Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Budesonide is a potent corticosteroid drug indicated for the treatment of chronic asthma, allergic rhinitis and inflammatory bowel disease.


Budesonide is the active ingredient of Entocord, Pumicort, Budeflam, Inflammide, Rhinocort, Budeflam Aquanase and Inflanase.

Budesonide is also one of multiple active ingredients found in Symbicord (budesonide + formoterol).

General Information

Budesonide is a potent corticosteroid drug indicated for the treatment of chronic asthma, allergic rhinitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - a group of conditions that cause inflammation of the lining of the colon.

For IBD budesonide is available as a slow-release capsule, generally used for the treatment of Crohn's disease, and as a retention enema for the treatment of ulcerative colitis. Oral treatment with budesonide is generally short-term, unless a longer course is needed.

When inhaled, budesonide reduces airway inflammation and is prescribed as an inhaler for the preventative treatment of chronic asthma.

Budesonide is typically prescribed for the treatment of asthma when a bronchodilator does not fully control the symptoms of asthma. Relief of symptoms may not be evident for 3-7 days after the start of treatment and may take up to 4 weeks to reach its full effect.

Once an asthma attack has started, budesonide does not relieve any symptoms. To achieve the maximum preventative benefit, budesonide needs to be used regularly.

Budesonide as a nasal spray is prescribed for maintenance therapy of seasonal and perennial hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and nasal polyps.

Budesonide in comparison with other corticosteroids has been associated with fewer bone density losses and has a lower overall incidence of systemic manifestations than similar medications.

How does budesonide work?

Budesonide controls symptoms of the conditions it is indicated for by reducing inflammation, whether in the nose, lungs or bowel.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 4 (oral and rectal); Schedule 3 (inhalers and nasal spray)

Available as : Budesonide is available as modified-release capsules, retention enemas, inhalers and nasal sprays.

What does it do? Budesonide has an anti-inflammatory action, thereby reducing symptoms of asthma, hay fever and inflammatory bowel disease.

Overdose risk: Low

Dependence risk: Low

Is budesonide available as a generic ? Yes (Some)

Is budesonide available on prescription only ? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: 3-7 days. depending on condition being treated

Duration of action : Up to 24 hours depending on form of dosage

Dietary advice: Use of budesonide capsules and inhalers is recommended after meals.

Stopping this medicine: Do not stop treatment with budesonide suddenly, or before the prescribed course has been completed. Symptoms may recur. The oral form of this medication should be withdrawn as directed by your doctor over a period of time.

Prolonged use: Risk with prolonged use is low if the medication is used as recommended.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have a lung disease such as tuberculosis (TB)
  • You have any infection of the mouth, nose, sinus cavities, throat or lungs
  • You have any untreated bacterial or fungal infections
  • You are taking any other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: Depending on condition a reduced dose may be needed

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases

Nasal burning/ irritation









Sore throat/ hoarseness



Diarrhoea/ constipation



Rash/ itchy skin



Weight gain



Visual disturbances/ pain in eye



Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.


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