Pulmicort (budesonide)

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

Pulmicort (budesonide) is an inhaled steroid that is used for the long-term treatment of asthma. This type of medicine is taken every day to prevent inflammation in the lungs.1,2

Pulmicort comes in 2 forms:1,2

  • Pulmicort Flexhaler, a dry powder inhaler for people aged 6 years and older
  • Pulmicort Respules, a liquid suspension used with a jet nebulizer for children between the ages of 12 months and 8 years old. A nebulizer turns liquid medicine into a fine mist that your child inhales.

Do not take Pulmicort by itself if you are having an asthma attack, because it does not work quickly enough. You should use a rescue inhaler instead.1,2

How does Pulmicort work?

Steroids like Pulmicort are taken every day to reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways. This can make you less likely to have an asthma attack and can make asthma attacks less severe.1,2

Ask your doctor, nurse, or respiratory therapist to show you how to use your inhaler properly.

What are the ingredients in Pulmicort?

The active ingredient in Pulmicort is budesonide.1,2

What are the possible side effects?

The common side effects of Pulmicort include:1,2

  • Sore nose and throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea
  • Hay fever
  • Viral infections of the upper respiratory tract
  • Viral irritation of the stomach and intestine. This can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, headaches, and weakness.
  • Ear infections

Pulmicort can cause serious side effects. Get medical help right away if you have any of these symptoms:1,2

  • Worsening of asthma or an asthma attack
  • Allergic reactions such as skin rash, severe itching, or swelling of the face
  • Thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth and throat. After using Pulmicort, rinse your mouth with water and spit out the water. This will help to prevent thrush.

These are not all the possible side effects of Pulmicort. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Pulmicort.

Other things to know

Pulmicort Flexhaler contains small amounts of lactose, which is a milk protein. If you have a severe milk allergy, do not use Pulmicort Flexhaler.1

Before taking Pulmicort, tell your doctor or respiratory therapist if you have had problems with your liver, eyes, immune system, osteoporosis, or if you plan to become pregnant or breastfeed.1,2

Before beginning asthma treatment with Pulmicort, talk to your doctor about any other health issues you have. Also tell your doctor about any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Pulmicort Flexhaler and Pulmicort Respules.

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