With generic name fluticasone propionate or Salmeterol, the sale of Advair started on 25th August, 2000. Adavair is manufactured by GSK (GlaxoSmithKline) and is prescribed to asthma patients. More popular names of Advair are Seretide and Viani. As a prescription drug, it is a huge revenue generating product for GSK. This fact is evident from the sales figure of 2010, which stood at whooping $8.2 billion.

Core medical use:

Advair is used for prevention of bronchospasms, which is an airway spasm caused as an after effect of asthma. Patients with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are prescribed Advair to relieve the symptoms. This drug is available in two forms – Advair Diskus and HFA. Whereas Advair Diskus is prescribed for asthma and COPD, the HFA inhaler is prescribed only to asthma patients.

Some Important Events in Advair’s History:

  • Was approved for sale by FDA on August 25th, 2000.
  • FDA issued a warning to update label about potential side effects in August 2003.
  • FDA issued a serious warning on November 15th 2005.
  • FDA ordered update of new label on May 16th 2006.

Drug facts particular to Advair:

  • Advair should not be prescribed to patients for whom asthma attack has already begun.
  • Only prescribed doses should be used and the usage should be limited to the period as advised by the practitioner.
  • Patients, who use peak flow meter at home, should inform healthcare expert immediately if lower numbers are recorded.
  • In total, 297 drug interactions are seen, out of which 42 are major, 222 moderate and 33 are minor ones.
  • Advair should not be prescribed in patients below 4 years of age.
  • Advair has been known to affect the growth in children. The growth process of children who are on Advair must be carefully monitored. In case of any abnormality or even doubt, doctor must be immediately consulted.
  • Prolonged use of Advair can cause osteoporosis, especially among patients who smoke, do not exercise and whose intake of calcium or Vitamin D in diet is inadequate.

Advair inhalation: Mode of action

The two active ingredients in Advair are salmetrol and fluticasone. Salmetrol works by relaxing the muscles of the air pipe and belongs to a class of bronchodilators. Fluticasone is a corticosteroid and is used for reducing inflammation of lungs and irritation caused by asthma. Advair helps in improving the breathing rate by opening the airways.

Advair: how to use it

Advair Diskus is a powdered drug that is sold with a special inhaling device. This is pre-loaded with blister packs in prescribed doses. Every time the inhaler is used, the device opens and a new blister is loaded.

Advair HFA is available as a canister and is used with an actuator inhaling device. It is recommended to use Advair with the one that is provided and not any other inhaling device. Before every inhalation, the inhaler should be shaken for 5 seconds. After 120 sprays, the canister should not be used, even if there is enough medicine left inside. Advair HFA canister should be kept away from heat and moisture.

Advair use in pregnant women:

Advair is included in category C for pregnancy. Effects of this drug on the fetus are unknown. Yet, pregnant women should regularly inform their doctors about their condition. Also, nursing mothers should inform their doctor, as it remains unknown whether the active ingredients in this drug can pass through the breast milk.

Advair: Final words

The dosage of every medicine is based on age, medical condition and response to treatment among patients. It is important to use any medicine only as that medicine is prescribed. Sudden discontinuation often lead to withdrawal symptoms that may prove harmful. So, be careful when you start or cease to take any drug. Patients suffering from asthma are advised to carry an identification card always so to get the treatment or support of an oral steroid in case of emergency.

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