Information about Budesonide and Crohns Treatment
Budesonide is one of the glucocorticoid steroids, a class of steroids which takes its name from two facts: they play an important role in the body’s metabolism of glucose; and they are produced in the adrenal cortex. In addition to being naturally-occurring, this important substance is also available in a number of therapeutic preparations. Sold under various brand names, budesonide preparations have been approved for use in treating several health conditions.
These preparations are most frequently used to treat asthma and allergies with respiratory symptoms, such as hay fever. Nasal polyps (“nasal polyposis”) can be treated (and in some cases prevented) with budesonide. However, it is also used as a Crohns treatment. Crohn’s disease (also called “regional enteritis”) is one form of inflammatory bowel disease (“IBD”). In addition to being used as a Crohns treatment, a new budesonide preparation is being tested to determine its efficacy as a treatment for ulcerative colitis.
AstraZeneca sells budesonide preparations under various brand names. Rhinocort, which is called Rhinosol in Denmark, is AstraZeneca’s budesonide nasal inhalant. The company’s oral budesonide inhalant is sold as Pulmicort (called Budicort in Israel). Symbicort is an AstraZeneca inhalant which combines budesonide with formoterol. The same preparation is sold in Brazil by Eurofarma, under the name Noex.
Budesonide is marketed by Prometheus Laboratories as an enema or a time-release capsule, both of which are called Entocort. The same company also sells Entocort EC, which is an immediate-release budesonide capsule. Budesonide capsules are typically taken in one of two treatment courses: either 9 mg per day for a total of 2 months; or 6 mg per day for a total of 3 months.
Compared to other corticosteroids, the body metabolizes budesonide quickly. When used as a Crohns treatment, the substance is most effective in the ileum and right colon. Prednisolone is also a corticosteroid, but budesonide has a less severe effect on bone density. And, because it has very little impact on pituitary, hypothalamus and adrenal gland function, a patient does not need to gradually decrease the dosage before discontinuing budesonide.
Budesonide’s side effects are typically milder than those seen with similar medications. They can include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Sore throat
- Nasal irritation and/or nose bleeds
- Change in mucus color
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Muscle cramps
In rare cases, one or more of the following side effects can occur:
- Facial swelling
- Severe acne
- White areas in the oral cavity
- Respiratory difficulty
- Irregular menstruation
The occurrence of any of these side effects should be immediately reported to the patient’s physician. A very small number of children taking budesonide have exhibited behavioral changes.
Potential Drug Interactions and Contraindications
Several drug interactions are possible with budesonide, including interactions with the following medications:
Furthermore, budesonide may be contraindicated if you suffer from tuberculosis, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis or glaucoma. Before taking budesonide, patients must tell their physicians if they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Finally, patients taking budesonide must avoid being near anyone with measles or chicken pox – especially if they have not been immunized against those conditions.