Singulair vs Symbicort, Ease of Use, Dosage, Side Effects, Costs

Posted January 6, 2020 by Michael Chamberlain - See Editorial Guidelines

It’s not always obvious which asthma medication has a greater effect, or which is right for your needs. This is where you might want to compare Singulair vs Symbicort.

singulair vs symbicort

So, in this article we’re going to give you an in-depth guide, all you need to know about both, Singulair and Symbicort with comparisons, applications, side effects, costs, and coupons.

But first of all, we’re going to offer a quick answer to takeaway, then we’ll get into some more detail.

Singulair vs Symbicort? Both Singulair and Symbicort are used mainly for treating asthma. Singulair also treats seasonal and year-round allergies, exercise-induced asthma and chronic hives. Symbicort also treats COPD. Singulair contains only montelukast, whereas Symbicort contains both budesonide and formoterol.

What Is Singulair?

Montelukast – known by the brand name Singulair is a medication used for the treatment of asthma, asthma attacks, seasonal allergies, year-round allergies, exercise-included asthma, and chronic hives.

This medication is also used for relieving symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis that includes sneezing, stuffy, runny, itchy or blocked nose.

Apart from these, Singulair is also used before exercise to help prevent breathing problems that come before or after exercise such as (Bronchospasm and exercise-induced asthma).

The active ingredient in Singulair is montelukast and belongs to a class of drugs called leukotriene receptor antagonists. And as you may know, asthma is caused by the narrowing of airways and tightening of muscles around those airways, making it harder to breathe.

So, the leukotriene receptor antagonists reduce inflammation and nasal congestion. This includes reducing swelling (inflammation) in the airways. 

So, what Singulair does is, keeps the airways open and broad, and helps prevent reactions in the form of inflammation that can trigger the airway to narrow. Singulair also blocks certain natural substances that can worsen asthma and related allergies. 

Singulair is prescribed for adults and children over 12 years. But sometimes doctors may prescribe it for children below 12 years and even infants. However, it’s important to remember that Singulair may not work right away.

This means that Singulair should not be used for treating sudden asthma attacks or other breathing problems. If you’re concerned about this then consult your doctor.

What Is Symbicort?

singulair vs symbicort

Symbicort is a medication used for controlling and preventing bronchospasm in people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Symbicort combines a steroid (Budesonide) and a long-acting bronchodilator (Formoterol) and performs as one medication. Symbicort medication is prescribed for adults and children of at least 6 years old.

As asthma is triggered by inflammation and tightening of the muscles around the airways, these two ingredients try to avoid or reduce such symptoms. Budesonide reduces the inflammation in the lungs (which includes the swelling of the throat), thereby preventing the tightening or narrowing of the airways.

Formoterol relaxes the muscles in the airways around the lungs. This will prevent asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. 

These symptoms mainly occur when the muscles around the airways tighten up, which makes it hard to breathe. So, when the muscles are relaxed it makes breathing much easier and less anxious.

Controlling such symptoms in asthma is very important since severe wheezing may stop your breathing and could potentially lead to death if not treated immediately. 

Are Singulair and Symbicort the Same Thing?

As both Singulair and Symbicort are used for asthma and related medical conditions, most of the approaches of these medications are the same.

However, they can’t be replaced with one another, since there are significant differences between these medications as well. 

Both Singulair and Symbicort are used for treating asthma. But Singulair can also be used for treating seasonal allergies, year-round allergies, exercise-included asthma, and chronic hives.

In contrast, to Singulair, Symbicort additionally is used for preventing bronchospasm in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Both Singulair and Symbicort belong to different classes of drugs. In fact, Singulair uses a single drug whereas Symbicort uses a combination of two drugs that work as one medication (Symbicort).

Side effects such as headache, stomach pain or upset, nausea, diarrhea, stuffy nose, and sore throat are common to both Singulair and Symbicort.

