Fluticasone and vilanterol

Sounds like 'floo-TIK-a-sone + vye-LAN-ter-ol'

Easy-to-read medicine information about fluticasone + vilanterol - what is it, how to use it safely and possible side effects. Fluticasone + vilanterol is also called Breo Ellipta®.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • This is a combination medicine. It contains a corticosteroid (fluticasone) plus a bronchodilator (vilanterol)
    • Breo Ellipta®

What is fluticasone + vilanterol?

Fluticasone + vilanterol are 2 medications mixed together in an inhaler (puffer). The combination is used to treat the symptoms of asthma and COPD and prevent them from recurring. 

  • 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).
  • Vilanterol works by relaxing and opening up the air passages, making breathing easier. 

In New Zealand fluticasone + vilanterol is available as a dry powder inhaler called Breo Ellipta.

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.

Dose

  • The dose of fluticasone + vilanterol is 1 inhalation once daily.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to use, how often to use it and any special instructions.

Tips

  • 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 + vilanterol is ongoing and it will need to be used every day.
  • 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 your Ellipta inhaler

To get the most benefit, it is important to use the correct technique. Ask your doctor, pharmacist or nurse to show you how to use your Ellipta inhaler. Here is some guidance:

 

Health Navigator & Auckland District Health Board, NZ, 2018

Using your Ellipta inhaler

  • Remove the device from the foil packing.
  • Open: Pull back the mouth piece cover until you hear a click. Hold the device upright at all times. Breath out away from the device.
  • Inhale your dose: Press your lips around the mouthpiece without covering the air vents on either side. Begin to breathe in rapidly and deeply through your mouth. Hold your breath for up to 10 seconds. Breathe out slowly. Close the mouth piece cover.

Cleaning and storing your Ellipta inhaler: Clean your device once a week by wiping 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. Store it in a cool dry place, away from heat and moisture.

When to start a new inhaler: There is a window on the front of your Ellipta inhaler called a dose counter. When it turns red it is time to get a new inhaler.

Precautions – before using fluticasone + vilanterol

  • Are you breastfeeding?
  • Have you ever had pulmonary tuberculosis (TB)?
  • Do you have heart disease, or an irregular heartbeat or rhythm, including a very fast pulse?
  • Do you have an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroid)?
  • Do you have high blood pressure (hypertension)?
  • Are you lactose intolerant?
  • Do you have problems with your liver?
  • Do you have diabetes?
  • Do you play professional or competitive sport?

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start using fluticasone + vilanterol. 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 + vilanterol 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?
  • Change in voice (hoarse voice)
  • Different taste in your mouth
  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Cough
  • These are quite common when you first start using your inhaler, and usually go away with time. Rinse your mouth after each use.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Signs of oral thrush (a fungal infection in your mouth) such as a very sore tongue or mouth, with white sores on your tongue or in your mouth
  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Feeling shaky
  • Nervousness
  • Tremor
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Problems sleeping
  • These are quite common when you first start using your inhaler, and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Stomach or back pain
  • Tell your doctor.
  • Changes in your heartbeat (faster)
  • Chest pain
  • Blurred vision or changes to your eyesight
  • Tell your doctor or phone HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Sudden worsening of breathing problems and you are using your inhaler very often
  • Tell your doctor or phone HealthLine 0800 611 116

Learn more

Breo Ellipta Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets

References

  1. Fluticasone furoate + vilanterol New Zealand Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 22 Jun 2019