Budesonide Side Effects

Budesonide is a steroid, which is a class of organic compounds that includes cholesterol and testosterone. It is specifically a glucocorticoid steroid because it is manufactured by the adrenal gland and it regulates the breakdown glucose within the body. Drug manufacturers sell budesonide under a variety of trade names, depending on the specific preparation. Physicians use budesonide to treat several conditions, although this powerful drug also has significant side effects, like other glucocorticoids.

Treatments

The treatment of asthma, allergies and other types of non-infectious rhinitis are the most common applications for budesonide. It is also used to treat Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. Budesonide is most effective against Crohn's disease that affects the right colon and ileum. Additional uses of budesonide include the treatment of nasal polyps. Budesonide is currently being tested in clinical trials for its effect on ulcerative colitis.

Preparations

Budesonide has different preparations, depending on its purpose. Inhalant preparations are used for nasal problems, while oral capsules and enemas are made for gastrointestinal disorders. The pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca makes a nasal inhalant under the trade name Rhinocort and an oral inhalant under the trade name Pulmicort. Symbicort is a combination of budesonide and formoterol that AstraZeneca markets under the trade name Symbicort.

Prometheus Laboratories makes an oral capsule and enema preparation of budesonide under the trade name Entocort. It also makes an oral capsule of budesonide under the trade name Entocort EC. The primary difference between these two preparations is that Entocort is a modified-release formula while Entocort EC is a sustained-release formula.

Mild Side Effects

Oral preparations of budesonide may cause muscle cramps and an upset stomach. The most common side effects of inhalant preparations include the following:


  • Change in mucus color

  • Bad taste

  • Dry mouth

  • Hoarseness

  • Coughing

  • Nasal bleeding

  • Lightheadedness

  • Rash

  • Sore throat

  • Nasal irritation

Severe Side Effects

Budesonide may cause severe side effects, which require immediate medical attention:


  • Breathing difficulty

  • Facial swelling

  • Acne

  • White patches in the mouth, nose or throat

  • Irregular menstruation

Children who use budesonide may also exhibit behavioral changes such as aggression in rare cases.

Comparison

Budesonide side effects generally compare favorably with those of other corticosteroids. It has a lower rate of systemic side effects that affect the whole body and does not have the strong association with bone density loss that prednisolone does. Unlike budesonide, other corticosteroids reduce the synthesis of hormones in the adrenal cortex, hypothalamus and pituitary gland. This property means that patients do not have to taper off budesonide as they do with other corticosteroids.

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