However, side effects such as skin rash, mood changes, tremors, heartburn, tooth pain, tiredness, fever, cough, and hoarseness are specific only to Singulair. Whereas side effects such as vomiting, back pain, muscle or joint pain, or changes in your voice are specific only to Symbicort. 

Apart from these, it’s important to remember that Symbicort is a medication that helps prevent or minimize the inflammation in the lungs. Whereas Singulair is s a leukotriene inhibitor that helps stop the chain reaction that leads to inflammation. But then both of these medications should be used regularly for them to be effective. And both of these medications can never be replaced or used as an alternative to one another. 

How to Take Singulair 

Singulair has three forms, those being pills, chewable tablets, and granules. So, according to these forms the dosage and how to take them do differ as follows. However, all are taken orally once daily (Best recommended to take at the same time every day).

  • 15 years or older and adults can take a 10 mg tablet orally once a day
  • 6-14 years can take a 5 mg chewable tablet orally once a day 
  • 2-5 years can take 4 mg chewable tablet or one sachet of granules once a day
  • 12-23 months can take one sachet of granules once a day

The granules can be mixed with food or liquid, especially when used for children and infants. 

Although Singulair is usually prescribed for children over 12 years and adults, some healthcare providers can prescribe for lower ages. But without a doctor’s approval children below the age of 12 should not take this medication for treating asthma and related medical conditions. 

How to Take Symbicort

Symbicort is taken as an inhaler as 4 puffs every day through the mouth. 2 puffs in the morning and 2 puffs in the evening about 12 hours apart. And if you miss a dose of Symbicort, then skip the dose and take the next one at the regular time.

As Symbicort is used for controlling asthma and COPD, you might have to take Symbicort only till your conditions are under control. Your health care provider will inform you when you should stop using this. 

After taking Symbicort, make sure you rinse your mouth out with water and spit it out. This will prevent any infections from developing in your throat and/or mouth. 

Singulair vs Symbicort – Side Effects

Common side effects of Singulair include:

  • Hoarseness
  • Cough 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Fever 
  • Headache 
  • Heartburn 
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea 
  • Skin rash 
  • Sore throat
  • Stomach pain 
  • Stuffy nose
  • Tiredness 
  • Tooth pain 
  • Tremors
  • Upset stomach

Common side effects of Symbicort include:

  • An itchy throat or irritation
  • An upset stomach
  • Back pain changes in your voice
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Stuffy nose 
  • Vomiting

Cost of Singulair vs Symbicort

The cost of Singulair oral granule is around $248 for a supply of 30 granules, Singulair oral pill 10 mg is around $247.85 for a supply of 30 tablets, and Singulair oral chewable tablet 4 mg is also around $247.85 for a supply of 30 tablets.

Whereas the cost for Symbicort inhalation aerosol (160/4.5 mcg) is around $256 for a supply of 6 grams. The costs may vary depending on the pharmacies. And this cost is only for cash paying customers and are not subject to insurance plans.

We offer extensive savings with coupons via our patient assistance programs. If you’re struggling to afford either of these medications then why not contact us, we can help.

Singulair Coupon

You can find a coupon for Singulair here

Symbicort Coupon

You can find your coupon for Symbicort here

Drug Interactions With Singulair and Symbicort

Singulair may interact with phenobarbital or rifampin. Whereas, Symbicort may interact with antibiotics, antifungal medication, MAO inhibitor, antidepressants, beta-blockers, or diuretics (water pills).

Note – Make sure you tell your healthcare provider about all the medications you’re currently taking as well as all your medical conditions, including if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s not known if these medications can pass or interact with breastfeeding, pregnancy and other medical conditions, so consult with a medical practitioner for advice in this area.

To Conclude

As always, this article is meant for guidance only. For a more in-depth consultation and to seek professional advice, refer to your relevant practitioner or your local doctor for further information relating to your individual condition or circumstances.

If you have any questions about how Prescription Hope can help you save money for any other drugs that we offer, or, if you’re having trouble affording any of the medications you’ve been prescribed, then contact us. Visit the enrollment page to create an account and fill out an application and let us save you money!