Skip to Content

Budesonide Side Effects

In Summary

Commonly reported side effects of budesonide include: acne vulgaris, moon face, and bruise. Other side effects include: hirsutism, ankle edema, weakness, arthralgia, nausea, and rhinitis. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to budesonide: oral capsule delayed release, oral capsule extended release, oral tablet extended release

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by budesonide. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Severity: Major

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking budesonide:

More common:
  • Bruising easily
  • chills
  • colds
  • cough or hoarseness
  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
Less common:
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • bladder pain
  • bleeding after defecation
  • bloody or cloudy urine
  • blurred vision
  • burning while urinating
  • burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings
  • chest pain
  • convulsions
  • cough producing mucus
  • decreased urine
  • diarrhea
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • difficult or painful urination
  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • eye pain
  • fast, irregular, pounding, or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • feeling of warmth
  • general feeling of discomfort or illness
  • headache
  • heartburn
  • increase in body movements
  • increased thirst
  • increased urge to urinate during the night
  • irregular heartbeat
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • mood changes
  • muscle aches and pains
  • nausea or vomiting
  • nervousness
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • pain or discomfort in the chest, upper stomach, or throat
  • pounding in the ears
  • rectal bleeding
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • runny nose
  • severe constipation
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • shivering
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • stomach cramps
  • sweating
  • swelling of the legs and feet
  • swelling or puffiness of the face
  • tightness in the chest
  • trouble sleeping
  • uncomfortable swelling around the anus
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • upper abdominal or stomach pain
  • waking to urinate at night
  • weight gain
  • weight loss
Incidence not known:
  • Bulging soft spot on the head of an infant
  • change in the ability to see colors, especially blue or yellow
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • hives
  • itching
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • skin rash

Severity: Minor

Some of the side effects that can occur with budesonide may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

More common:
  • Acid or sour stomach
  • belching
  • blemishes on the skin
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • pimples
  • rounded or moon face
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • stuffy nose
Less common:
  • Accumulation of pus
  • agitation
  • blistering, crusting, irritation, itching, or reddening of the skin
  • bloated or full feeling
  • change in hearing
  • changes in vision
  • cracked, dry, or scaly skin
  • cracks in the skin at the corners of mouth
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty with moving
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • ear drainage
  • earache or pain in the ear
  • excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • hair loss or thinning of the hair
  • increased appetite
  • increased hair growth, especially on the face
  • lack or loss of strength
  • loss of memory
  • muscle pains or stiffness
  • nervousness
  • pain, swelling, or redness in the joints
  • passing gas
  • pinpoint red or purple spots on the skin
  • pressure in the stomach
  • problems with memory
  • redness, swelling, or soreness of the tongue
  • sensation of spinning
  • skin rash
  • skin rash, encrusted, scaly, and oozing
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sleeplessness
  • soreness or redness around the fingernails and toenails
  • swelling of the abdominal or stomach area
  • swollen joints
  • unable to sleep
  • uterine bleeding between menstrual periods

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to budesonide: compounding powder, inhalation powder, inhalation suspension, oral capsule extended release, oral tablet extended release, rectal foam


Budesonide is generally well tolerated. Due to the nature of its administration (inhalation or enteric-coated capsules), it is not likely to cause the systemic adverse effects generally associated with the use of corticosteroids. General side effects of oral budesonide have included fatigue, flu-like disorder, viral infection, malaise, ear infection, fever, abscess, and pain .[Ref]


Respiratory side effects of inhaled budesonide have included dysphonia and sore throat. Cough, rhinitis, and sinusitis have also been reported. Respiratory side effects of oral enteric-coated budesonide have included respiratory infection, bronchitis, dyspnea, pharynx disorder, rhinitis, and sinusitis.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects have included suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The risk of adrenal suppression from inhaled or enteric-coated budesonide is less than that associated with systemic corticosteroids and may occur less frequently with lower daily doses.[Ref]


In 1993, the American Academy of Allergy and Immunology (AAAI) requested that the FDA review its decision regarding the relabeling of inhaled corticosteroids following concerns about the risk of their use during severe viral infections. The AAAI's request was based on the lack of data linking inhaled corticosteroids to increases in complications of viral infections.[Ref]

