Fluticasone

Sounds like 'flu-tic-a-sone

Easy-to-read medicine information about fluticasone – what it is, how to use fluticasone safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as corticosteroids
  • Inhaled corticosteroid
  • Preventer
  • Flixotide®

Flixotide is available in two devices either as an aerosol inhaler (puffer) or a  dry powder for inhaler, an accuhaler. Both devices are equally effective. The choice of device is personal preference.

What is fluticasone?

  • Fluticasone is used to prevent asthma.
  • It works by preventing the swelling and irritation in the walls of the small air passages in the lungs.
  • It belongs to a group of medicines known as inhaled corticosteroids. It is also called a preventer (because when used every day it prevents asthma attacks).

Dose

  • The dose of fluticasone varies depending on the strength of your inhaler or accuhaler - the usual dose is 1 or 2 puffs  inhaled two times a day.
  • Fluticasone does not give immediate relief from an asthma attack and may take up to a week to start to work.
  • Since asthma is a long-term condition, prevention with fluticasone is ongoing and it will need to be used  every day for months or years.

How to use fluticasone inhaler (puffer)

  • To get the most benefit from the medication, it is important to use the correct technique when using an inhaler.
  • Even if you have been shown before, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse to explain how to use your inhaler if you still have any questions.
  • The following steps are a guide:
    • Remove the protective cap at the plastic bottom part of the puffer.
    • Put your mouth over the plastic bottom part of the puffer AND push down on the top metal part as you breathe in.
    • Inhale the medicine that comes out.
    • Hold breath for 10 seconds. Breathe out slowly.
    • Repeat the steps for the next puff.
    • Rinse your mouth with water and spit out after using fluticasone inhaler.
  • If you find difficulty in using an inhaler, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about a spacer device, which can be attached to your inhaler. It may make using your inhaler easier.

Priming:

  • If your inhaler is new, it will need to be primed, by spraying 2 puffs into the atmosphere.
  • If you have not used your inhaler for 3 days, you will need to re-prime by spraying one puff into the atmosphere.

How to use fluticasone accuhaler

  • To get the most benefit from the medication, it is important to use the correct technique when using an accuhaler.
  • Your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse will explain how to use your accuhaler - the following steps are a guide:
    • Open the accuhaler to expose the mouthpiece.
    • Slide the lever away from you. The number in the dose counter will be reduced by one.
    • Put the mouthpiece to your lips and breath in steadily through the accuhaler.
    • Remove the accuhaler and hold your breath for 10 seconds.
    • Breathe out slowly.
    • Rinse your mouth with water after using your accuhaler.

Counter:

  • The accuhaler has a dose counter that tells you how many doses are left.
  • When you have reached the last five doses, the numbers appear in red. This is a warning that there are only a few doses left.

What else do I need to know?

  • Use your fluticasone inhaler or accuhaler every day. Do not stop using fluticasone, even if you feel better.
  • Try to use it at the same time each day, to help you to remember to use it regularly.
  • Fluticasone does not give immediate relief from an asthma attack. If you need immediate relief, you will need to use a "reliever" puffer.
  • It is not harmful if you miss a dose of fluticasone. If you miss a dose, you can take it as soon as you remember, or if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take your next dose at the right time.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, fluticasone can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Change in voice (hoarse voice)
  • Different taste in your mouth
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Cough
  • These are quite common when you are taking fluticasone.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome  
  • Sore throat or tongue
  • Rinse your mouth with water after using your inhaler or accuhaler
  • Restless, feeling nervous, and have problems sleeping.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome
  • Signs of oral thrush (a fungal infection in the mouth) such as a very sore tongue or mouth, with white sores on the tongue, or in the mouth.
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist  

Learn More

Asthma Foundation: learn more about inhalers  

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets: 
Flixotide Inhaler    
Flixotide Accuhaler

New Zealand Formulary Patient Information: Fluticasone

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Dr J Bycroft. Health Navigator NZ