How to Use Your SYMBICORT Inhaler
COPD is a chronic condition that requires your attention every day.
That’s why you should take SYMBICORT exactly as prescribed by your doctor. It’s important that you don’t miss a dose or take more doses than prescribed. If you do miss a dose, take your next dose at the same time you normally do. 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. If you have any questions about the directions, ask your health care provider.
What can I expect
when I take SYMBICORT?”
Preparing Your SYMBICORT Inhaler
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.
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.
After Using Your SYMBICORT Inhaler
Put the cover back on the mouthpiece after use. Rinse your mouth with water and spit it out. Don’t swallow the water.
Make Every Dose Count Every Day
Get the most from your medication by taking it exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
You can do this by:
- Keeping your inhaler in a place that will remind you to use it
- Keeping track of the number of doses of SYMBICORT remaining in your inhaler so you’ll know when to refill your prescription
How to Clean Your SYMBICORT Inhaler
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.
When to Discard Your SYMBICORT Inhaler
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.
- 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 different 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 medical 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 may cause serious side effects, including:
- Using too much of a LABA medicine may cause chest pain, increase in blood pressure, fast and irregular heartbeat, headache, tremor, or nervousness
- Fungal infection in your mouth or throat (thrush). Rinse your mouth with water after using SYMBICORT to help reduce your chance of getting thrush
- Pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections. People with COPD may have a higher chance of pneumonia and other lung infections. 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
- Immune system effects and a higher chance for infections. 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
- Increased wheezing right after taking SYMBICORT. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden wheezing
- Serious allergic reactions including rash, hives, swelling of the face, mouth and tongue, and breathing problems
- 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
- Eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts. You should have regular eye exams 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 and swelling of the sinuses
- Decreases in blood potassium levels (hypokalemia)
- Increases in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia)
The most common side effects in patients with asthma include nose and throat irritation, headache, upper respiratory tract infection, sore throat, sinusitis, flu, back pain, nasal congestion, stomach discomfort, vomiting, and thrush in the mouth and throat.
The most common side effects in patients with COPD include throat irritation, 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 is a medicine for the treatment of asthma for people 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 80/4.5 is for the treatment of asthma for children 6 to less than 12 years. SYMBICORT 80/4.5 and 160/4.5 are for the treatment of asthma for people 12 years and older. 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.