If you have a certain kind of breathing condition, your doctor might suggest Symbicort as a treatment option. It’s a prescription drug used to treat the following:

It’s important to note that Symbicort is not a rescue inhaler and should not be used to relieve sudden breathing problems.

The active ingredients in Symbicort are budesonide and formoterol. (An active ingredient is what makes a drug work.) Symbicort comes as an inhaler with medication that you breathe in.

This article describes the dosages of Symbicort, as well as its strengths and how to use it. To learn more about Symbicort, see this in-depth article.

Note: This article covers Symbicort’s usual dosages, which are provided by the drugmaker. But when using Symbicort, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.

This section describes the typical dosage of Symbicort.

Note: This chart highlights the basics of Symbicort’s dosage. Be sure to read on for more detail.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disorderadults160 micrograms (mcg) budesonide/4.5 mcg formoteroltwo inhalations (puffs) twice per day
asthmaadults and children ages 12 years and older80 mcg/4.5 mcg or 160 mcg/4.5 mcg, depending on how severe your asthma istwo puffs twice per day
asthmachildren ages 6 years to 11 years80 mcg/4.5 mcgtwo puffs twice per day

What is Symbicort’s form?

Symbicort comes as a metered-dose inhaler with medication that you breathe in.

What strengths does Symbicort come in?

Symbicort comes in two strengths: 160 mcg budesonide/4.5 mcg formoterol and 80 mcg budesonide/4.5 mcg formoterol.

What are the usual dosages of Symbicort?

The information below describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Dosage for asthma

For asthma, the recommended Symbicort dosage is two puffs twice per day. Your doctor will prescribe the strength that’s best for you, depending on how severe your asthma is.

Dosage for COPD

The recommended Symbicort dosage for COPD is two puffs twice per day. For COPD, your doctor will prescribe a strength of 160 mcg/4.5 mcg.

What’s the dosage of Symbicort for children?

Symbicort is used to treat asthma in children.

Children using Symbicort will take two puffs of the medication twice per day. The strength of Symbicort your child is prescribed will depend on their age.

  • For children ages 6 to 11 years, the recommended strength is 80 mcg/4.5 mcg.
  • For children ages 12 years and older, their doctor will prescribe the strength that’s right for them, depending on how severe their asthma is.

Is Symbicort used long term?

Yes, Symbicort is usually used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely use it long term.

Dosage adjustments

If you take Symbicort for asthma and your condition isn’t well-managed at the lower strength (80 mcg/4.5 mcg), your doctor may increase your dose to 160 mcg/4.5 mcg.

The dosage of Symbicort you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using the drug to treat
  • your age

Symbicort comes as a metered-dose inhaler with medication that you breathe in. You’ll take two inhalations (puffs) twice per day. You’ll take a dose of Symbicort once in the morning and once in the evening (about 12 hours apart).

Before using your inhaler for the first time, you’ll need to prime it. Shake your inhaler for 5 seconds, then spray it once away from your face. Shake your inhaler for another 5 seconds, then spray it away from your face once more.

To use your Symbicort inhaler:

  1. Shake it for 5 seconds and remove the mouthpiece.
  2. Breathe out fully (exhale). Put the white piece fully in your mouth and close your lips around it.
  3. Breathe in (inhale) and press down firmly on the counter on top of the inhaler to release the medicine.
  4. Continue to breathe in, and hold your breath for 10 seconds.
  5. Remove the inhaler from your mouth and keep it upright.

You’ll repeat the steps above for your second puff. After you take your dose, put the cover on the inhaler. Rinse your mouth with water and spit it out (do not swallow the water).

For more detailed instructions on how to use your Symbicort inhaler, see the drugmaker’s website.

If you use your inhaler as prescribed, it should work for 30 days. You can use the counter on the inhaler to keep track of your doses.

For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Symbicort, see this article.

Accessible drug containers and labels

If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:

  • have large print or use braille
  • feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio

Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.

If you miss a dose of Symbicort, just skip your missed dose and take your next dose at its scheduled time. You should not take more than four inhalations per day.

If you need help remembering to take your dose of Symbicort on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.

Do not use more Symbicort than your doctor prescribes, as this can lead to serious side effects.

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:

Talk with your doctor about other possible symptoms of overdose.

What to do in case you use too much Symbicort

Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve used too much Symbicort. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room.

The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drugmaker. If your doctor recommends Symbicort for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.

Remember, you should not change your dosage of Symbicort without your doctor’s recommendation. Only use Symbicort exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.

Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • How soon will Symbicort start working?
  • Can I take a lower dosage if I have side effects from Symbicort?
  • Will my dosage be adjusted if I take other medications with Symbicort?

To learn more about Symbicort, see these articles:

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Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.