Symbicort vs Qvar – Which Is The Best Asthma Inhaler?

Asthma is a serious condition described by narrowing of the airways leading to the lungs (including the nasal passageways, nose, larynx, and mouth) and difficulty breathing.

Worldwide, more than 300 million individuals suffer from this condition. More importantly, according to the WHO, asthma accounts for approximately 180,000 deaths per year, and it is the most frequent chronic disease among the world’s children.


Common symptoms may include:

  • chest tightness;
  • shortness of breath;
  • wheezing;
  • coughing.

Note – the severity of the symptoms varies among asthma sufferers and they may occur immediately following contact with a trigger, like – respiratory infections, air pollution, weather conditions, emotional stress, certain prescription and non-prescription medicines, and foods additives in food and drinks.

The following two medicines can be used by asthmatics:


It is the brand name of a combination medication of budesonide and formoterol fumarate dihydrate, which is used in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma.

Formoterol is part of a group of drugs called beta-2-agonists that open up the airways to help people breathe more easily. Budesonide is part of a group of drugs called corticosteroids which acts directly on the airways to reduce the inflammation levels.

This medicine is on the WHO’s List of Essential Medicines and it was first approved for medical use in the US in 2006.


It is used to treat the symptoms of COPD in adults aged 18 years and older. Also, it is used to treat asthma in adolescents aged 12 – 17 years and adults.


It comes in a metered-dose inhaler and should be administered as 2 inhalations two times per day (12 hours apart). After inhalation, the user should rinse the mouth with water without swallowing. Do not use it for longer than your healthcare professional recommends, plus, use only the prescribed dose.

Note – if you haven’t used this inhaler for more than 7 days or if you are using it the first time, shake it well for about 5 seconds.

Side Effects And Precautions Of Budesonide/Formoterol

Common side effects may include:

  • stuffy nose;
  • headaches;
  • upset stomach;
  • joint pain;
  • muscle pain;
  • diarrhea;
  • voice changes;
  • back pain;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea.

Rare side effects may include:

  • seizure;
  • uneven heartbeats;
  • nervousness;
  • easy bruising or bleeding;
  • chest pain;
  • unusual weakness;
  • tremors;
  • eye pain;
  • pounding heartbeats;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • flu symptoms;
  • throat irritation;
  • sores in the mouth or throat;
  • blurred vision;
  • breathing problems, especially after using this inhaler;
  • wheezing;
  • confusion;
  • anxiety;
  • buzzing in the ears;
  • a severe headache;
  • hypertension.

Moreover, it may interact with antifungal medication, antibiotics, antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, diuretics, or beta-blockers.


It is the brand name of a prescription medication (beclomethasone) used to treat asthma in children 5 years of age and older and adults.

This medicine works directly in the lungs to make breathing easier by considerably reducing the swelling and irritation of the airways. It belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids.

It is produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals (an Israeli multinational pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Petah Tikva, Israel), and it was first approved by the FDA in 2000.


It is usually prescribed as a maintenance asthma medication to help prevent asthma flare-ups. However, to be effective, it must be used by sufferers on a daily basis, even when they do not have asthma symptoms.

Note – it should not be used to relieve an asthma attack because it does not work immediately. Nevertheless, it may be used with other asthma drugs, like – bronchodilators, drugs which open up narrowed breathing passages.


It is prescribed in either a 40 mcg or an 80 mcg metered-dose inhaler. A visible improvement in pulmonary function is typically apparent within 7 to 30 days after initiation of treatment.

If this inhaler has not been used for 10 days or before using for the first time, you should prime this inhaler by actuating into the air two times.

Side Effects And Precautions of Beclomethasone

Common side effects may include:

  • hoarseness or deepened voice;
  • headaches;
  • a cough;
  • a sore throat;
  • sinus pain;
  • stuffy nose;
  • dryness in the nose, mouth, or throat, especially after use.

Call your healthcare provider at once if you experience:

  • muscle weakness;
  • weakness;
  • numbness;
  • tired feeling;
  • wheezing;
  • unexplained weight loss;
  • skin rash;
  • breathing problems, particularly after using this medication;
  • loss of appetite;
  • white patches on your lips or inside your mouth;
  • nausea;
  • worsening asthma symptoms;
  • seeing halos around lights;
  • blurred vision;
  • changes in the location of body fat, particularly in the legs, arms, neck, face, waist, and breasts.

Inhaled corticosteroids can sometimes cause a fungal infection in the mouth called oral thrush. To minimize the chances of this you should rinse your mouth with water or clean your teeth after inhaling each dose.

Symbicort vs Qvar – Which Is The Best Asthma Inhaler?

Symbicort is inhaled into the lungs for the treatment of COPD or asthma. However, it should be used only if your doctor decides that your asthma is not well controlled with a long-term asthma-control medicine, like an inhaled corticosteroid. More importantly, it is not recommended for children and adults who have sudden asthma symptoms.

Qvar inhaler belongs to the group of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, that help prevent asthma attacks by lowering the inflammation levels in the lungs. It will not treat an asthma attack that has already begun.

5 Natural Remedy Options for Asthma Treatment

#1 Evening Primrose Oil

It is high in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), an essential fatty acid, that is converted by the human body into anti-inflammatory substances. It is recommended to take 1g three times per day.

#2 Ginger

This spice is a well-known natural treatment for numerous problems, including asthma. According to studies, it can help inhibit airway contraction and reduce airway inflammation. In addition, it contains compounds that may improve the muscle relaxant effects of certain asthma medicines.

#3 Acupuncture

There is some anecdotal evidence that this form of alternative medicine can help improve breathing and reduce asthma attacks.

#4 Yoga, Tai Chi, Mindfulness Meditation

Emotional stress may trigger asthma symptoms. These relaxation methods can help people to control their asthma symptoms better.

#5 Foods High In Folate

Folate, also known as vitamin B9, reduces inflammation and allergic reactions. Foods rich in vitamin B9 include – red kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, soybeans, avocados, oranges, feijoa, papaya, pomegranates, or strawberries.

Images credit – Shutterstock & Getty

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