COVID-19 Therapeutic Alert: inhaled Budesonide for adults with COVID-19

This afternoon (12th April 2021), a CAS alert has been issued containing guidance for prescribers in primary care and community pharmacies in relation to the therapeutic use of inhaled budesonide in adults (50 years and over) with COVID-19.

This follows the recent announcement of the interim results from the National Institute for Health Research supported PRINCIPLE trial which shows that inhaled budesonide can reduce the recovery time for COVID-19 positive patients being managed within primary care. This is the first COVID-19 treatment for use in the UK within a community setting.

Inhaled budesonide is not currently being recommended as a standard of care, but it can be considered by prescribers for off-label use on a case-by-case basis for symptomatic COVID-19 positive patients aged 65 and over, or aged 50 or over with co-morbidities, in line with the published Interim Position Statement.

The alert asks community pharmacy teams to:

  • use business as usual routes to order supplies of inhaled budesonide from wholesalers, maintaining stock levels to meet both routine use (i.e. the management of asthma) and prevailing demand for therapeutic use in the management of COVID-19. Pharmacies will be advised if there are any national supply restrictions; and
  • Ensure patients (or their representatives) are aware of how the inhaler should be used and signpost them to additional support. Supplementary information for patients is available on the NHS website.

Read the COVID-19 Therapeutic Alert

Read the Interim Position Statement


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