Salmeterol inhalation preparation is used in combination with other drugs for the treatment of the symptoms of asthma. The drug is also used in the effective prevention of bronchospasm in asthmatics. When used on a daily basis, salmeterol can decrease the frequency and severity of attacks of asthma. It should be noted, however, that this medication does not provide relief for an attack that is already in progress.
Salmeterol belongs to a family of drugs called long-acting bronchodilators. The medication is dispensed via an inhaler and is sucked into the lungs through the patient’s mouth. The drug works by relieving blockages in the passages of the lungs, opening up the tubes, and thus aiding easier air flow. Salmeterol is also useful in treating certain other chronic respiratory conditions, including bronchitis and emphysema. The drug can also be used to prevent the wheezing that is caused by a condition called exercise-induced bronchospasm. Patients who suffer from COPD may also benefit from receiving treatment with this drug.
The US brand name for salmeterol is, Serevent. In Canada, the drug is sold under various brand names, including:
You can only obtain salmeterol with a prescription from your treating physician. The medication comes in the form of a disk, aerosol powder, or powder. Your nurse or GP will give you full instructions on how to use whichever form of inhaler that you are prescribed.
In addition to the benefits provided by salmeterol, there are some side effects that do affect some patients. You will probably not experience many or any of these effects, but if they do occur, you should seek further medical attention.
There are some side effects that may be noticed by patients being treated with salmeterol that may resolve by themselves, once your body becomes used to the medication. There will probably be various ways in which you can prevent or manage these effects, and your GP or specialist will advise you on this. However, if you find some of the side effects especially difficult to cope with or manage, go to see your doctor and ask for more assistance.
There may be other effects that you notice, which are not mentioned above. In this case, you should ask your GP for advice.
Salmeterol (inhalation route) is used to offer prevention against asthma attacks and also in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The medication cannot be used to treat an asthma attack that is already underway. If you are already suffering an asthma attack, you should use an alternative drug. If you have not been prescribed anything suitable, you should discuss this with your doctor.
When you collect your prescription of salmeterol, you will be given a medication guide or a leaflet containing more information for patients. Be sure to read through all the information before you begin using the medication. If there is anything that you do not understand about the drug or how to use it, ask your pharmacist or GP for guidance.
You must only use this medication as you have been directed by your treating specialist or GP. Do not exceed the dose of the drug than you have been told to use, and do not increase the amount of times you use it. Never stop taking the medication without first consulting your GP, as this could increase your risk of developing breathing difficulties.
If your prescription of salmeterol is to work efficiently in preventing COPD or asthma attacks, you must use it daily in evenly-spaced doses, as directed by your GP. One of the doses should be taken before you go to bed to prevent the likelihood of an asthma attack during the night. Make a note of your usual dosage times to ensure that consistency of treatment remains regular.
The dose of salmeterol prescribed by your doctor will usually vary between patients, as will the frequency of doses and the time that you leave between them. This will depend on a number of factors, including the condition for which you are being treated and the strength of the preparation that you have been prescribed. Always follow your doctor’s directions exactly or observe the instructions on the dispensary label. If your dose is not the same, you must not alter it unless your GP tells you to.
If you inadvertently miss a dose of your medication, you should leave out the dose that you have missed and revert to your usual dosing regimen. Do not take a double dose or add in an extra dose without first checking with your doctor.
Some forms of medication should never be used concurrently as an interaction may occur between them. However, in some cases, it may be appropriate to use two drugs together, where an interaction can be managed or prevented. In this instance, your GP or specialist may adjust the dose of one or both of your medicines. You will be offered advice on how you can mitigate any interactions that may take place
If you are already taking fluconazole or posaconazole, using salmeterol is not recommended. Your GP may opt not to use this medication to treat you or may change one of the other drugs that you are currently using
The following medications should not be used with salmeterol, but your doctor may decide to do so if this is the best treatment option in your case. If both drugs are to be used simultaneously, your dose or frequency of use of one or both medicines may be changed:
Some drugs should not be taken at mealtimes or when eating certain food groups, as interactions could take place. In addition, using tobacco or drinking alcohol with some medications is not recommended as interactions might occur. Ask your GP for advice concerning your use of tobacco, alcohol, and consuming certain food groups.
There is no evidence to suggest that using salmeterol may harm an unborn baby. However, you should seek the advice of your treating physician if you are pregnant or think you are likely to become pregnant during the course of your treatment.
It is unknown if using salmeterol while breastfeeding could present a risk to a nursing infant. You should discuss this with your midwife or doctor and assess the benefits of treatment with this medicine against the risks to your child before you begin your course of treatment.
