Budesonide for Asthma

Budesonide is a steroid inhaler used both in the treatment of asthma as an inhalation treatment as well as orally for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. It is a potent anti-inflammatory controller medication that is taken daily to help improve asthma symptoms.

What Is Budesonide?

Budesonide is an inhaled corticosteroid used to treat asthma symptoms when a rescue inhaler is no longer adequate treatment. Inhaled steroids are considered first-line treatment for patients using a rescue inhaler more than twice per week. Other reasons that your doctor may consider prescribing budesonide include asthma symptoms occurring more than twice per week, symptoms awaken you at night, or your asthma symptoms are impairing your activities of daily living. Your doctor may also look at your pulmonary function testing and decide you need a daily medication. Finally, patients that have needed oral steroids more than once in a year are candidates for a daily controller medication.

This is a controller medication that needs to be taken daily to maintain asthma control and decrease asthma symptoms.

Budesonide is a drug used to prevent asthma symptoms such as:

However, it is not for the acute relief of asthma symptoms.

How Does It Work?

Inhaled steroids decrease airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. As a result, you may be less likely to develop symptoms when exposed to an asthma trigger. Budesonide acts on a number of different types of cells in evolved in the pathophysiology of asthma including:

  • Basophils
  • Eosinophils
  • Lymphocytes
  • Macrophages
  • Mast Cells
  • Neutrophils
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • IgE

How It's Prescribed

Budesonide can be prescribed as an inhalational treatment for asthma. Additionally, other formulations allow for it to be taken orally, which is not an asthma treatment.

In order to be effective, budesonide needs to be taken daily. Decreased inflammation, mucus production, and hyperresponsiveness will lead to decreased symptoms. Budesonide may be taken daily either as a nebulized inhalational product or through an inhaler.

Possible Risks & Side Effects

Budesonide is generally well tolerated, but all medications carry some risk of side effects. The good news is that many of the risks are preventable. Common side effects include:​

  • Oral thrush
  • Voice changes
  • Cough

If a child with asthma is on an inhaled steroid regular trips to your doctor are needed to make sure growth is not impacted and adults need to make sure they maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

Let your doctor know if you experience any of the following when taking budesonide:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Hives
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness

Is It Effective?

Budesonide and other inhaled steroids improve asthma outcomes. Patients taking their controller medication daily as prescribed are less likely to experience symptoms that impair their daily activities and have an improved quality of life. You are less likely to need to make an unscheduled visit your doctor, the emergency room, or end up in the hospital.

Budesonide is not effective if it is not taken correctly. For some, this means remembering to take your medication regularly. For others, this is making sure that you take your medication correctly.

Asthma is a chronic disease that is complicated. You not only need to understand your different medications and when to take each of your medications (your asthma action plan is a guide or road map that explains this and other import asthma info), but there is a certain amount of dexterity and manual skill you need to take your medication carefully. Poor inhaler technique is a common reason that you have less medication delivered to your lungs. Poor technique can be mitigated by using a spacer- a device that takes in your asthma medication and allows you to just breathe in the medication into the lung with normal breathing.

What You Need to Know About

If your doctor has prescribed an inhaled steroid than you need to use it daily as prescribed. Many patients fail to take their medications regularly for a number of different reasons.

Know When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor about your asthma if:

  • Your asthma symptoms worsen while on budesonide
  • Your rescue inhaler no longer relieves your symptoms
  • You are using your rescue inhaler more than twice per week
  • Your peak flows are worsening
  • You use your entire rescue inhaler at least every 2 months, or more frequently
Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.