Easy-to-read medicine information about fluticasone – what it is, how to use fluticasone safely and possible side effects.
|Type of medicine||Also called|
What is fluticasone?
Fluticasone is used to prevent asthma. It is also called a preventer because when used every day it prevents asthma attacks. Fluticasone 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 corticosteroids.
In New Zealand, fluticasone inhalers are available in different brands, devices and strengths:
- metered dose inhaler (MDI or puffer): Flixotide and Floair
- accuhaler (a dry powder inhaler): Flixotide.
Using an inhaler device enables the medicine to go straight into your airways when you breathe in. This means that your airways and lungs are treated, but very little of the medicine gets into the rest of your body.
Both the MDI and accuhaler are effective. The choice of device is personal preference. Read more about the different inhaler devices and deciding on the right inhaler for you.
|Fluticasone does not give immediate relief from an asthma attack|
|If you need quick relief from asthma symptoms or breathing problems, use your ‘reliever’ medicine such as salbutamol or terbutaline.|
The usual dose is 1 or 2 puffs inhaled two times a day. However, the dose of fluticasone will be different for different people depending on the severity of your symptoms and the strength of your inhaler or accuhaler.
- Fluticasone inhalers are available in different strengths. Ask your doctor or pharmacist what strength you are taking. If your inhaler looks different to what you were expecting, ask your pharmacist.
- Always take your fluticasone exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it and any special instructions.
- Keep using your fluticasone every day. Do not stop using fluticasone, even if you feel better. Since asthma is a long-term condition, prevention with fluticasone is ongoing and it will need to be used every day.
- Try to use fluticasone at the same time each day, to help you to remember to use it regularly.
- If you miss a dose, you can take it as soon as you remember. But if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take your next dose at the right time.
- Fluticasone can cause a sore throat and hoarse voice – rinse your mouth after each use to prevent this.
How to use your MDI (puffer)
You will get the most benefit from your inhaler if you use the correct technique. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse to explain how to use your 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. Here is some guidance.
|How to use your MDI (puffer)|
|Take off the cap and hold the inhaler upright.|
|Shake the inhaler to mix the medication.|
|Sit upright, tilt your head back slightly (as if you are sniffing) and breathe out gently.|
|Hold the device upright, insert the inhaler into your mouth, ensuring that your lips firmly seal the mouthpiece.
At the beginning of a slow, deep breath, breathe in through the mouthpiece as you press the inhaler to release one dose or 'puff'.
|Breathe in fully, remove the inhaler from your mouth and hold your breath for 10 seconds or as long as is comfortable.
Breathe out gently through your nose.
Note: if your inhaler is new, or you have not used it in a while, it may need to be primed by spraying 2 puffs into the air (called priming your MDI). Learn more about metered dose inhalers
Using a spacer with your MDI
A spacer is an attachment to use with your MDI. Using a spacer with your MDI makes it easier to use the inhaler and helps to get the medicine into your lungs, where it’s needed (with less medicine ending up in your mouth and throat). Spacers improve how well your medicine works. Read more about spacers.
How to use your accuhaler
To get the most benefit, it is important to use the correct technique. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse to explain how to use your accuhaler. Here is some guidance:
(NHS UK, 2016)
Using your accuhaler
- Open: hold the accuhaler in one hand, and with the thumb of the other hand push the thumb grip away from you until you hear a click. This reveals the mouth piece.
- Load the dose: hold the inhaler in a horizontal position. Slide the lever away from you until you hear a click.
- Breath out: breathe out, away from the accuhaler. Do not blow directly into your device.
- Inhale your dose: place the mouth piece in your mouth and form a seal with your lips. Breathe in deeply and forcefully through your mouth. Remove the accuhaler and hold your breath for up to 10 seconds. If you need another dose, wait for 30 seconds and then repeat the process.
- Close: the inhaler by sliding the thumb grip towards you.
Cleaning and storing your accuhaler: wipe the mouthpiece with a clean dry tissue. Do not wash the mouthpiece or allow it to get wet when cleaning. Close the device when not in use.
When to start a new accuhaler: there is a window on the side of the accuhaler called a dose counter. When it turns red it is time to get a new accuhaler.
Precautions – before using fluticasone
- Are you breastfeeding?
- Are you lactose intolerant?
- Have you ever had pulmonary tuberculosis (TB)?
If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start using fluticasone. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.
Possible side effects
Like all medicines, fluticasone can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.
|Side effects||What should I do?|
- Fluticasone New Zealand Formulary