Budesonide: What It Is And How It Works

The action of budesonide – in terms of compatibility with glucocorticosteroid receptors – is about 15 times higher than that of prednisolone, one of the first corticosteroids discovered.
Budesonide: what it is and how it works

Budesonide is a glucocorticoid drug belonging to the corticosteroid family. It is commercially available in different formats, each suitable for different pathologies. We can therefore buy it in the form of:

  • Spray: indicated for the long-term treatment of asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
  • Tablets : administered in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, in Crohn’s disease, in case of ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis.
  • Nasal wash: this administration is indicated in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and nasal polyps.
  • Rectal ampoule : used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, in Crohn’s disease, in case of ulcerative colitis and microscopic colitis.

A little history of budesonide

Clinical studies and budesonide.

The patent for this drug was issued in 1973 and its commercialization as a drug for the treatment of asthma began in 1981. Since its patent has expired, we can currently find it as a generic drug or under the brand name.

The WHO (World Health Organization) has included it in the list of essential drugs. This list brings together a number of drugs that all primary health care systems should have.

How does budesonide affect the body?

Budesonide is a glucocorticoid and as such has a particularly potent local anti-inflammatory effect.

Glucocorticoids are a family of drugs that produce various effects on the body, including anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive or metabolic.

Need for further study

The exact mechanism of action by which this drug exerts its effects in the treatment of rhinitis has not been thoroughly investigated. Several mechanisms are thought to be involved, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory effect.
  • Inhibition of the release of anti-inflammatory mediators.
  • Inhibition of the immune response.

On the other hand, the action of budesonide – in terms of compatibility with glucocorticosteroid receptors – is approximately 15 times higher than that of prednisolone, one of the first corticosteroids discovered.

It has a powerful local anti-inflammatory effect, since it reduces the synthesis of inflammatory mediators and the microvascular extravasation of the respiratory tract. It also inhibits the influx of inflammatory cells to the lungs following exposure to the allergen.

Side effects

Different drugs on the counter.

Like all other drugs, budesonide can cause a number of side effects to be aware of. Since it can be administered in different ways, let’s see the different side effects associated with inhalation and nebulization administration.

Inhalation route

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

  • Respiratory disorders: among these, a slight irritation of the throat, cough and hoarseness. The risk of paradoxical bronchospasm, with increased dyspnoea, has been reported in some cases. In this case it will be necessary to stop the treatment and administer a beta-2-adrenergic drug to restore the situation.
  • Infections and infestations: this is the case in the treatment of the clinical picture of candidiasis of the oropharyngeal cavity.
  • Psychiatric disorders: some reactions include nervousness, restlessness and depression, behavioral changes in children.
  • Alterations of the immune system: exanthematous eruptions, urticaria, contact dermatitis, angioedema and bronchial spasm.
  • Skin and subcutaneous tissue alterations : these are rare reactions, but they can occur. An example is skin hematomas.

Budesonide for nebulization

Medicines for asthma.

When the drug is administered via an aerosol mask the patient may suffer from facial skin irritation. However, this injury can be improved by washing the face after using the mask.

In other cases, although rare, adverse manifestations may arise as a result of the systemic action of this drug.

Concluding remarks

Budesonide is a glucocorticoid drug with a powerful anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive action. Based on the method of administration, it is indicated for various pathologies. Side effects may also vary.

Like other corticosteroids, the discontinuation of prolonged treatment with bidesonide must be gradual in this case too. Abruptly discontinuing administration can have serious health consequences.

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