Airsupra is a brand-name inhaler that’s prescribed for asthma in adults. Airsupra contains the active drugs albuterol (a short-acting beta-2 agonist) and budesonide (a corticosteroid).
Airsupra is an FDA-approved rescue inhaler* prescribed to treat and help prevent asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness. It reduces the risk of having a severe asthma attack or flare-up of asthma.
Airsupra comes as a metered-dose inhaler.
* A rescue inhaler quickly opens your airways to reduce shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness.
In 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Airsupra for use as needed to treat and help prevent asthma symptoms. It’s also the first rescue inhaler to be approved for reducing the risk of severe flare-ups of asthma.
Airsupra is also the first combination inhaler to be FDA-approved for use as a rescue inhaler. It contains a short-acting beta-2 agonist to relax and open the airways and a corticosteroid to reduce airway inflammation (swelling).
For information about the effectiveness of Airsupra, see the “Airsupra uses” section below.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
Drug forms and strengths
Airsupra comes as a metered-dose inhaler. Each puff from Airsupra delivers 90 micrograms (mcg) of albuterol and 90 mcg of budesonide.
Dosage for helping prevent or treat asthma symptoms
The recommended dosage for adults is two puffs taken when needed.
Do not take more than twelve puffs (six doses) in a 24-hour period.
Will I need to use this drug long term?
If your doctor determines that Airsupra is safe and effective for you, you can use it when needed for as long as you continue to have asthma.
Airsupra can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Airsupra. These lists do not include all possible side effects.
For more information about the possible side effects of Airsupra, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Airsupra, you can do so through MedWatch.
Mild side effects
Below is a partial list of mild side effects of Airsupra. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Airsupra’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects of Airsupra can include:
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days to a couple of weeks. However, if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* For more information about allergic reaction and Airsupra, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Airsupra aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:
- Paradoxical bronchospasm after taking a dose. Symptoms can include:
- shortness of breath
- Eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts. Symptoms can include:
- gradual loss of peripheral vision
- cloudy vision
- seeing haloes around lights
- Hypokalemia (low potassium level). Symptoms can include:
- muscle weakness, twitching, or cramps
- increased thirst
- Adrenal gland problems. Symptoms can include:
- tiredness, weakness, or fatigue
- Increased risk of infection. Symptoms of infection can include:
- aches and pains
- Decreased bone density, which may raise the risk of fractures.
- Increased heart rate or blood pressure.
- Severe allergic reaction.*
* For details about allergic reaction and Airsupra, see “Allergic reaction” below.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
- trouble breathing
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Airsupra, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Airsupra to treat certain conditions.
Airsupra for asthma
Airsupra is a rescue inhaler that quickly opens your airways. It also reduces inflammation (swelling) in your airways.
Asthma is a long-term condition that affects your airways and breathing. With asthma, you have inflammation (swelling) and narrowing in your airways. This can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and cough.
Certain triggers can make your symptoms suddenly get worse, which can cause difficulty breathing. This is called an asthma attack. An asthma attack can be mild, severe, or life threatening.
Several factors can trigger an asthma attack, and these may vary from person to person. Triggers can include allergens such as animal dander, irritants such as smoke, cold air, exercise, and emotional reactions.
Effectiveness for asthma
Airsupra is effective for relieving and helping prevent asthma symptoms. It’s also effective in helping prevent severe asthma attacks and flare-ups of asthma. To find out how the drug performed in clinical trials, see Airsupra’s prescribing information.
To learn more about asthma and its treatment, you can visit our asthma and allergies hub.
Airsupra and children
Airsupra is not FDA-approved for use in children under 18 years old. It’s not known if Airsupra is safe or effective for this age group.
