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Medication Detail

image of medication detailed on this page

Medication Type

Long Term Control, should be taken every day as prescribed

Generic Names

Budesonide

Brand Names

Pulmicort Flexhaler®, Pulmicort Respules®

Description

This medication is a dry powder inhaler or nebulized solution used for long term control of asthma symptoms. It prevents irritation and swelling in the airways.

Delivery

DPI (dry powder inhaler), inhaled nebulization solution

Spacer

Pulmicort cannot be used with a spacer.

Dosage

Pulmicort Flexhaler®
  • Adults: 360 mcg twice daily; in some patients 180 mcg twice daily may be sufficient; MAX 720 mcg twice daily
  • 6 to 17 years of age: 180 mcg twice daily; in some patients a starting dose of 360 mcg twice daily may be appropriate; MAX 360 mcg twice daily
Pulmicort Respules®
  • Children 12 months to 8 years of age: dosing based on previous therapy
    • Bronchodilators alone: 0.5 mg once daily or 0.25 mg twice daily
    • Inhaled corticosteroids: 0.5 mg once daily or 0.25 mg twice daily, can go up to 0.5 mg twice daily or 1 mg once daily
    • Oral corticosteroids: 0.5 mg twice daily or 1 mg once daily
    • In symptomatic children not responding to non-steroidal therapy, a starting dose of 0.25 mg once daily may be considered

Proper Use

  • See instruction for proper use. Use every day for best results.
  • Pulmicort Flexhaler: Prepare inhaler before first use only. Prepare the inhaler by holding the inhaler upright and twisting the brown grip as far as it will go in one direction then fully back in the other direction until it stops. It does not matter which direction you turn the brown base. You will hear a “click” during one of the twisting movements.

    To load a dose, hold inhaler in upright position (mouthpiece up) and twist the brown base as far as it will go in one direction, then all the way back the other direction. You will hear a click when the dose is loaded. Do not shake the inhaler. Place mouthpiece between lips and inhale forcefully and deeply. Do not exhale through inhaler; do not use a spacer. Dose indicator does not move with every dose, usually only after 5 doses. Discard when dose indicator reads "0". Rinse mouth with water after each use to reduce incidence of mouth or throat infection.
  • Suspension for nebulization: Shake well before using. Use Pulmicort Respules with jet nebulizer connected to an air compressor; administer with mouthpiece or facemask. Do not use ultrasonic nebulizer. Do not mix with other medications in nebulizer. Rinse mouth following treatments to decrease risk of mouth or throat infection (wash face if using face mask). For information on the correct use of nebulizers, visit our nebulizer page.

Precautions

  • Do NOT use this drug to treat an asthma attack.
  • If you have been taking this drug for many weeks, talk with your doctor before stopping. You may want to slowly stop this drug.
  • Avoid being near anyone with chickenpox or measles.
  • Talk with your doctor if you have glaucoma or cataracts, high blood sugar (diabetes), a fast heartbeat, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, soft and brittle bones (osteoporosis), overactive thyroid, seizures, if you are being treated for any type of infection, or if you have a severe milk allergy.

Common Interactions

This drug interacts with itraconazole and other less commonly used medications.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your medications and health problems so they can check for any interactions.

Possible Side Effects

Possible side effects include headache, dizziness, nausea, sore throat, and cough.

Tell your doctor or seek medical attention if you notice any signs of an allergic reaction (rash, hives, wheezing, tightness in the chest or throat, trouble breathing or swelling of the face), confusion, or signs of infection (fever, chills, very bad sore throat, etc.).

Proper Storage

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from heat, light, and water.
  • Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Discard Flexhaler when dose indicator reaches "0". Discard nebulizer solution if it has been more than 2 weeks after opening the aluminum packaging.


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