Budesonide: what it is and what its effects are

Budesonide is a glucocorticoid medication belonging to the family of corticosteroids. It is marketed under different forms of administration, each indicated for different pathologies.

In this sense, we can find budesonide in the market as:

  • Inhaler: indicated for long-term treatment of asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
  • Pill: Used for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis.
  • Nasal spray: This form of administration is indicated for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and nasal polyposis.
  • Rectal forms: used for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis.

A little history of budesonide

The patent for this medicine came out in 1973 and its commercialization began in 1981 as a medicine to treat asthma. As its patent has expired, today we can find it as generic or under trademarks.

The WHO (World Health Organization) included it in the list of essential medicines. This list includes a series of drugs that every basic health system should have.

How does budesonide exert its effect on the body?

Budesonide is, as we have said, a glucocorticoid and, as such, It has a very high local anti-inflammatory effect.

Glucocorticoids They are a family of drugs that trigger different effects in the body as anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive effects or changes in metabolism.

However, the exact mechanism of action by which this drug exerts its effect for the treatment of rhinitis is not fully studied. It is believed that several mechanisms are involved, among them:

On the other hand, the activity of budesonide, measured in the form of affinity to glucocorticosteroid receptors, is approximately 15 times greater than that of prednisolone, one of the first corticosteroids discovered.

As we mentioned, It has a high local anti-inflammatory effect by reducing the synthesis of inflammation mediators and microvascular extravasation in the airways. In addition, it inhibits the influx of inflammatory cells to the lung after allergenic exposure.

Also read: Zinc, a much needed mineral to strengthen the immune system

Adverse effects

Like all medicines, budesonide also It presents a series of adverse effects that must be taken into account. As the routes of administration may be different, we will see those adverse effects related to administration by inhalation and nebulization.

Inhalation route

When this drug is administered by inhalation, the following side effects may occur:

  • Respiratory disorders: Among them we find slight throat irritation, cough and hoarseness. A risk of paradoxical bronchospasm with increased wheezing has been described. In this case, the treatment should be interrupted and a beta-2-adrenergic drug administered to reverse the situation.
  • Infections and ingestion: as, for example, a clinical picture of candidiasis in the oropharyngeal cavity.
  • Psychiatric disorders: Some of the reactions are nervousness, restlessness and depression and behavioral disturbances in children.
  • Changes in the immune system: rash, hives, contact dermatitis, angioedema and bronchial spasm.
  • Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: They are rare reactions but that can occur. An example is cutaneous hematomas.

You may also be interested in reading: What to do in case of an emergency due to bronchial asthma crisis?


When this drug is given through a facial mask, the patient may suffer an irritation on the skin of the face. However, this lesion can be reversed by washing your face after the use of the mist mask.

On other occasions, which are usually minimal, adverse reactions such as consequence of the systemic effect of this drug.


Budesonide It is a glucocorticoid drug that has anti-inflammatory effects and potent immunosuppressants. Depending on the form of administration, it is indicated for different pathologies and, in addition, the adverse effects also vary.

As with other corticosteroids, the interruption of a long treatment with this medicine should be done gradually. Leaving stroke treatment can cause serious health consequences.