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a glucocorticoid antiinflammatory agent administered by inhalation to treat asthma, intranasally to treat allergic rhinitis and other inflammatory nasal conditions, rectally to treat ulcerative colitis, and orally to treat Crohn's disease.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Budenofalk (UK), Easyhaler Budesonide (UK), Entocort CR (UK), Entocort EC, Entocort Enema (UK), Novolizer Budesonide (UK), Pulmicort Flexhaler, Pulmicort Respules, Rhinocort Aqua

Pharmacologic class: Corticosteroid (inhalation)

Therapeutic class: Antiasthmatic, steroidal anti-inflammatory

Pregnancy risk category B (intranasal, inhalation); C (oral)

FDA Box Warning

• Pulmicort Respules is meant only for inhalation by compressed air-driven jet nebulizers (not ultrasonic devices). It must not be injected. Read patient instructions before using.


Decreases inflammation by inhibiting migration of inflammatory mediators to injury site, where it reverses dilation and increases vessel permeability. Also decreases plasma exudation and mucus secretions within airway.


Capsules (extended-release): 3 mg

Inhalation powder: 90 mcg (Pulmicort Flexhaler), 180 mcg (Pulmicort Flex-haler)

Inhalation suspension (Respules): 0.25 mg/2 ml, 0.5 mg/2 ml, 1 mg/ml

Nasal spray: 32 mcg/metered spray (7-g canister)

Indications and dosages

Maintenance treatment of asthma as prophylactic therapy

Adults: 360 mcg (powder for oral inhalation) inhaled b.i.d. For some patients, 180 mcg inhaled b.i.d. may be appropriate. Maximum dosage is 720 mcg b.i.d.

Children ages 6 to 17: 180 mcg (powder for oral inhalation) inhaled b.i.d. For some patients, dosage of 360 mcg inhaled b.i.d. may be appropriate. Maximum dosage is 360 mcg b.i.d.

Seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis

Adults and children ages 6 and older: Two sprays in each nostril in morning and evening, or four sprays in each nostril in morning. Maintenance dosage is fewest number of sprays needed to control symptoms.

Mild to moderate active Crohn's disease involving ileum, ascending colon, or both

Adults: 9 mg P.O. daily for up to 8 weeks. For recurring episodes of active Crohn's disease, 8-week course can be repeated and tapered to 6 mg P.O. daily for 2 weeks before complete cessation.

Dosage adjustment

• Moderate to severe hepatic disease


• Hypersensitivity to drug

• Status asthmaticus


Use cautiously in:

• renal disease, hepatic disease, heart failure, active untreated infections, systemic infections, hypertension, osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, glaucoma, underlying immunosuppression, hypothyroidism, diverticulitis, nonspecific ulcerative colitis, recent intestinal anastomoses, thromboembolic disorders, seizures, myasthenia gravis, ocular herpes simplex infection

• patients receiving concurrent systemic corticosteroids

• pregnant or breastfeeding patients

• children younger than age 6.


• If patient also uses a bronchodilator, give that drug at least 15 minutes before budesonide.

• Know that using a spacer reduces risk of candidiasis and hoarseness.

• Make sure patient swallows capsules whole without crushing or chewing them.

Adverse reactions

CNS: headache, nervousness, depression, euphoria, psychoses, increased intracranial pressure

CV: hypertension, Churg-Strauss syndrome, thrombophlebitis, thromboembolism

EENT: cataracts, nasal congestion, nasal burning or dryness, epistaxis, perforated nasal septum, hoarseness, nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal fungal infections

GI: nausea, vomiting, peptic ulcers, anorexia, esophageal candidiasis, dry mouth

Metabolic: hyperglycemia, decreased growth (in children), cushingoid appearance (moon face, buffalo hump), adrenal suppression or insufficiency

Musculoskeletal: muscle wasting, muscle pain, osteoporosis, aseptic joint necrosis

Respiratory: cough, wheezing, rebound congestion, bronchospasm

Skin: facial edema, rash, petechiae, contact dermatitis, acne, bruising, hirsutism, urticaria

Other: bad taste, anosmia, weight gain or loss, increased susceptibility to infection, angioedema, hypersensitivity reaction


Drug-drug. Amphotericin B, mezlocillin, piperacillin, thiazide and loop diuretics, ticarcillin: additive hypokalemia

Digoxin: increased risk of digoxin toxicity

Erythromycin, indinavir, itraconazole, ketoconazole, ritonavir, saquinavir: increased blood level and effects of budesonide

Fluoroquinolones: increased risk of tendon rupture

Hormonal contraceptives: blockage of budesonide metabolism

Insulin, oral hypoglycemics: increased budesonide requirement

Live-virus vaccines: decreased antibody response to vaccine, increased risk of adverse effects from budesonide

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including aspirin): increased risk of adverse GI effects

Phenobarbital, phenytoin, rifampin: decreased budesonide efficacy

Somatrem, somatropin: decreased response to budesonide

Drug-food. Grapefruit, grapefruit juice: increased blood level and effects of budesonide

High-fat meal: delayed peak budesonide concentration

Patient monitoring

• Monitor respiratory status to evaluate drug efficacy.

Stay alert for hypersensitivity reactions, especially angioedema.

• Evaluate liver function test results.

• Periodically observe patient for proper inhaler use.

• Assess oral cavity for infection.

Patient teaching

• Teach patient proper use of inhaler.

• Tell patient to swallow capsules whole without crushing or chewing them.

Instruct patient to contact prescriber immediately if he develops itching, rash, fever, swelling of face and neck, or difficulty breathing.

• Encourage patient to document medication use and his response in diary.

• Advise patient to report signs and symptoms of fungal infections of mouth.

• Tell female patient to inform prescriber if she is pregnant or plans to become pregnant.

• Caution patient to avoid exposure to chickenpox and measles, if possible.

• Emphasize importance of rinsing mouth after each inhaler treatment and washing and drying inhaler thoroughly after each use.

• Instruct patient to avoid high-fat meals, grapefruit, and grapefruit juice.

• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs and foods mentioned above.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


A corticosteroid used in the treatment of asthma, allergic rhinitis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A nebulisable synthetic glucocorticosteroid, structurally related to 16α-hydroxyprednisolone, which has high topical anti-inflammatory activity, low systemic activity and enhanced receptor-binding activity, but more rapid presystemic metabolism than other corticosteroids.

Coup, asthma, allergic rhinitis, inflammatory colitides—e.g., ulcerative colititis and Crohn’s disease; seasonal or perennial.
Adverse effects
Nasal irritation, sores and bleeding, upset stomach, cough, dry mouth, rash, muscle cramps.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


Rhinocort Pharmacology A nebulizable synthetic glucocorticosteroid with high topical antiinflammatory activity, low systemic activity, and enhanced receptor binding activity; nebulized budesonide is used for croup and control of mild asthma, for inflammatory colitides–eg, ulcerative colititis and Crohn's disease, and seasonal or perennial allergic rhinitis. See Allergic rhinitis.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


A corticosteroid drug used in a nasal spray for hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or as an inhalant for ASTHMA. Brand names are Entocort, Pulicort and Rhinocort. With EFORMOTEROL (formoterol) it is marketed as Symbicort.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005