Dulera and Symbicort are two fairly new prescription medications used in the treatment of asthma and/or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
Manufactured by Merck, Dulera received FDA approval for use in the United States in 2010 as an alternative medication for treatment in patients whose asthma cannot be controlled by other medications. Dulera contains a corticosteroid, mometasone furoate, and a long-lasting beta-agonist called formoterol fumarate. Inhaled corticosteroids help to decrease inflammation of the lungs that cause difficulty breathing. Long-lasting beta-agonists, or LABAs, help relax the muscles surrounding the airways to prevent wheezing and shortness of breath. This medication is prescribed for asthmatics over the age of 12 but is not to be used as a rescue inhaler or bronchodilator. The standard procedure of use is 2 puffs of the inhaler in the morning and 2 puffs in the evening.
Before taking Dulera, you should inform your doctor of any other medical conditions you may have, including heart problems, diabetes, liver disease, osteoporosis and glaucoma, along with any other medications you are taking. Dulera must not be taken along with any other beta-agonists.
Moderate side effects include fatigue, fever, headache, sinusitis, and thrush (a yeast infection in the mouth caused by steroid use). Serious side effects, such as severe rash, hives, swelling of the tongue and mouth and worsening breathing problems should be reported to your physician and may require emergency treatment.
Symbicort is produced by Astra Zeneca and received FDA approval in 2006 to treat both asthma and COPD patients. The active ingredients in Symbicort are budesonide, a steroid that reduces inflammation in the body, and the long-lasting beta-agonist formoterol fumarate to relax the muscles of the lungs. Symbicort is prescribed for patients whose asthma cannot be controlled by other asthma medications. However, once the asthma has been brought under control, it is recommended for doctors to discontinue this treatment and return their patient to a standard asthma medication. More often, Symbicort is used as a bronchodilator in the treatment of COPD in metered doses of 2 puffs twice each day. As with Dulera, Symbicort is not intended as a rescue inhaler and must be taken according to directions.
This medication cannot be used with any other bronchodilator, such as Advair or Serevent. Prescription medications, including antibiotics, antifungals, antidepressants and MAO inhibitors, may interact and change the effects of Symbicort.
Because this drug contains a steroid which lowers the immune system, use of Symbicort may cause an increase in chances of contracting pneumonia and other upper respiratory infections. Other side effects include an increase in blood pressure or heart rate, fever, chills, or worsening breathing problems. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience rash, hives, swelling of the mouth or tongue, numbness of the arms or legs, or flu-like symptoms.
In summary, both Dulera and Symbicort contain a corticosteroid and the LABA formoterol fumarate. The main difference between the two is that Dulera is used for asthma, while Symbicort may be used for both asthma and COPD patients.