Budesonide for inhalation

Sounds like 'bu-des-o-nide'

Easy-to-read medicine information about budesonide – what it is, how to use budesonide safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as Corticosteroids
  • Inhaled Corticosteroid
  • Preventer
  • Pulmicort® Turbuhaler

What is budesonide?

  • Budesonide is used to prevent asthma.
  • It works by preventing the swelling and irritation in the walls of the small air passages in the lungs.


  • The dose of budesonide will be different for different people, and will depend on the strength of your inhaler  - the usual dose is 1 or 2 puffs inhaled two times a day.
  • If your asthma is mild-to-moderate, and stable, your doctor may prescribe budesonide once daily, in the evening.
  • Always use your budesonide turbuhaler as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to use, how often to use it, and any special instructions
  • Budesonide does not give immediate relief from an asthma attack and may take up to a week to start to work.
  • Since asthma is a long-term condition, prevention with budesonide is ongoing and it will need to be used every day for several years.

How to use budesonide turbuhaler

  • Budesonide is available as a dry powder  in a device called a turbuhaler.
  • The turbuhaler device is breath activated, which means that it releases a dose of the powder, when you breath in.
  • To get the most benefit from the medication, it is important to use the correct technique when using a turbuhaler.
  • Your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse will explain how to use your turbuhaler -- the following steps are a guide:
    • Unscrew and remove the cap.
    • Hold the turbuhaler upright.
    • Twist the grip at the base of the turbuhaler as far as it will go.
    • Twist it back to its original position - listen for the click.
    • Put the mouthpiece to your lips and breath in steadily through the turbuhaler.
    • Remove the turbuhaler from the mouth.
    • Breathe out slowly through the nose.
    • Rinse your mouth with water after using your turbuhaler.


  • The turbuhaler has a little window under the mouthpiece. This is called the Empty Soon Indicator. When a RED mark appears at the top of the window, there are about 20 doses left.

What else do I need to know?

  • Use your budesonide turbuhaler every day. Do not stop using budesonide, even if you feel better.
  • Try to use it at the same time each day, to help you to remember to use it regularly.
  • Budesonide does not give immediate relief from an asthma attack. If you need immediate relief, you will need to use a "reliever" puffer.
  • It is not harmful if you miss a dose of budesonide. If you miss a dose, you can take it as soon as you remember, or if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take your next dose at the right time.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines budesonide can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Change in voice (hoarse voice)
  • Different taste in your mouth
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Cough 
  • Rinse your mouth after use.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Sore throat or tongue (rinse your mouth with water after using your turbuhaler)
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist
  • Allergic reaction such as skin rash, itching, swelling of the lips, face, and mouth or difficulty breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine.

Learn more

Learn more about inhalers - Asthma Foundation

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets:  Pulmicort Turbuhaler

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