Red and White Inhaler, What It Does, How and When To Use It

Posted September 2, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

The different colors of inhalers can be confusing for many inhaler users. Questions that are often asked include, what do the colors mean, which is right for me, and when do I use each inhaler.

So, in this article, we will cover everything regarding the red and white inhaler. Here’s a quick summary first, then we’ll dive into everything you need to know about the red and white inhaler.

What is a Red and White Inhaler? This is a combination inhaler for controlling, maintaining, and relieving asthma symptoms and asthma attacks. It contains two medications – budesonide and formoterol. The red and white inhaler is associated with the brand name medication, Symbicort.

Now that you have a brief understanding of what a red and white inhaler is let’s get into more of the details.

What is a Red and White Inhaler? 

Red and White Inhaler

A red and white inhaler is used for treating asthma symptoms and preventing asthma attacks. Symbicort is the brand name of the red and white inhaler.

The red and white inhaler is considered a controller inhaler and must not be used to replace a rescue inhaler.  

Alongside this, the red and white inhaler is also used for maintenance treatment of moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

The way the inhaler should be used will depend upon the condition you are contending with, as well as your doctor’s specific instructions. Your doctor will also prescribe appropriate doses for the red and white inhaler.

This complexity and multiple performances are possible with red and white inhalers because they’re combination inhalers. A combination inhaler means the inhaler has two medications that work in parallel to treat different conditions.

Note – Depending on your medical condition, your doctor can also prescribe the red and white inhaler for conditions that are not discussed above.

So, if you’re unsure as to why you’re using the red and white inhaler and you haven’t discussed it with a qualified practitioner, then speak to your doctor about what conditions you should be using this for and what it’s treating.

If you are using the red and white inhaler already, then do not stop using this medication without getting your doctor’s consent that it’s ok to do so. Most importantly, do not give this inhaler to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do.

What’s In a Red and White Inhaler?

As a type of combination inhaler, the red and white inhaler has two medications, which include budesonide and formoterol.

Budesonide belongs to a group of medications known as corticosteroids. This is an anti-inflammatory medicine that reduces swelling in the airways of the lungs. This helps in reducing the triggers of asthma conditions, thus preventing symptoms.

Formoterol belongs to the group of medications known as bronchodilators. What this medication does is relax the muscles around the airways, which helps in opening up constricted airways, thereby, making it easier to breathe.

How to Use the Red and White Inhaler 

Red and White Inhaler

As an inhaler, the medication in the device should be inhaled into the lungs through the mouth.

So, it is recommended that you administered 2 puffs in the morning and 2 puffs in the evening. You should never exceed 4 puffs in one day and do not use it more than twice in one day.

The medication in the inhaler should last you about 30 days if you are using it correctly. There is an actuation counter on the inhaler that allows you to count and keep track of your doses.

Before using your inhaler, always read the instructions that come with it.

Preparing Your Red and White Inhaler

If you are using your inhaler for the first time, then you will need to prime the inhaler. You can prime the inhaler by following the steps below.

  • Hold the inhaler in the upright position
  • Shake it for five seconds
  • Remove the mouthpiece cover. You can do this by squeezing each side of the cover and pulling out.
  • Hold the inhaler facing away from you and firmly press the top of the counter. This will release a test spay.
  • Shake the inhaler again for about five seconds and perform another test spray.

If you have not used your inhaler within the last week or if you dropped the inhaler, then you should prime it again.

Using Your Red and White Inhaler

When using your inhaler, it is crucial that you use it properly to ensure you are getting the full dose you need.

So, before administering the medication, shake the inhaler for about five seconds. Remove the mouthpiece cover and ensure that there is no foreign object in or around the mouthpiece.

Before inhaling the puffs, fully exhale. Hold the inhaler up to your mouth, placing the white mouthpiece in your mouth. It is important that you keep the inhaler upright with the opening of the mouthpiece pointed towards the back of your throat. Make sure that your lips are closed completely around the mouthpiece to prevent any medication from escaping.

Next, take a slow but deep breath in while pressing down the counter. Make sure that the top of the counter is pressed down firmly and completely to release the full dose.

Continue to breathe in and hold your breath for approximately 10 seconds. Before you exhale, release the top of the counter. Keep the inhaler upright as you remove it from your mouth. Shake the inhaler again for five seconds and repeat the process for a second puff.

It is important to note that this is the general recommended advice. Always follow your doctor’s instructions first and foremost, as they are able to monitor your condition and treat you accordingly.


We hope this has provided you a helpful guide on red and white inhalers, their uses, doses, and more. Always consult your doctor before embarking on any new medications or making changes to existing ones.

If you are having trouble affording your medication, then contact us. Prescription Hope works with pharmaceutical manufacturers to help you receive your medication at a set, affordable cost.

Enroll with us to find out if you are eligible to receive your prescription medications for $50 a month for each medication.