Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Symbicort and Xopenex inhalers
    asthma1310 posted:
    Hi everyone! My boyfriend uses both Symbicort and Xopenex. I am trying to research stuff for him and I don't think he is taking these inhalers correctly. He also has an albuterol breathing machine. He is without insurance and does not see a regular doctor. Anyone out there taking these two medications together?
    coughy16 responded:
    Symbicort is a maintenance inhaler, a combination drug containing both an inhaled steroid and a bronchodialator. Maintenance inhalers are made to be taken consistently, usually twice a day, every day. Xopenex is a quick acting rescue medication, as is the albuterol in the breathing machine. Either the Xopenex or the Albuterol can be taken in conjunction with the Symbicort, but not xopenex & albuterol at the same time. Either xopenex or albuterol should be used for immediate relief if he is having asthma problems. If he has to use one of them more than a couple of times/week on a regular basis, this is a sign that his asthma is not well controlled and he should contact his doctor. As far as whether he should take the xopenex vs the albuterol in the nebulizer, it is up to him, but the nebulizer can be time consuming and inconvenient. For me, I normally use the inhaler, and keep the nebulizer for times when I am too sick to properly use the inhaler. Hope this helps a little!
    amcate responded:
    The only thing I would add to what coughy already said is that sometimes if a rescue medicine does not rescue, you have to repeat it. Normally I'll get a peak flow (if possible), then take the rescue medicine, then reget a peak flow 20 minutes later. If there is no improvement, then you have to redo the rescue medicine. In my case, the inhaler will sometimes fail to reverse an attack, and so I'll have to use the nebulizer as a backup (I'm assuming that is the breathing machine you speak of).
    COPD_Life responded:
    My doctor prescribed me Xopenex HFA and Symbicort 160/4.5 inhalers together to control COPD symptoms after burn pit exposure in Iraq. I use the Symbicort every 12 hours and the Xopenex about every 4 hours or more to control sudden spasms. There has only been one or two times when I had to go to the hospital for Albuteral treatment when the Xopenex wasn't doing the job. The pulmonoligist said it is ok to use the albuterol treatments in addition to Xopenex IF NEEDED. but they shouldn't be used together regularly since they are basically the same medication and overdose is possible.
    Symbicort should never be used more than twice a day because it is a long acting medication and not intended as a rescue inhaler. I use the Xopenex a few minutes before the Symbicort every day to make sure it gets deep into the lungs and can work better. I hope this helps!

    Helpful Tips

    Inhaler UseExpert
    For those who use daily inhaled steroids (controller medication) make sure to rinse out your mouth with water or brush your teeth after ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    56 of 149 found this helpful

    Helpful Resources

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Asthma and Allergies Center