Your doctor may prescribe Airsupra with other asthma treatments that you take regularly. These treatments help manage your asthma and help prevent asthma attacks. Examples include:
- corticosteroids, such as:
- ciclesonide (Alvesco)
- beclomethasone (Qvar)
- mometasone (Asmanex)
- fluticasone furoate (Arnuity Ellipta)
- fluticasone propionate (Flovent HFA)
- long-acting beta-2 agonists (LABAs), such as:
- tiotropium (Spiriva Respimat)
- salmeterol (Serevent)
- formoterol (Foradil, Perforomist)
- leukotriene modifiers, such as:
- montelukast (Singulair)
- zafirlukast (Accolate)
- zileuton (Zyflo)
- combination corticosteroids and LABAs such as:
- budesonide/formoterol (Symbicort)
- fluticasone/vilanterol (Breo Ellipta)
- fluticasone/salmeterol (Advair)
- mometasone/formoterol (Dulera)
* Rescue inhalers quickly open your airways and reduce shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness.
Airsupra can interact with several other medications.
Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe. Drug-condition interactions can also cause certain effects. For information about these interactions, see the “Airsupra precautions” section below.
Airsupra and other medications
Below is a list of medications that can interact with Airsupra. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Airsupra.
Before taking Airsupra, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Examples of medications that can interact with Airsupra include:
- Short-acting beta-2 agonists. Airsupra contains the short-acting beta-2 agonist albuterol. Taking it with other short-acting beta-2 agonists can raise the risk of side effects. Examples of these drugs include:
- levalbuterol (Xopenex)
- Beta-blockers. Beta-blockers are used for certain heart conditions, such as high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), and irregular heart rhythms. They can worsen asthma symptoms. They can also block the airway opening effect of Airsupra, making it less effective. Examples of beta-blockers include:
- atenolol (Tenormin)
- propranolol (Inderal LA, Innopran XL)
- Certain diuretics. Diuretics are used for high blood pressure and fluid buildup. Certain diuretics can cause hypokalemia (low potassium level). Airsupra can also cause hypokalemia. So you may have a raised risk of hypokalemia if you take Airsupra with a diuretic. Examples of these drugs include:
- hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide)
- furosemide (Lasix)
- bumetanide (Bumex)
- Certain antidepressants. Taking Airsupra with a tricyclic antidepressant or monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) antidepressant may raise your risk of heart-related side effects. Examples of these antidepressants include:
- nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- phenelzine (Nardil)
- CYP3A4 inhibitors. Drugs that are CYP3A4 inhibitors slow the action of an enzyme (type of protein) that helps your body break down certain drugs, including budesonide. (Budesonide is one of the active drugs in Airsupra).Taking Airsupra with a CYP3A4 inhibitor can cause budesonide to build up in your body. This can raise your risk of side effects. Examples of these drugs include:
- certain HIV drugs, such as ritonavir (Norvir) and atazanavir (Reyataz)
- Digoxin (Lanoxin). Taking Airsupra with digoxin may decrease the level of digoxin in your blood. Your doctor may monitor your digoxin level more often if you take Airsupra with digoxin.
Airsupra and herbs and supplements
There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Airsupra. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Airsupra.
Airsupra and foods
There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Airsupra. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Airsupra, talk with your doctor.
As with all medications, the cost of Airsupra can vary. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.
Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Airsupra. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
Before approving coverage for Airsupra, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.
If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Airsupra, contact your insurance company.
Financial and insurance assistance
If you need financial support to pay for Airsupra, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
Airsupra may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.
If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Airsupra, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.
If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.
Airsupra is not available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.
You should take Airsupra according to the instructions your doctor gives you.
Airsupra comes as a metered-dose inhaler. To take a dose from this type of inhaler, you press down the canister at the same time as breathing in through the mouthpiece. Your healthcare professional can teach you how to use the inhaler correctly. Instructions are also printed in the medication guide that comes with the inhaler.
After inhaling Airsupra, rinse your mouth with water and spit the water out. The medication contains a corticosteroid that can sometimes cause oral thrush (a yeast infection in your mouth). Rinsing your mouth after using the inhaler helps prevent this side effect.
