Anoro Ellipta vs Symbicort

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Patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma are often prescribed medication that helps manage their symptoms by reducing lung inflammation and opening the airways. Anoro ellipta and Symbicort are two such medications commonly used for these respiratory conditions. Each of them contains different active ingredients, but they both aim to improve breathing and reduce flare-ups in patients with COPD or asthma. Anoro Ellipta consists of a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA), umeclidinium, and a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA), vilanterol, which work together to relax and open up the airways. Symbicort, on the other hand, is a combination of budesonide—a corticosteroid that diminishes inflammation—and formoterol—a LABA that opens up the bronchioles—providing dual action for more effective symptom management.

What is Anoro Ellipta?

Anoro ellipta and Symbicort are both combination medications used in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. However, their components differ along with their modes of operation.

Anoro Ellipta was first approved by the FDA in 2013. It combines two long-acting bronchodilators: Umeclidinium, a muscarinic antagonist, which targets receptors that cause airway muscles to contract; and Vilanterol, a beta2-adrenergic agonist that relaxes these muscles. Anoro Ellipta works by opening up the airways for an extended period hence allowing improved breathing.

On the other hand, Symbicort contains Budesonide - a corticosteroid which reduces inflammation - and Formoterol - another long-acting beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist similar to Vilanterol but with slightly different properties. This medication not only opens up airways but also decreases inflammation within them thus making it more suitable for patients whose COPD or asthma is linked with significant inflammatory responses.

Both have been found effective although side effects may vary between individuals due to differences in drug composition.

What conditions is Anoro Ellipta approved to treat?

Anoro ellipta is approved for the long-term maintenance treatment of airflow obstruction in patients with:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema
  • It's also indicated to reduce exacerbations of COPD in patients who have a history of exacerbations.

Please note that Anoro Ellipta is not used to relieve sudden breathing problems and won't replace a rescue inhaler.

How does Anoro Ellipta help with these illnesses?

Anoro ellipta helps manage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by increasing the amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled from the lungs. It does this through two active ingredients, vilanterol and umeclidinium. Vilanterol is a long-acting bronchodilator which relaxes muscles in the airways to improve breathing, while umeclidinium blocks the activity of acetylcholine resulting to further relaxation and opening of the airways. These actions reduce shortness of breath and prevent COPD flare-ups.

On other hand, Symbicort works similarly but with an added anti-inflammatory effect due to its another component - budesonide. Budesonide decreases inflammation in the lungs which can lead to improved lung function.

While both medications are effective for controlling symptoms of COPD, they have different strengths and may be selected based on individual patient needs such as severity of condition or response to treatment.

What is Symbicort?

Symbicort is a brand name for the combination of budesonide and formoterol. Budesonide is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation, while formoterol is a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) bronchodilator, which means it relaxes the muscles in the airways to improve breathing. The FDA first approved Symbicort in 2006. Unlike Anoro ellipta, which contains two different kinds of bronchodilators but no anti-inflammatory component, Symbicort has both an anti-inflammatory element and a muscle-relaxing one. This dual action can make it more beneficial for individuals with certain types of respiratory conditions such as asthma or COPD where inflammation plays a significant role in exacerbating symptoms. Its side-effect profile may be slightly different from Anoro Ellipta due to this difference—most commonly reported are upper respiratory tract infection, throat irritation, and cough—but these effects are generally mild and manageable.

What conditions is Symbicort approved to treat?

Symbicort is a combination inhaler that's widely prescribed for the treatment of:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • Asthma in patients aged six years or older who are not adequately controlled on their current asthma medications.

How does Symbicort help with these illnesses?

Symbicort is a potent bronchodilator and anti-inflammatory medication that aids in managing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways to improve breathing and reducing inflammation in the lungs, which can prevent severe asthma attacks. Symbicort contains two active ingredients: budesonide, a corticosteroid that decreases inflammation; and formoterol, a long-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonist (LABA) that helps open up the airways in the lungs. This dual-action can make it more effective than medications such as Anoro ellipta which only contain LABAs or anticholinergics. Additionally, because of its corticosteroid component, Symbicort may be preferred when an individual has significant inflammatory symptoms or does not respond well to LABA-only medications like Anoro Ellipta.

How effective are both Anoro Ellipta and Symbicort?

