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What is COPD?

If you have COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, you are not alone. Over 12 million adult Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and an additional 12 million may not even be aware that they have it. COPD is a progressive disease of the lungs. When you have COPD, the airways of the lungs are partially obstructed. This makes it difficult to get air in and out of the lungs. This can make it hard for you to breathe. COPD develops over time, typically due to long-term exposure of the lungs to cigarette smoke or other environmental irritants. Shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing that may produce large amounts of mucus are all symptoms of COPD.

Healthy lungs are elastic. They expand when you inhale and then contract again when you exhale to move air in and out of your lungs.

Healthy Airway

Airway with COPD

With COPD, lungs lose their elasticity and no longer function properly. Factors include:

  • The airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality
  • The walls between the air sacs are destroyed
  • The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed (swollen)
  • The airways make more mucus than usual, which causes clogging

These changes in the lungs are due to 2 main conditions—chronic bronchitis and emphysema. When you have COPD you have 1 or both of these conditions:

Chronic bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis consists of irritated and inflamed airways that result in excess mucus production and a recurring cough. "Chronic" means this mucus-producing cough occurs most days of the month, 3 months out of a year, for 2 consecutive years without an underlying illness, such as a cold. Chronic bronchitis is often mislabeled as a "smoker’s cough".

Emphysema

Emphysema is damage to the small air sacs in the lungs, which makes it difficult for oxygen to get into the blood and carbon dioxide to get out of the blood. This leads to shortness of breath.

Although there is no cure for COPD, lifestyle changes and medications, such as SYMBICORT, can help make a significant difference in your breathing.* Talk to your doctor about treatment options for COPD.
*Your results may vary.

FAST FACT:Symptoms of COPD can begin
to show as early as age 40.

Important Safety Information About SYMBICORT Including Boxed WARNING

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.

  • Call your health care provider if breathing problems worsen over time while using SYMBICORT. You may need different treatment
  • Get emergency medical care if:
    • Breathing problems worsen quickly, and
    • You use your rescue inhaler medicine, but it does not relieve your breathing problems

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:

  • Pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections. People with COPD may have a higher chance of pneumonia. Call your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms: change in amount or color of mucus, fever, chills, increased cough, or increased breathing problems
  • Serious allergic reactions including rash, hives, swelling of the face, mouth and tongue, and breathing problems
  • Immune system effect and a higher chance of infection. Tell your health care provider if you think you are exposed to infections such as chicken pox or measles, or if you have any signs of infection such as fever, pain, body aches, chills, feeling tired, nausea, or vomiting
  • Adrenal insufficiency. This can happen when you stop taking oral corticosteroid medicines and start inhaled corticosteroid medicine
  • Using too much of a LABA medicine may cause chest pain, increase in blood pressure, fast and irregular heartbeat, headache, tremor, or nervousness
  • Increased wheezing right after taking SYMBICORT. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden wheezing
  • Eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts. You should have regular eye exams while using SYMBICORT
  • Lower bone mineral density can happen in people who have a high chance for low bone mineral density (osteoporosis)
  • Slowed growth in children. A child's growth should be checked regularly while using SYMBICORT
  • Swelling of blood vessels (signs include a feeling of pins and needles or numbness of arms or legs, flu like symptoms, rash, pain or swelling of the sinuses), decrease in blood potassium and increase in blood sugar levels

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.

Approved Uses for SYMBICORT

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.