When to use
You should use Airsupra when needed to help relieve asthma symptoms. These may include difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough. Airsupra is a rescue inhaler that quickly opens your airways to make breathing easier.
You can also use Airsupra when needed to help prevent asthma symptoms. Your doctor may recommend using it before exposure to factors that can trigger your asthma symptoms. For example, they may recommend taking a dose before exercise or before visiting someone with a pet that triggers your asthma. Talk with your doctor about factors that may trigger your asthma and when to use Airsupra.
You should use Airsupra only when needed. Do not take more than 6 doses (12 puffs) in 24 hours. You should not use Airsupra as a regular daily treatment.
See your doctor if you need to use Airsupra more than usual or if it doesn’t work as well to relieve your asthma symptoms. These can be signs that your asthma is getting worse, and you may need additional treatment.
Accessible labels and containers
If your prescription label is hard to read, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels that have large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy doesn’t have these options, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to direct you to one that does.
If you have trouble using Airsupra inhaler, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend tools that can make it simpler to use this type of inhaler.
What happens with asthma
With asthma, you have inflammation (swelling) in your airways. You also have tightening of the muscle in the walls of your airways. Both of these factors narrow your airways, which causes symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough. With an asthma attack, these symptoms suddenly get worse.
What Airsupra does
Airsupra contains two active drugs, albuterol and budesonide.
Albuterol is a type of drug called a short-acting beta-2 agonist. It’s a fast-acting bronchodilator that relaxes the muscles around your airways, allowing your airways to widen. This makes breathing easier and helps reduce asthma symptoms.
Budesonide is a type of drug called a corticosteroid. It reduces inflammation in your airways, which also makes breathing easier and helps reduce asthma symptoms.
The actions of both drugs also help prevent severe asthma attacks and flare-ups of asthma.
How long does it take to work?
Airsupra typically starts working within a few minutes of taking a dose.
Airsupra hasn’t been studied in people who are pregnant. However, inhaled budesonide and albuterol (the active drugs in Airsupra) have not been found to cause fetal harm when used during pregnancy.
It’s important that asthma is well-managed during pregnancy. If your asthma is poorly managed and you have asthma attacks during pregnancy, this carries risks for both you and the developing fetus. According to Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), these risks are higher than any possible risks of asthma medications.
If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about how best to manage your asthma during pregnancy.
If you take Airsupra during pregnancy, consider enrolling with the Pregnancy Exposure Registry. This registry monitors the safety of asthma medications used during pregnancy. To learn more about this, visit the registry website, call 877-311-8972, or talk with your doctor.
It’s safe to take Airsupra during pregnancy if your asthma is well managed. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Airsupra.
For more information about taking Airsupra during pregnancy, see the “Airsupra and pregnancy” section above.
Airsupra hasn’t been studied in people who are breastfeeding. However, inhaled budesonide and albuterol (the active drugs in Airsupra) may pass into breast milk in small amounts. When inhaled, these medications haven’t been found to cause harmful effects in a breastfed child.
Doctors generally consider inhaled budesonide and inhaled albuterol safe to use while breastfeeding. However, if you’re breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about how best to manage your asthma.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Airsupra.
Can Airsupra cause long-term side effects?
Yes, Airsupra can cause some long-term side effects, but these are rare. Examples of possible long-term side effects include:
- eye problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts
- adrenal gland problems
- decreased bone density
- increased risk of infections
These side effects are related to the corticosteroid component of Airsupra. Budesonide (one of the active ingredients in Airsupra) is a type of corticosteroid.
If you’re concerned about the possible risk of long-term side effects with Airsupra, talk with your doctor.
Will Airsupra cure my asthma?
No, Airsupra won’t cure your asthma. There’s currently no cure for asthma. However, Airsupra can help manage your asthma.
