Pulmicort (budesonide) is a prescription brand-name medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it to treat asthma in adults and certain children.

Pulmicort comes in the following forms, both of which are inhaled (breathed into your lungs):

  • Pulmicort Flexhaler, which is prescribed for adults as well as children ages 6 years and older
  • Pulmicort Respules, which is prescribed for children ages 12 months to 8 years old

The active drug in Pulmicort is budesonide. This drug belongs to a class of medications called corticosteroids. (A medication class is a group of drugs that work in a similar way.) Currently Pulmicort is available only as a brand-name drug, not as a generic.

For information on the dosage of Pulmicort, including its forms, strengths, and how to take the drug, keep reading. For a comprehensive look at Pulmicort, see this article.

This article describes typical dosages for Pulmicort provided by the drug’s manufacturer. When taking Pulmicort, always follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

Pulmicort forms

Pulmicort comes in two forms, both of which you take by inhalation (breathing the drug into your lungs):

  • Pulmicort Flexhaler. This comes as a dry powder that you inhale with the Flexhaler inhaler.
  • Pulmicort Respules. This is a liquid that comes inside of small plastic containers. You’ll take doses using a nebulizer, which is a device that turns the liquid to a mist that you inhale.

Pulmicort strengths

Pulmicort Flexhaler comes in two strengths:

  • 90 micrograms (mcg) per puff
  • 180 mcg per puff

Pulmicort Respules come in three strengths:

  • 0.25 milligrams per 2 milliliters (mg/mL)
  • 0.5 mg/2 mL
  • 1 mg/2 mL

Typical Pulmicort Flexhaler dosages

Below are typical Pulmicort Flexhaler dosages for adults and certain children.

Dosage for asthma in adults

The recommended starting dosage of Pulmicort Flexhaler for asthma in adults is 360 mcg (2 puffs of the 180-mcg strength) twice per day. This may be taken as 2 puffs of the 180-mcg strength twice per day.

Sometimes your doctor may start your treatment with a lower dosage of 180 mcg twice per day.

The maximum dosage for adults is 720 mcg twice per day.

Dosage for asthma in children

Pulmicort Flexhaler can be used in children ages 6 to 17 years old. The recommended starting dosage for asthma in children is either:

  • 180 mcg twice per day, or
  • 360 mcg twice per day, which is also the maximum Pulmicort Flexhaler dosage for children

Typical Pulmicort Respules dosages

Pulmicort Respules can be used in children ages 12 months to 8 years. The recommended pediatric dosage of Pulmicort Respules may be 0.5 mg once per day, 0.25 mg twice per day, or higher. Your child’s dosage may depend on any other asthma treatments your child currently uses or has tried in the past.

The maximum dosage of Pulmicort Respules is 0.5 mg twice daily (1 mg total per day).

Long-term use

Pulmicort is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Pulmicort is safe and effective for you (or for your child), you’ll likely use the drug long term.

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about Pulmicort.

Can Pulmicort be used in infants?

No, Pulmicort cannot be used in neonates or infants (children younger than 12 months old). The drug hasn’t been studied in this age group. But Pulmicort Respules can be used in children who are 12 months to 2 years old.

If you have more questions about Pulmicort’s use in children, talk with your child’s doctor or a pharmacist.

Is Pulmicort used to treat COPD? If so, what’s its dosage?

Although Pulmicort isn’t approved for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) treatment, it may be prescribed off-label to treat this condition. “Off-label” use means using a drug for a purpose it hasn’t been approved for by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Pulmicort dosage for COPD would likely be similar to the dosage for treatment of asthma. But this depends on what your doctor thinks would be the most effective dosage for treatment of your condition.

If you have questions about Pulmicort’s use for COPD treatment, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Can Pulmicort be used for eosinophilic esophagitis treatment? If so, what’s its dosage?

Pulmicort isn’t approved to treat eosinophilic esophagitis, but it may be used off-label to treat this condition. The Pulmicort dosage for eosinophilic esophagitis would likely be similar to the dose for asthma, depending on what your doctor thinks would be most effective for you.

If you have questions about using Pulmicort to treat eosinophilic esophagitis, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

The Pulmicort dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the severity of the condition you’re using Pulmicort to treat
  • which form of Pulmicort you use
  • your age
  • any other current or past asthma treatments (for children using Pulmicort Respules)

Other medical conditions you have can also affect your Pulmicort dosage.

Make sure to take Pulmicort according to the instructions your doctor or healthcare professional gives you.

How to use Pulmicort Flexhaler

Pulmicort Flexhaler comes as a dry powder. You’ll inhale (breathe in) puffs of the powder from the Flexhaler inhaler. To use the Flexhaler, you’ll first load your dose by twisting the base of the inhaler. You’ll then take a forceful, deep breath through the inhaler’s mouthpiece to inhale your dose.

Typically, Pulmicort Flexhaler is taken twice per day: once in the morning and once in the evening. Your doctor will tell you how many puffs to take with each dose.

Your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to use Pulmicort Flexhaler correctly. There are also detailed use instructions, including video instructions, available on the manufacturer’s website.

How to use Pulmicort Respules

Pulmicort Respules come as a liquid solution inside of small plastic containers. You’ll use a nebulizer to inhale your dose. A nebulizer is a device that turns the liquid into a mist.

Your doctor or pharmacist will show you how to use Pulmicort Respules correctly. You should also talk with them to make sure that you have a nebulizer that works with this form of the drug. There are detailed use instructions, including video instructions, on the manufacturer’s website.

If you miss a dose of Pulmicort, skip the dose and take your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use more puffs or take a dose more often than your doctor has prescribed.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or timer on your phone or downloading a reminder app. A kitchen timer can work, too.

It’s important that you don’t use more Pulmicort than your doctor has prescribed for you.

Using more than your prescribed dose of Pulmicort once, or for short periods of time, usually doesn’t cause any side effects. But if you use more Pulmicort than your doctor prescribes over a long period of time, you may develop serious side effects.

Symptoms of an overdose

Symptoms caused by using too much Pulmicort over long periods of time can include:

If you take more than the recommended amount of Pulmicort

Call your doctor right away if you believe you’ve taken too much of Pulmicort. Another option is to call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. If you have severe symptoms, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

The dosages in this article are typical dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Pulmicort for you, they will prescribe the dosage that’s right for you. Always follow the dosage that your doctor prescribes for you.

As with any drug, never change your dosage of Pulmicort without your doctor’s recommendation. If you have questions about the dosage of Pulmicort that’s right for you, talk with your doctor.

Besides learning about dosage, you may want other information about Pulmicort. These additional articles might be helpful to you:

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.