Thursday, December 17, 2015

Symbicort

A few posts ago I said I would blog about some the medications I am currently taking. I am starting with Symbicort. Here is the Symbicort turbohaler.  I have used this medication every day for many years. I consider it the basic treatment for my asthma - although I do take other drugs as well.


It is very easy to take Symbicort since you don't have to spray it or use a chamber (spacer). You just turn the bottom to load the powder, put it between your lips, and the inhale it directly. Wait about 10 seconds and do the next one. Never shake the turbohaler. You must always rinse your mouth afterwards to prevent thrush.

drugs.com says: "Symbicort contains a combination of budesonide and formoterol. Budesonide is a steroid that reduces inflammation in the body. Formoterol is a bronchodilator that relaxes muscles in the airways to improve breathing." In other words, Symbicort is both a reliever and controller in one. 
They also say "Symbicort is used to prevent bronchospasm in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For people with asthma: Symbicort is for use only if asthma is severe or is not well-controlled on other long-term asthma medicines. " So far, that's me.

Symbicort has some side-effects which you can check out at drugs.com plus other websites.  Most are not  serious - but occasionally Symbicort will actually make asthma much worse.  I mainly seem to get a dry mouth and a hoarse voice. Sometimes I think it makes me a bit jittery.

Most people take Symbicort a couple of inhalations twice a day for a total of 4 inhalations. I did this for many years. My new specialist prescribed a larger does - actually 4 inhalations 4 times a day - a total of 16 a day. That means I go through one turbohaler a week. Since they cost about $100.00 each, I am very fortunate to have Blue Cross Insurance which covers most of the cost.

Symbicort has absolutely no taste and does not work immediately - so you have to just trust that it is working also keep track of when you take it. I keep a written record every time I take it - though that is not always possible if I am away from home. Because I take it so often and it has no taste or immediate effect, if I don't make a note I sometimes can't remember if I have just taken it or not. If that happens I generally take 2 puffs - which means I have either taken 2 or 6. 6 is the maximum you should take at any time.

The other asthma medications I currently take are Xolair injections once a month, spiriva - 2 inhalations every morning, and occasional prednsone bursts if things get out of hand. I also take pulmicort for my sinuses.

I am very satisfied with how my asthma has improved now that I am taking fluconazole for my candida infection. It is the only medication besides prednisone which I can actually see has a result. My peak flows are excellent and I can do any level of exercise the rest of me is fit enough to do. I am working really hard to get stronger and more agile and hoping that one day I may be able to reduce even Symbicort which I have been taking for so long.
 

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