Some medical conditions may have an adverse impact on the effect of salmeterol. You must discuss your recent and historical medical history in full with your GP before you start taking this drug.
If you are suffering from an acute asthma attack, acute bronchospasm or COPD flare-up, you should NOT use salmeterol. Use an alternative drug or seek further advice from your doctor.
Using salmeterol in patients who have a history of any of the following conditions could make the symptoms worse and should, therefore, be avoided:
If you are likely to be a long-term user of salmeterol, you must attend regular check-up appointments with your doctor in order that your GP can monitor your progress and discuss any side effects with you.
If you are already using other medication for COPD, you must tell your GP as it may be necessary for you to stop using this medicine or only use it during a very severe attack of COPD. Be sure to take your medication exactly as directed by your doctor.
Do not use salmeterol if you are having an acute COPD attack or if you think that you are about to have one. Your GP will prescribe you another drug to use in this case. If the alternative medication does not work, tell your doctor immediately.
Salmeterol is only suitable for use a complementary treatment in asthma patients who cannot take other asthma medications, including inhaled corticosteroids or for people who need two medicines, including salmeterol. If you have any questions, ask your GP.
This medication can be very effective in reducing the number of asthma attacks that may be suffered by a patient. However, if may also increase the likelihood of a severe asthma attack taking place. It is important that you read the patient guide that will be given to you with your prescription, and put any questions or concerns that you have to your treating physician.
Do not use salmeterol if you have already begun having an asthma attack. Your GP will prescribe you an alternative drug, such as a short-acting inhaler for you to use when you have an asthma attack.
You must not use your asthma medication for any other breathing problems unless your doctor has told you to. Do not use salmeterol with other inhalers that contain formoterol and budesonide combination, including Symbicort®.
Medications containing salmeterol and fluticasone combination should also be avoided, including:
If you or your child’s symptoms do not get better following taking this drug for a week or if you think that they have become worse, contact your doctor immediately.
If you do not think that your short-action inhaler is working as it should be or if it is beginning to lose effect, you should talk to your doctor. The same applies if you are finding that you have to use your inhaler more often, for example, if you use a whole canister of your inhaler in eight weeks or less, or if you need to take four puffs or more of the short-acting inhaler over two or more consecutive days.
You should consult your GP if you or your child notice a large fall in your peak flow when you measure it as shown by your doctor.
Never stop taking your medication or change the dose without first consulting your GP.
Your treating physician may suggest that you carry a medical identification card, indication that you or your child are using salmeterol. The card will indicate that you may need alternative or additional medication in case of a severe asthma attack, during an emergency, or when you are placed under unusual stress.
In some patients, salmeterol may cause paradoxical bronchospasm. This condition will cause your wheezing or breathing to become worse. Paradoxical bronchospasm can be a potentially life-threatening condition. If you or your child develop a cough, breathing problems, shortness of breath, or wheezing after taking salmeterol, stop using the drug and consult your GP immediately.
If you or your child develop hives, a skin rash or any other allergic reaction to salmeterol, stop taking the medication and seek medical advice immediately.
You should seek medical attention immediately if you or your child begin to show any of the following symptoms:
Salmeterol can cause low blood potassium levels in some people. If you or your child begin to experience one or more of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately:
Salmeterol may cause issues with blood sugar levels in some people. If you or your child suffer from diabetes, you might notice a variance in the results of your urine or blood sugar tests. If so, you should mention this to your doctor.
Do not take any other forms of medication, including non-prescription drugs, vitamin pills or powders, or treatments made from herbs or herbal extracts while using salmeterol, without first consulting your GP.
Salmeterol for inhalation is used together with other drugs as part of a treatment program for the symptoms of asthma. Although you cannot use the medication to treat an asthma attack that is already underway, salmeterol can be very effective in preventing acute asthma attacks from occurring. Salmeterol is also used to treat patients who suffer from chronic bronchitis and emphysema. The medication is also extremely effective in relieving the effects of a condition caused exercise-induced bronchospasm.
Salmeterol is dispensed via an inhaler, the active medication being breathed into the patient’s lungs and airways, where it helps to clear obstructions, open up the airways and thus assist and improve airflow.
There are a considerable number of medications that will interact adversely if used in combination with salmeterol. In addition, there are a number of existing and historical health conditions that can be exacerbated if treated with salmeterol. For this reason, it is extremely important that you mention to your doctor any prescription medication or over-the-counter products that you use on a regular basis. You must also divulge your medical history in full.
During the course of your treatment with salmeterol, you will be expected to see your GP or specialist on a regular basis in order to monitor your progress and to make sure the dose and frequency of use of the medicine do not require alteration. You may also need to have blood tests to make sure that the drug is not causing any unwanted side effects that have not become apparent.