Posted: 10/12/2017

Symbicort vs Advair Diskus

Asthma_inhalers_comparison

Symbicort and Advair Diskus are both inhalers that deliver a metered dose of drugs to help with the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They are designed to be used as maintenance inhalers and are usually taken daily regardless of whether attacks are regular or not. Both of the drugs contain a corticosteroid and a long-acting beta agonist (LABA), which works by relaxing muscles in the lungs to lower inflammation, making breathing easier. The actual drugs differ slightly. Symbicort uses a corticosteroid called budesonide, while Advair Diskus uses a different corticosteroid called fluticasone. The medicine in Symbicort is commonly known as formoterol, and the medicine in Advair Diskus is more commonly known as salmeterol. Importantly, they are not meant to be taken in the event of an asthma attack or short-term breathing issue - they are not “rescue inhalers”. The active drug (LABA) has a longer acting effect on the body and also has a slower onset of action, meaning that it takes longer to start working. It is important not to skip doses of a maintenance inhaler.

 

Both Symbicort and Advair Diskus are inhalers, meaning that the drug is breathed in through the mouth into the lungs. However, their delivery methods differ slightly. Symbicort is a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) that uses a propellant to deliver the drug into the patient’s lungs when the top of the inhaler is depressed. The Advair Diskus has measured doses of powder in foil blisters. When the Advair Diskus inhaler is used, a blister is pierced by the mechanism in the inhaler, and the power of the patient’s breath carries the powder into the lungs. As with all inhalers, patients should rinse their mouth after taking Advair Diskus or Symbicort. There are advantages and disadvantages to each delivery method.

 

 

 

Advair Diskus

Symbicort

What does it Treat / Who is it for?

Used for preventing asthma attacks and the worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Used for preventing asthma attacks and the worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Common Side Effects

Headaches, Cold & Fever Symptoms

Headaches, Respiratory Tract Infections, Hoarsening Of The Voice

Safety

Can affect patients with Hypertension. Only for use on patients over 4 years old.

Can affect patients with Hypertension. Can interact with grapefruit/grapefruit juice. Only for use on patients over 12 years old.

Coupons

Helprx Advair Diskus Coupon

Helprx Symbicort Coupon

 

The Symbicort MDI is a more traditional inhaler. It can be used with a spacer device, which is a chamber between the inhaler and the mouth that can make administering the drug easier. However, even with a spacer, a traditional inhaler can be more difficult to use for new patients or patients with poor hand eye coordination. It can also only be used with patients over 12 years old. The Symbicort MDI requires priming (shaking the inhaler before use) so that its propellant work effectively. If the inhaler has not been used for a period of time, it may require a few pumps before use.

 

The Advair Diskus has the advantage of not needing timing or hand-eye coordination to work effectively - the patient does not need to break the foil blister and inhale the drug at the same time, as the drug is propelled by their breath. It cannot be used with a spacer and can be used on patients over the age of four. The Advair Diskus comes in foil packaging to prevent it from being damaged in storage and shipping. Once this foil packaging is damaged, the Advair Diskus must be used within a month. It is important to note that Advair Diskus contains lactose and patients with severe lactose allergies should consult their doctor before using this medicine.

 

Another key difference of Advair Diskus and Symbicort is the time in which they take effect. Symbicort usually takes around 15 minutes for the drug to take effect, while Advair Diskus can take between 30 minutes and an hour. These times vary depending on the patient. The costs for the drugs are similar, and there is currently no generic alternative for any of these particular drugs. Be sure to consult the HelpRX coupon page for discounts before paying full price for these drugs.

 

Side effects, safety, and interactions

 

Side effects are similar in the two drugs. Common side effects for Symbicort include headaches and cold or fever like symptoms, which are usually not severe. Other side effects include (but are not limited to) aches and pains throughout the body, ear congestion, chills and fatigue, chest tightening, sneezing, a sore throat, loss of voice, and pain around the sinuses (usually in areas adjacent to the eyes and cheekbone). Symbicort is one of many drugs that can interact with grapefruits and grapefruit juice, and patients currently taking Symbicort should avoid eating these fruits. The drug can also affect patients with hypertension (high blood pressure). Patients with hypertension should consult their doctor before taking Symbicort.

 

Common side effects for Advair Diskus include headaches and upper respiratory tract infections. Other side effects include (but are not limited to) dizziness, fatigue, aches and pains throughout the body, congestion, throat dryness, a runny nose, issues with swallowing and a hoarsening/deepening of the voice. As with Symbicort, the effect of Advair Diskus can affect patients with hypertension. Patients with Hypertension should consult their doctor before taking Advair Diskus. As with any medication, patients should consult their doctor if side effects of either drug are causing pain or discomfort, or if the medicine is acting in a way not intended. Neither of the drugs has the potential to cause dependence, and the effect of stopping taking the drug is usually immediate (within a few days).

 

There have been no studies on the effect of either drug on pregnancy and breastfeeding in humans. However, there have been studies documenting the effect of similar drugs on laboratory animals, and the drugs have been found to be harmful to animal fetuses even at low levels. As a safety precaution, many women stop using the drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding unless the benefit of using the drug outweighs risk taken to the fetus. Patients should consult with their doctor if they become pregnant whilst taking either Symbicort or Advair Diskus.

 

Both Symbicort and Advair Diskus contain steroids, which have been shown to limit growth in children under the age of 21. There have been no studies that have shown a direct link with either of the drugs and stunted growth, but parents may want to consult their doctor before giving children under the age of 21 either inhaler.

 
By Daniel Titmuss

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About the HelpRx.info Blog

HelpRx.info is staffed by experts in the prescription medication industry. Get the latest health, medical news and pharmaceutical news that can save you money and allow you to take charge of your healthcare. With frequent updates about the prescription drug industry as well as medicine news, you'll gain an insider look into the industry and learn more about how to get the best price on your prescriptions while not sacrificing quality.

About HelpRx

Our discounts provide you access to negotiated prices on your prescription drugs at your local pharmacy. We can provide these because we're partnered with OptumRx, a BIG pharmacy benefit provider that provides prescription coverage for MILLIONS of people like you.

About ScriptRelief

Script Relief, the creator of the NPSN card and HelpRx discounts, helps consumers save an average of 50%, and up to 75%, off their prescriptions.

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