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Budesonide oral


Oral formulations of budesonide.

Drugs List

  • BUDENOFALK 9mg gastro-resistant granules
  • budesonide 3mg modified release capsules
  • budesonide 9mg gastro-resistant granules
  • budesonide 9mg modified release tablet
  • CORTIMENT 9mg prolonged release tablet
  • ENTOCORT CR 3mg modified release capsules
  • Therapeutic Indications


    Induction of remission:mild-moderate Crohn's disease (ileum &/or asc.colon)
    Microscopic colitis: Induction of remission
    Microscopic colitis: Maintenance of remission
    Ulcerative colitis: induction of remission



    Active Crohn's disease & Active Ulcerative colitis
    9mg once daily in the morning for up to 8 weeks.

    Induction of remission in Active Microscopic colitis
    9mg once daily in the morning.

    Maintenance of remission in Microscopic colitis
    6mg once daily in the morning, or the lowest effective dose.


    Mild to moderate Crohn's disease affecting the ileum and/or ascending colon
    Children aged 12 to 18 years (unlicensed)
    9mg once daily in the morning for up to 8 weeks. Reduce dose for the last 2 to 4 weeks of treatment.

    Patients with Hepatic Impairment

    In patients with severe liver function disorders, the elimination of glucocorticoids including budesonide capsules will be reduced, and their systemic bioavailability will be increased.

    Additional Dosage Information

    Budesonide treatment should not be stopped abruptly, but withdrawn gradually (tapering doses) for the last 2 to 4 weeks of therapy. Afterwards treatment can be stopped.


    Children under 12 years
    Uncontrolled systemic infection
    Hepatic cirrhosis

    Precautions and Warnings

    Children aged 12 to 18 years
    Family history of diabetes mellitus
    Family history of glaucoma
    Transfer from other steroid therapy
    Diabetes mellitus
    Glucose-galactose malabsorption syndrome
    Hepatic impairment
    Hereditary fructose intolerance
    History of steroid-induced psychosis
    Lactose intolerance
    Peptic ulcer
    Psychiatric disorder

    May mask symptoms or signs of infections
    Systemic corticosteroids may be needed during periods of stress
    Not all available brands are licensed for all indications
    Presentations with sorbitol unsuitable in hereditary fructose intolerance
    Some formulations contain lactose
    Some formulations contain sucrose
    Some products may contain soya or soya derivative
    Clinical presentations of infections may be atypical
    If visual disturbances occur, perform ophthalmic evaluation
    Antibody response to vaccines may be reduced
    Patient should report worrying psychological changes esp. suicidal thoughts
    May affect results of some laboratory tests
    Avoid abrupt withdrawal
    Withdraw gradually after long-term use
    Advise patient not to take St John's wort concurrently
    Advise patient grapefruit products may increase plasma level
    Advise patient to avoid exposure to measles
    Advise those on systemic corticosteroids to avoid chickenpox/H zoster

    Treatment with budesonide results in lower systemic steroid levels than conventional oral steroid therapy.
    Transfer from other steroid therapy with higher systemic effect, may cause adrenocortical suppression. Monitoring of adrenocortical function should be considered and the dose of systemic glucocorticosteroid should be reduced cautiously.
    Replacement of systemic glucocorticosteroid treatment with higher systemic effect with budesonide, sometimes unmasks allergies such as rhinitis and eczema which were previously controlled by the systemic drug.

    Systemic effects of corticosteroids such as Cushing's syndrome, adrenal suppression, growth retardation, decreased bone mineral density, cataract, glaucoma and very rarely a wide range of psychiatric/behavioural effects may occur, particularly when prescribed at high doses and for prolonged periods.

    Suppression of the inflammatory response and immune function increases the susceptibility to infections and their severity. Deterioration of bacterial, fungal, amoebic and viral infections during glucocorticoid treatment should be carefully considered. Serious infection (such as septicaemia and tuberculosis) may be masked and reach an advanced stage before they are recognised.

    Chickenpox may be fatal in immunocompromised patients. If exposed the patient should seek urgent medical advice. If the patient is a child, parents must be given the above advice. Passive immunisation with varicella zoster immunoglobulin is needed by exposed non-immune patients who are receiving systemic corticosteroids or who have used them within the previous 3 months; this should be given within 10 days of exposure to chicken pox. If a diagnosis of chicken pox is confirmed, the illness warrants specialist care and urgent treatment. Corticosteroids should not be stopped and the dose may need to be increased.

    Patients with compromised immunity who have come into contact with measles should, wherever possible, receive normal immunoglobulin as soon as possible after exposure.

    Corticosteroids may cause suppression of the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA axis) and reduce the stress response. Where patients are subject to surgery or other stresses, supplementary systemic glucocorticoid treatment is recommended.

    Some patients may feel unwell during the withdrawal phase e.g. pain in muscles and joints. If in rare cases, symptoms such as tiredness, headache, nausea and vomiting occur then a temporary increase in the dose of systemic glucocorticosteroids is sometimes necessary.