You can use Airsupra when needed to reduce asthma symptoms and help relieve or prevent an asthma attack. Using Airsupra when needed can also help prevent severe asthma attacks and flare-ups of asthma.
Talk with your doctor if you have any questions about Airsupra for asthma.
Is Airsupra safe for older adults?
Yes, Airsupra is safe for older adults. In clinical trials, side effects of Airsupra in older adults (ages 65 years and older) were similar to those reported in younger adults.
However, older adults may be more likely to have kidney or liver problems than younger adults. This may raise the risk of Airsupra side effects. Older adults are also more likely to have other conditions that can be made worse by Airsupra side effects. See the “Airsupra precautions” section below to find out more about these conditions.
If you have questions about Airsupra and older adults, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
This drug comes with several precautions. These are considered drug-condition interactions.
Before taking Airsupra, talk with your doctor about your health history. Airsupra may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Airsupra or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Airsupra. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.
- Heart disease or high blood pressure. Airsupra may cause an increase in blood pressure or heart rate. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, these side effects can worsen your condition. Your doctor may monitor your condition more closely while you’re using Airsupra.
- Kidney or liver problems. Your liver and kidneys help clear the active drugs in Airsupra from your body. If you have liver or kidney problems, these drugs can build up in your body, which may raise your risk of Airsupra side effects. Your doctor may monitor you more closely while you’re using Airsupra.
- Diabetes. Airsupra may increase your blood sugar level. If you have diabetes, your doctor may monitor your blood sugar more often while you’re using Airsupra.
- Seizure disorders. If you have a seizure disorder such as epilepsy, Airsupra can worsen your condition. If you have a seizure disorder, your doctor may monitor you more closely while you’re using this medication.
- Hypokalemia (low potassium level). Airsupra may lower your blood potassium level. If you already have hypokalemia (low potassium level), Airsupra may worsen your condition. Your doctor may monitor you more closely while you’re using Airsupra.
- Infections. Airsupra may weaken your immune system and raise your risk of infection. Talk with your doctor about infections you currently have or have had in the past, especially chickenpox, measles, shingles, and tuberculosis. Also talk with your doctor about whether you’re up to date with recommended vaccinations. Before prescribing Airsupra, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat any infections you may have. They may also recommend getting certain vaccines.
- Hyperthyroidism. Airsupra may increase your heart rate and blood pressure. If you have hyperthyroidism (high levels of thyroid hormones), these side effects can worsen your hyperthyroidism symptoms. Your doctor may monitor you more closely while you’re using Airsupra.
- Glaucoma or cataracts. If you have glaucoma or cataracts, using Airsupra may worsen your condition. Your doctor will likely recommend you get more regular eye health checks while using Airsupra.
- Osteoporosis. Airsupra may cause decreased bone density. If you have osteoporosis or risk factors for developing this condition, your doctor may monitor your bone health while you’re using Airsupra. Risk factors for osteoporosis include a family history of the condition, older age, menopause, smoking, and lack of physical activity.
- Pregnancy. Airsupra hasn’t been studied in people who are pregnant. But the benefits of using it for asthma during pregnancy are likely to outweigh any risks. For more information, see the “Airsupra and pregnancy” section above.
- Breastfeeding. The active drugs in Airsupra may pass into breast milk, but they’re not known to have harmful effects on a breastfed child. For more information, see the “Airsupra and breastfeeding” section above.
Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Airsupra, see the “Airsupra side effects” section above.
Using more than the recommended dosage of Airsupra can lead to harmful effects. Do not use more Airsupra than your doctor recommends. (For information on the recommended dosages of Airsupra, see the “Airsupra dosage” section above.)
Symptoms of an overdose can include:
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- high or low blood pressure
- muscle cramps
- dry mouth
- heart palpitations
- chest pain
What to do in case of overdose
If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
When you get Airsupra from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.
The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The
How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.
Airsupra should be stored at room temperature, away from heat and sunlight. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.
If you no longer need to take Airsupra and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.
This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.