Easy-to-read medicine information about fluticasone + salmeterol – what it is, how to use fluticasone + salmeterol safely and possible side effects.
|Type of medicine||Also called|
What is fluticasone + salmeterol?
- 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 inhaled corticosteroids. It is also called a preventer (because when used every day it prevents asthma attacks).
- Salmeterol works by relaxing and opening up the air passages and in that way makes breathing easier.
In New Zealand, fluticasone + salmeterol inhalers are available in different brands, devices and strengths:
- metered dose inhaler (MDI or puffer): Seretide and RexAir
- accuhaler (a dry powder inhaler): Seretide.
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 inhaler devices. The choice of device is personal preference. Read more about the different inhaler devices and deciding on the right inhaler for you.
|Fluticasone and salmeterol 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.|
- MDI: the usual dose is 2 puffs twice daily.
- Accuhaler: the usual dose is 1 inhalation once or twice daily.
The dose of fluticasone + salmeterol will be different for different people depending on the severity of your symptoms and the strength of your MDI or accuhaler.
- Some people may need lower doses. For example, once at night, if you have night-time symptoms or once in the morning, if you have daytime symptoms.
- Always use your inhaler 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.
- Fluticasone + salmeterol 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.
- Keep using your inhaler every day. Do not stop using it, even if you feel better. Since asthma and COPD are long-term conditions, prevention with fluticasone + salmeterol is ongoing and it will need to be used every day for months or years.
- Try to use your inhaler at the same time each day, to help you to remember to use it regularly.
- Fluticasone can cause a sore throat and hoarse voice – rinse your mouth after each use to prevent this.
- 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.
How to use your MDI (puffer)
You will get the most benefit from your medicine if you use the correct technique when using your inhaler. 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.
Using a spacer with your inhaler
Using an MDI with a spacer can make it easier to use the inhaler and also helps to get the medicine into the lungs. Spacers increase the effectiveness of your medicines. Children over 10 years may be able to use an MDI without a spacer; however, babies and young children must use MDIs with a spacer or a spacer and a mask. Read more about spacers.
Priming your inhaler
Before using the inhaler for the first time, test the inhaler by releasing puffs into the air until the counter reads 120 to make sure that it works. If the inhaler has not been used for a week or more, release 2 puffs into the air before using.
How to use your accuhaler
|How to use your accuhaler|
(Asthma Australia, 2013)
Precautions – before using fluticasone + salmeterol
- Are you breastfeeding?
- Are you lactose intolerant?
- Have you ever had pulmonary tuberculosis (TB)?
- Do you have heart disease?
- Do you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid)?
- Do you have high blood pressure (hypertension)?
- Do you have an irregular heartbeat or rhythm, including a very fast pulse?
- Do you play competitive or professional sport?
If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start using fluticasone + salmeterol. 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 + salmeterol can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.
|Side effects||What should I do?|
- Fluticasone + salmeterol New Zealand Formulary