Read Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNING, with Medication Guide (PDF — 551 KB)
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.Visit www.FDA.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
This site is intended for US consumers only.
The information on this Web site should not take the place of talking with your doctor or health care provider. If you have any questions about your condition, or if you would like more information about SYMBICORT, asthma, or COPD, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Only you and your doctor can decide if SYMBICORT is right for you.