Both Anoro ellipta and Symbicort are established treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and were initially approved by the FDA within a few years of each other. They act on different aspects of lung physiology, which may influence prescribing decisions based on patient-specific factors. The effectiveness of Anoro Ellipta and Symbicort in managing COPD symptoms was directly studied in comparative clinical trials; both drugs exhibited similar efficacy in improving lung function, symptom control, and quality of life.

A review conducted in 2014 revealed that Anoro Ellipta is effective at improving FEV1 (forced expiratory volume), reducing exacerbations starting from the first week of treatment, with its side effect profile being favorable over many other bronchodilators. It has become one of the widely prescribed respiratory medicines globally due to its once-daily dosing regimen contributing to improved medication adherence among patients.

On the other hand, a meta-analysis published in 2018 indicated that Symbicort seems more effective than placebo at preventing severe COPD exacerbations while also offering bronchodilation effects similar to other common combination inhalers. Nonetheless, significant research involves Symbicort co-prescribed alongside another class called LAMA (Long-Acting Muscarinic Antagonist), so data confirming its efficacy as a stand-alone treatment is less robust than that for Anoro Ellipta. Despite this fact, due to its unique dual-action pharmacology combining a corticosteroid and long-acting beta agonist (LABA), Symbicort may be an optimal choice for patients who did not respond well to LABAs alone or have frequent exacerbations requiring systemic steroids.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Anoro Ellipta typically prescribed?

Inhalation doses of Anoro ellipta are usually 1 inhalation/day, with each inhalation consisting of a combined dose of Umeclidinium 62.5 mcg and Vilanterol 25 mcg. Studies have shown that this dosage is effective in treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for most adults. For Symbicort, the usual initial dose for COPD patients is two puffs twice daily, with each puff containing Budesonide 160 mcg and Formoterol fumarate dihydrate 4.5mcg. The dosage can be adjusted after some time based on response and tolerance to the medication. However, exceeding four puffs per day should generally be avoided.

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At what dose is Symbicort typically prescribed?

Symbicort treatment typically begins with a dosage of two puffs twice daily, each puff containing either 80/4.5 mcg or 160/4.5 mcg of budesonide/formoterol (depending on the severity of your symptoms). This dose can be adjusted as needed but should not exceed four puffs twice daily. If you do not notice an improvement in your symptoms after one week, you may increase to a maximum dosage which is four puffs of either the 80/4.5 mcg or 160/4.5 mcg strength, taken twice daily and spaced approximately twelve hours apart. Always follow your doctor's instructions when adjusting dosages and consult them if there is no response to treatment at this maximum dose level after several weeks.

What are the most common side effects for Anoro Ellipta?

Common side effects of Anoro ellipta include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Cough
  • Bronchitis (inflammation in the bronchial tubes)
  • Headache
  • Oral thrush (yeast infection in the mouth)
  • Hoarseness or voice changes
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Pneumonia (lung infection)

Symbicort, on the other hand, may cause following common side effects:

  • Throat irritation
  • Sinusitis (inflammation of sinuses)
  • Flu-like symptoms such as body aches and fever
  • Back pain
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Vomiting
  • Thrush in your mouth or throat.

It is important to note that both drugs should be used with caution if you have certain medical conditions. Always consult your healthcare provider to determine which medication is best for you.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Anoro Ellipta?

While Anoro ellipta and Symbicort are both used for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, they can have different side effects. With Anoro Ellipta, some serious complications may include:

  • Unexpected bronchospasm (wheezing)
  • Heart conditions such as palpitations, chest pain or irregular heart rhythm
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypokalemia (low potassium levels), causing symptoms like muscle cramps or weakness, irregular heartbeat, or feeling jittery
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), resulting in increased thirst/urination, hunger with weight loss
  • Blurred vision

If you experience any severe allergic reactions like skin rash; hives; itching; redness; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat; wheezing or difficulty breathing while using Anoro Ellipta please seek medical attention immediately.

Remember that everyone responds differently to medication - while these side-effects are possible they aren't common. Always discuss potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider before starting a new medication regimen.

What are the most common side effects for Symbicort?

Symbicort, a commonly prescribed inhaler for asthma and COPD, can cause a variety of side effects. These may include:

  • Dry mouth or throat irritation
  • Sinus congestion
  • Ringing in the ears is less common but possible
  • Blurred vision isn't typically associated with Symbicort, but any changes in vision should be reported to your doctor
  • Gastrointestinal issues like nausea or abdominal discomfort might occur; significant weight loss is not expected
  • It could potentially affect sleep patterns and cause nervousness due to the presence of formoterol (a long acting beta agonist)
  • Increased heart rate is also possible due to formoterol
  • Rarely it might lead to psychological symptoms such as confusion or agitation
  • Skin reactions are uncommon but can happen; report any rash immediately
    -Increased urination isn’t typically seen with Symbicort use. -Potential headache and dizziness, especially if you're new to this medication. -Muscle or joint pain are infrequent side effects.