The danger of infection from immune suppression associated with inhaled corticosteroids has been debated. No conclusive evidence is available to support an increase in tuberculosis or viral infections in patients receiving inhaled budesonide. There are no data concerning immune suppression form oral enteric-coated budesonide.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects of inhaled budesonide have included oropharyngeal candidiasis, dry mouth, taste perversion, nausea, dyspepsia, and abdominal pain. Gastrointestinal side effects of oral enteric-coated budesonide have included nausea, diarrhea, dyspepsia, abdominal pain, flatulence, anus disorder, aggravation of Crohn's disease, enteritis, epigastric pain, gastrointestinal fistula, glossitis, hemorrhoids, intestinal obstruction, tongue edema, tooth disorder, and vomiting.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects of inhaled budesonide have included headache, asthenia, and pain. Nervous system side effects of oral enteric-coated budesonide have included headache, dizziness, hyperkinesia, paresthesia, tremor, vertigo, asthenia, and pain. Benign intracranial hypertension has been reported with oral budesonide.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects of inhaled budesonide have included rare reports of depression, aggression, irritability, anxiety, and psychosis. Psychiatric side effects of oral budesonide have included agitation, increased appetite, confusion, insomnia, nervousness, sleep disorder, amnesia, and somnolence.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects of inhaled budesonide have included immediate and delayed reactions including rash, contact dermatitis, urticaria, angioedema, and bronchospasm. Postmarketing experience has included very reports of cough, wheezing, or bronchospasm in patients with severe milk protein hypersensitivity. Anaphylactic reactions have been reported with oral budesonide.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects of inhaled budesonide have included a reduction in bone density. This effect may be dose-related and has been reported with high dosages and prolonged use (over 1 year). Musculoskeletal side effects of oral enteric-coated budesonide have included back pain and arthralgia.[Ref]


Cardiovascular side effects of oral budesonide have included chest pain, palpitations, tachycardia, dependent edema, face edema, hypertension, flushing, and increased C-reactive protein.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects of oral budesonide have included hypokalemia and weight increase.[Ref]


Hematologic side effects of oral budesonide have included leukocytosis and purpura.[Ref]


Ocular side effects of oral budesonide have included conjunctivitis, eye abnormality, and abnormal vision. Glaucoma and cataracts have also been reported.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects of oral budesonide have included dysuria, increased micturition frequency, nocturia, urinary tract infection, intermenstrual bleeding, and menstrual disorder.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects of oral budesonide have included acne, alopecia, dermatitis, eczema, increased sweating and skin disorder.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Entocort (budesonide)." AstraZeneca Pharma Inc, Mississauga, ON.

2. Agertoft L, Larsen FE, Pedersen S "Posterior subcapsular cataracts, bruises and hoarseness in children with asthma receiving long-term treatment with inhaled budesonide." Eur Resp J 12 (1998): 130-5

3. "Product Information. Pulmicort Turbuhaler (budesonide)." Astra USA, Westborough, MA.

4. Nikolaizik WH, Marchant JL, Preece MA, Warner JO "Nocturnal cortisol secretion in healthy adults before and after inhalation of budesonide." Am J Respir Crit Care Med 153 (1996): 97-101

5. Barnes PJ "Drug therapy: inhaled glucocorticoids for asthma." N Engl J Med 332 (1995): 868-75

6. Wales D, Makker H, Kane J, McDowell P, ODriscoll BR "Systemic bioavailability and potency of high-dose inhaled corticosteroids - A comparison of four inhaler devices and three drugs in healthy adult volunteers." Chest 115 (1999): 1278-84

7. Todd GRG, Wright D, Ryan M "Acute adrenal insufficiency in a patient with asthma after changing from fluticasone propionate to budesonide." J Allerg Clin Immunol 103 (1999): 956-7

8. Derom E, Schoor JV, Verhaeghe W, Vincken W, Pauwels R "Systemic effects of inhaled fluticasone propionate and budesonide in adult patients with asthma." Am J Respir Crit Care Med 160 (1999): 157-61

9. Garciaabujeta JL, Fernandez L, Maquiera E, Picans I, Rodriguez F, Jerez J "Contact allergy to budesonide in an oral spray." Contact Dermatitis 32 (1995): 253

10. Isaksson M, Bruze M, Matura M, Goossens A "Patch testing with low concentrations of budesonide detects contact allergy." Contact Dermatitis 37 (1997): 241-2

11. Wisniewski AF, Lewis SA, Green DJ, Maslanka W, Burrell H, Tattersfield AE "Cross sectional investigation of the effects of inhaled corticosteroids on bone density and bone metabolism in patients with asthma." Thorax 52 (1997): 853-60

Not all side effects for budesonide may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.