Asthma Symptoms and Treatment with Prescription Inhaled Medication

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What is Asthma?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as many as 1 in 13 people in the United States have asthma.  The Asthma and Allergy Foundation states that the number of people diagnosed with asthma has been increasing since the early 1980s.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease which makes it difficult to move air into and out of your lungs.  Airways in the lungs become inflamed when triggered by certain stimuli such as weather, dust, chemicals, smoke, pet dander, or other things in the air or environment.  When this inflammation is triggered there is little room for air to travel in and out of the lungs through the swollen air passages. There is no cure for asthma but thanks to new medications it can be managed every day.  

Asthma diagnosis and treatment

If you have trouble breathing your doctor will do several tests to evaluate your symptoms to determine if you have asthma or another breathing problem.  This evaluation will include a physical exam, checking on your family history, and other tests such as a lung function test. Your doctor will then make a determination of the severity of your situation and determine the best treatment plan for you.

What is in Advair Diskus?

Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol) is used to control and prevent the symptoms of asthma such as wheezing, cough and shortness of breath.  It is also used to control these same symptoms, which may be associated with other lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

This prescription medication contains two different medications: fluticasone propionate and salmeterol.   Fluticasone propionate is in a class of medication known as corticosteroids, which reduces the swelling in the airways. Salmeterol is a long-acting beta agonist (a bronchodilator), which helps improve breathing by opening the airways in the lungs.

Advair Diskus – 100 mcg/50 mcg

Advair Diskus – 250 mcg/50 mcg

Advair Diskus – 500 mcg/50 mcg

What is Advair Inhaler (HFA)?

The Advair Inhaler (HFA) also contains the medications fluticasone propionate and salmeterol. However, while the Advair Diskus is a dry powder inhaler, the Advair HFA Inhaler is an aerosol   inhaler  that contains a propellant to help deliver the medication to your lungs. Advair HFA Inhaler – 125 mcg/25 mcg

Advair HFA Inhaler – 250 mcg/25 mcg

What is the difference between Advair Diskus and Advair HFA?

Advair HFA is FDA-approved for asthma.

Advair Diskus is FDA-approved for both asthma and COPD.

While the two delivery methods and dosages may vary, the active ingredients are the same in both.

It is important to note that the Advair Diskus and the Advair HFA Inhaler are both used in circumstances when patients do not find relief from breathing problems when using just one asthma medication alone.

Do not use prescription Advair Diskus if you are allergic to milk proteins or if you are taking a medication that contains a LABA (long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist).

How are the Advair Diskus and the Advair HFA Inhaler used to treat breathing problem such as asthma?

This medication must be used as directed by your doctor.  For best benefits, be sure to use the medication regularly and at evenly spaced time intervals, at the same time(s) each day.  

Do not increase or decrease your dose without speaking to your doctor.

Be sure to gargle and rinse your mouth out completely with water after each use of prescription Advair Diskus and Advair HFA to prevent irritation and possible yeast infection in the mouth and throat.

What are the side effects of Advair Diskus and the Advair HFA Inhaler?

Most people using this medication do not have serious side effects.  However, there are some side effects you may encounter including:

  • Upset stomach
  • Irritated throat
  • Headache
  • Raised blood pressure

It is important to monitor your blood pressure while using prescription Advair Diskus or Advair HFA for breathing trouble related to asthma, or COPD.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects.  Please refer to the insert that comes with your prescription and speak to your pharmacist about possible side effects.

Who should NOT take Advair Diskus or Advair HFA Inhaler?

Advair Diskus is meant for patients over the age of four years old.  It is not meant for children or adults who are already using prescription medication to control asthma, such as an inhaled corticosteroid.

Note: Advair is not to be used in place of a rescue inhaler in case of an emergency breathing problem.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911). 

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