Airsupra (albuterol and budesonide)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2023

Airsupra® (albuterol and budesonide) is a rescue medicine for asthma. It is used to treat or prevent asthma attacks in people ages 18 and older.1,2

Airsupra contains a short-acting beta-agonist (SABA) and an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS). It works by relaxing airway muscles and reducing inflammation.1,2

Overuse of SABAs can increase the risk of further asthma attacks. Taking an ICS whenever you take a SABA can reduce this risk. Airsupra is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to combine a SABA and an ICS in 1 inhaler. Taking Airsupra reduces the risk of further asthma attacks better than taking a SABA alone.2,3

What are the ingredients in Airsupra?

The active ingredients in Airsupra are albuterol and budesonide.2

How does Airsupra work?

During an asthma attack, your airways become swollen and inflamed. This causes the muscles in your airway to tighten. Your airway gets narrower. This leads to:4

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing

Airsupra is a rescue medicine used to treat asthma attacks. It relaxes your airway muscles and reduces airway inflammation. Airsupra contains 2 asthma drugs:1,2

  • The SABA albuterol
  • The ICS budesonide

Albuterol works fast to relax airway muscles. This opens the airways and relieves symptoms. But overusing albuterol increases the risk of asthma attacks. In 2022, guidelines came out recommending that albuterol not be used alone.3

Taking an ICS whenever you take albuterol lowers the risk of asthma attacks. Budesonide reduces airway inflammation and swelling. Airsupra reduces the risk of severe asthma attacks by 30 percent, compared to albuterol alone.2,3

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Airsupra include:1,2

  • Headache
  • Fungal infections of the mouth and throat
  • Cough
  • Trouble speaking or hoarseness

Airsupra can cause your airways to suddenly tighten. This is called a bronchospasm. It can be life-threatening. Bronchospasms happen right after using the inhaler. They are most common when you use a new canister. Symptoms of a bronchospasm include:1,2

  • Trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Airsupra can cause allergic reactions. If you have an allergic reaction, it will usually happen right after you use your inhaler. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:1,2

  • Skin rash, redness, or swelling
  • Severe itching
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, and tongue
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest pain

Airsupra can also cause heart problems, such as higher pulse and blood pressure. These problems are rare when using the recommended dose. Other serious side effects of Airsupra have also been reported. These include:1,2,5-7

  • Lower levels of potassium in the blood
  • Bone thinning
  • Higher risk of infections
  • Lower adrenal function (adrenal glands produce hormones necessary for the body to carry out certain necessary processes)
  • Eye problems, including glaucoma (high pressure inside the eye) and cataracts (cloudiness that makes it harder to see)

These are not all the possible side effects of Airsupra. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking Airsupra. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking Airsupra.

Other things to know

Take Airsupra as your doctor prescribes. They will show you how to prime and use the inhaler. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions on how to take Airsupra. Taking too much increases the risk of serious side effects.1,2

Airsupra treats or prevents sudden asthma attacks. It should not be used as a controller drug. If you take another drug to control symptoms, you may still need to take that drug.1,2

Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms after taking Airsupra. Tell them if you need more doses of Airsupra than usual. This may indicate that your asthma is not well-controlled. Your doctor may suggest adding or changing medicines.1,2

Before beginning Airsupra for asthma, tell your doctor about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

Other drugs you take or medical conditions you have may make it less safe for you to take Airsupra. Tell your doctor about:1,2

  • Any allergies, especially to ingredients in Airsupra
  • History of problems with your eyes, heart, immune system, liver, or thyroid
  • History of diabetes, high blood pressure, infections, or seizures
  • Risk for weak bones
  • Pregnancy or plans to become pregnant

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Airsupra.

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