Last updated on 28/06/2024


If you or your child rely on Symbicort Rapihaler 50/3 (budesonide/formoterol) as your asthma preventer, you might be surprised to learn that this specific strength is being discontinued in Australia. This means it will no longer be available to buy, once stocks are used up.

Symbicort Rapihaler 50/3 is a low-strength combination preventer.

  • It contains 50 micrograms of an inhaled steroid called budesonide- this is the preventer part.
  • The other part is 3 micrograms of formoterol, a long-acting reliever.

As a low-strength option, this may affect kids who need a combination preventer, as well as some adults. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other options available to enable low-dose preventer use.

Why is Symbicort Rapihaler 50/3 being removed from sale? 

Medicines are discontinued for many reasons, such as supply chain issues, commercial decisions, or a focus on newer formulations. Rest assured if you still have plenty of Symbicort Rapihaler 50/3 at home, there is no reason to dispose of it. You can keep using what you have until it is used up or expired.

What should I do now?

If the discontinuation of Symbicort Rapihaler 50/3 affects you or your child, talk to your doctor about alternative options as soon as possible. The doctor will need to write a prescription for a new asthma preventer.

Your doctor can discuss which option might be best for you or your child’s individual needs. They’ll also provide instructions on switching medicines safely and effectively. It is important to maintain continuity in preventer use where possible. Any change in treatment should be considered a trial at first. Book another doctor’s visit to check you or your child’s response to the change in preventer after 4-6 weeks. Of course, if you are concerned about a drop in asthma control after the change, don’t delay in reviewing sooner.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions. If you have any concerns about the delisting of Symbicort Rapihaler 50/3 or alternative medicines, be sure to discuss them with your doctor or call us on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) to speak with an Asthma Educator.

Questions you might have:


This is a good opportunity to have an asthma review with your doctor and find out if your asthma is as controlled as it could be. Or, if you could benefit by stepping your preventer dose up or down. Since Symbicort Rapihaler 50/3 is a low-strength preventer, stepping down might look like changing to a single therapy preventer, instead of a combination preventer. By working with your doctor, you can find a suitable treatment plan to ensure your asthma is well-controlled.

Other information on inhaled corticosteroid preventer treatment for kids up to age 12.

What if I Need a New Device?

If the doctor prescribes a new preventer, it’s important to learn how to use it so the medicine can work properly.

Even if the device is the same one you’ve used for many years, proper training and regular practice are essential.

Any new treatment plan will require:

  • Learning how to use any new devices. Your child’s doctor or pharmacist can demonstrate the correct technique and answer any questions you may have.
  • An updated Asthma Action Plan.
  • Learning how to adjust medicines in response to a flare-up, based on your Asthma Action Plan.
Instructional Videos for kids

To make learning easier, we have videos that guide you and your child through the process of using different inhaler devices:

View our full video library here

Want to know more? For more information about low-strength preventer options or to speak with an Asthma Educator about your asthma, call 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).

Information about medicines and devices to support people with asthma are developed independently by Asthma Australia, made possible by grant funding under the ‘Know Your Options’ Program from AstraZeneca, Chiesi Australia, Sanofi who are not involved in content development.