Remember everyone's body reacts differently to medications. If you experience persistent troubling side effects while on Symbicort therapy, discuss these promptly with your healthcare provider.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Symbicort?

While Symbicort is generally well-tolerated, there can be rare but serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. These include:

  • Signs of allergic reactions such as hives; itching; red, swollen or blistered skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; difficulty breathing, swallowing, talking; unusual hoarseness;
  • Mood changes including agitation, depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Eye problems like blurred vision, increased pressure inside your eyes (glaucoma) and cataracts.
  • Increased heart rate causing palpitations or irregular pulse
  • White patches in mouth and tongue signaling a fungal infection
  • Symptoms of pneumonia: fever, chills, shortness of breath and increased sputum production

If you experience any above symptoms after using Symbicort do not ignore them. Contact your healthcare provider immediately for further evaluation.

Contraindications for Anoro Ellipta and Symbicort?

Like most medications, Anoro ellipta and Symbicort may worsen symptoms in some individuals with certain conditions. If you notice an increase in shortness of breath or wheezing after using these inhalers, seek immediate medical attention.

Both Anoro Ellipta and Symbicort should not be taken if you are currently using or have recently used monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants. Always inform your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take; MAO inhibitors will require a period of about two weeks to clear from your system before starting Anoro Ellipta or Symbicort to avoid risky interactions.

You should also steer clear of beta-blocker medications while taking either of these drugs unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. It's important to always discuss potential drug interactions and health risks with your physician before beginning a new medication regimen.

How much do Anoro Ellipta and Symbicort cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for 1 inhaler (60 doses) of Anoro ellipta (umeclidinium/vilanterol) averages around $400, which works out to approximately $6.67 per day.
  • The price for 1 inhaler (120 doses) of Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol) is about $300, working out to roughly $2.50 per day.

If you are using one dose daily as typically prescribed, then brand-name Symbicort is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis than Anoro Ellipta. However, remember that cost should not be your main consideration in determining which of these two medications suits you best.

Currently, there are no generic versions available for either Anoro Ellipta or Symbicort and they're both only available as branded prescription medicines:

  • Umeclidinium/vilanterol (Anoro Ellipta): As this is quite a new drug combination used in COPD management, it's still under patent protection and therefore no generics are currently being manufactured.

  • Budesonide/formoterol fumarate dihydrate (Symbicort): This medication has been used longer but again because of patent restrictions until recently there were no generic alternatives.

Popularity of Anoro Ellipta and Symbicort

Anoro ellipta and Symbicort are both popularly prescribed medications for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

Symbicort, which is a combination of budesonide and formoterol, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 8 million people in the US in 2020. It accounted for just over 20% of all prescriptions for drugs used in COPD treatment. Its use has been consistent since its approval.

On the other hand, Anoro Ellipta - a blend of umeclidinium bromide and vilanterol - was prescribed to approximately 1 million individuals in the same year. This accounts for roughly about 5% of total prescriptions given out for COPD therapy in this period. The use of Anoro Ellipta has been on an upward trend since its introduction to the market due to its once-daily dosing regimen which increases adherence rates among patients.


Both Anoro ellipta and Symbicort have long-standing records of usage in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, supported by numerous clinical studies indicating their effectiveness compared to placebo treatments. Their use together would be subject to careful consideration by a physician as they also have different mechanisms of action: Anoro Ellipta primarily acts as an anticholinergic bronchodilator and a beta-2 agonist, while Symbicort is both a steroid (reducing inflammation) and a beta-2 agonist.

Anoro Ellipta is typically considered for COPD patients whilst Symbicort is often prescribed for those with severe asthma or COPD who require the additional anti-inflammatory effect. Both drugs are available in generic form, which can lead to significant cost savings particularly for patients paying out-of-pocket.

The side-effect profiles are similar between the two medications; both generally well-tolerated but may cause common effects such as dry mouth or throat irritation. It's less common but potentially serious side effects include rapid heart rate or palpitations, so it’s important that patients keep track of any new symptoms after starting treatment. Immediate medical help should be sought if breathing difficulties worsen suddenly after using these inhalers.