The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) has recently expanded the listing criteria for Symbicort®. Symbicort® contains the corticosteroid, budesonide plus the long-acting β2-agonist (LABA), formoterol.

The new PBS listing allows Symbicort® to be used as reliever therapy in the management of mild asthma in patients 12 years of age and older who are not currently using a single agent LABA. Previously, Symbicort® was only PBS listed for the treatment of moderate to severe forms of asthma, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

This new PBS listing aligns with the recommendations of the Global Initiative for Asthma which no longer recommends the use of a short-acting β2-agonist alone for adults and adolescents with asthma. Instead, an inhaled corticosteroid plus LABA is their preferred option for symptom relief in these patients. In patients with mild asthma, randomised controlled trials demonstrate that this therapy is associated with a 64% lower rate of severe exacerbations compared to treatment with a short-acting β2-agonist alone.

The following table shows the PBS streamlined authority codes for the different presentations of Symbicort®. Please refer to the PBS website for full clinical criteria.

Product PBS Authority Streamlined Codes
Presentation Strength Mild asthma Asthma COPD
Symbicort® Rapihaler® 50mcg/3mcg 4397
100mcg/3mcg 10482 4397
200mcg/6mcg 4404 10121
Symbicort® Turbuhaler® 100mcg/6mcg 4380
200mcg/6mcg 10464 7970
400mcg/12mcg 7979 10121


  1. Department of Health. Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Woden: Australian Government; 2020.
  2. GINA Science Committee. Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention (2020 Update). Global Initiative for Asthma: Fontana; 2020.
  3. O’Byrne PM, Fitzgerald M, Bateman ED, Barnes PJ, Zhong N, Keen C, et al. Inhaled combined budesonide–formoterol as needed in mild asthmaN Engl J Med. 2018; 378: 1865-6.
  4. Symbicort® Turbuhaler® () Australia approved product information. Macquarie Park: AstraZeneca. Approved July 2019.

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