Budesonide ER is a corticosteroid. It works by decreasing inflammation, which is one of the problems in ulcerative colitis. Steroids are often needed to help people control flares (temporary worsenings) of ulcerative colitis. However, unlike most other steroids, budesonide ER is less likely to cause the typical steroid side effects, which can be quite bothersome or serious.
Budesonide ER tablets are uniquely designed with both an enteric coating and extended-release properties. The enteric coating is designed to dissolve only in the intestine (not in the stomach), after which the tablet will slowly release the medication throughout the colon.
As an added advantage, when budesonide ER is absorbed into the body, the liver changes most of it into other compounds that do not have steroid side effects. Budesonide ER works mostly when it comes into contact with the colon; therefore, it does not need to circulate throughout the body to work.
Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with budesonide ER include the following:
- Budesonide ER comes in tablet form. It is usually taken by mouth once a day in the morning for up to eight weeks.
- It does not seem to matter if you take budesonide ER with food or on an empty stomach. If it seems to bother your stomach, try taking it with food.
- Swallow budesonide ER tablets whole; do not chew, crush, or open the tablets.
- Do not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit while you are using budesonide ER (see Drug Interactions With Budesonide ER).
- For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed.
There is only one standard dose of budesonide ER, regardless of your age or weight. As always, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so.
(Click Budesonide ER Dosage for more information.)