    Administration of budesonide can lead to positive results in doping tests.

    Pregnancy and Lactation


    Budesonide should be used with caution in pregnancy. Administration during pregnancy should be prescribed only when the expected benefits to mother and child outweigh the risks.

    It is unknown whether budesonide crosses the human placenta. The low molecular weight (about 431) and high lipid solubility predict substantial placental transfer.
    Administration of corticosteroids to pregnant animals may cause abnormalities of foetal development, including intra-uterine growth retardation and skeletal anomalies.

    Hypoadrenalism may, in theory, occur in the neonate following prenatal exposure to corticosteroids but usually resolves spontaneously following birth.

    The use of all medication in pregnancy should be avoided whenever possible; particularly in the first trimester. Non-drug treatments should also be considered. When essential, a medication with the best safety record over time should be chosen, employing the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time. Polypharmacy should be avoided. Teratogens taken in the pre-embryonic period, often quoted as lasting until 14 to 17 days post-conception, are believed to have an all-or-nothing effect. Where drugs have a short half-life, and when the date of conception is certain, this may allow women to be reassured where drug exposure has occurred within this time frame. Further advice may be available from the UK National Teratology Information Service (NTIS) and through ToxBase, available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).


    Budesonide should be used with caution in breastfeeding. Budesonide given at the clinically recommended dose is unlikely to cause systemic effects in the infant.

    Budesonide is excreted into breast milk. The low molecular weight (about 431) and the high lipid solubility predict substantial excretion of systemic budesonide into milk. However, when taken by mouth, budesonide is only about 9% bioavailable; bioavailability in the infant is likely to be similarly low for any budesonide that enters the breast milk.

    Neonates, infants born prematurely, those with low birth weight, those with an unstable gastrointestinal function or who have serious illnesses may require special consideration. For any infant, if a drug is prescribed to the nursing mother, it should be at the lowest practical dose and for the shortest time. When drug administration is unavoidable and breastfeeding is to continue, minimisation of exposure of the infant to the drug may sometimes be achieved by timing the maternal doses to just after a feeding episode. Infants exposed to drugs via breast milk should be monitored for unusual signs or symptoms. Interactions between the drug received by the infant from the mother's milk and medication prescribed for the infant should also be considered, for example, when the drug given to the infant may prevent metabolism of the drug received via breast milk.
    Specialist advice is available from the UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service at


    Swallow whole with water. Do not chew.

    The granules should be taken about half an hour before breakfast.

    Side Effects

    Abdominal distension
    Adrenal cortex insufficiency
    Anaphylactic reaction
    Behavioural disturbances
    Blurred vision
    Bone necrosis
    Contact dermatitis
    Cushing's syndrome
    Decreased glucose tolerance
    Diabetes mellitus
    Duodenal ulcer
    Extremity pain
    Growth retardation (children)
    Immune disorder
    Increased excretion of potassium
    Increased I.C.P. with papilloedema in children (pseudotumour cerebri)
    Increased susceptibility to infection
    Menstrual disturbances
    Mood changes
    Moon face
    Muscle cramps
    Muscle pain
    Muscle weakness
    Oedema of legs
    Peripheral oedema
    Psychomotor hyperactivity
    Sodium retention
    Steroid acne
    Stomach pain
    Truncal obesity
    Upper abdominal pain
    Upper respiratory tract infection
    Visual disturbances
    Wound healing retarded

    Effects on Laboratory Tests

    ACTH stimulation test may show false results (lower values).


    It is strongly recommended that the UK National Poisons Information Service be consulted on cases of suspected or actual overdose where there is doubt over the degree of risk or about appropriate management.

    The following number will direct the caller to the relevant local centre (0844) 892 0111

    Information may be obtained if you have access to ToxBase the primary clinical toxicology database of the National Poisons Information Service. This is available via password on the internet ( ) or if this is unavailable at the backup site ( ).

    Further Information

    Last Full Review Date: March 2015.

    Reference Sources

    Drugs During Pregnancy and Lactation: Treatment Options and Risk Assessment, 2nd edition (2007) ed. Schaefer, C., Peters, P. and Miller, R. Elsevier, London.

    Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation: A Reference Guide to Fetal and Neonatal Risk, 9th edition (2011) ed. Briggs, G., Freeman, R. and Yaffe, S. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Cortiment 9mg, prolonged release tablets. Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Revised November 2020.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Entocort CR 3mg capsules. Tillotts Pharma UK Limited. Revised October 2019.

    Summary of Product Characteristics: Budenofalk 9mg gastro-resistant granules. Dr. Falk Pharma UK Ltd. Revised November 2021.

    NICE Evidence Services Available at: Last accessed: 20 September 2022

    US National Library of Medicine. Toxicology Data Network. Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed).
    Available at:
    Budesonide. Last revised: 01 April 2014
    Last accessed: 19 March 2015

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