NZ Formulary

Budesonide and formoterol

bew-dess-oh-nide and for-mot-er-ol

What does it do?

Budesonide and formoterol helps to prevent asthma symptoms and breathing problems. It is also used to relieve symptoms for people with asthma using the AIR or SMART action plan.

How should you use it?

Inhale budesonide and formoterol as directed by your healthcare professional.
Rinse your mouth after use.
If you need quick relief from asthma symptoms or breathing problems, use your ‘reliever’ medicine (e.g. salbutamol, terbutaline, ipratropium). If you have asthma and are using the AIR or SMART action plan, budesonide and formoterol is both your preventer and reliever medicine.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and inhale your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, inhale the missed dose as soon as you remember.

Can you take other medicines?

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain

Tell your doctor

Dry mouth or throat, hoarse voice, cough

Unpleasant taste

Small white sores in mouth, furry tongue (oral thrush)

Use a spacer and rinse your mouth after use. If symptoms continue, tell your doctor.


Headache, dizziness

Nervousness, trouble sleeping

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Do not stop using your inhaler without talking to your doctor first.
  • Tell your doctor if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, cataracts, osteoporosis, or glaucoma; or if you have ever had tuberculosis.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Some people with asthma may get short of breath after taking certain pain-relieving medicines such as aspirin (e.g. Aspec®), diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren®) or ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen®). Talk to your healthcare professional.
  • Long-term use of budesonide and formoterol may rarely cause effects such as: round face, change in body shape, change in hair growth, thin skin, weak muscles, increased risk of infection, increased blood pressure, diabetes and slowed growth in children – discuss with your healthcare professional.
  • The use of inhalers can sometimes make breathing worse. Discuss this with your healthcare professional.
  • If you are using your budesonide and formoterol as your reliever, keep it handy at all times so you know where it is when you need it.