Q. I’ve been taking Symbicort for years and now my voice has been affected. Is there another medication in pill form that would be the same as Symbicort?
A. People with asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are frequently prescribed inhaled corticosteroids. These drugs include budesonide (in Pulmicort and Symbicort) or fluticasone (in Advair and Flovent).
Inhaling steroid-type medications can affect vocal cords. Hoarseness or laryngitis have been reported to affect anywhere from 5 to 58 percent of patients (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Sept. 2012).
This side effect has been underappreciated. Please discuss your concerns with a physician to see if there is a different way to control your breathing problems. Oral steroids (prednisone) pose other serious side effects and are not a desirable solution.