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 fluticasone + vilanterol 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 and in that way makes 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 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 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 NZ & Auckland District Health Board, 2018)

Using your Ellipta inhaler

  • The Ellipta inhaler has pre-loaded doses and is ready to use.
  • The inhaler will be 'closed' when it is first taken out of its sealed tray.
  • If the inhaler cover is opened and closed without inhaling the the dose will be lost.

To prepare your dose

  • Open the cover when ready to take a dose. The inhaler should not be shaken.
  • Slide the cover down until a “click” is heard. The dose is now ready to be inhaled.
  • The dose counter counts down by 1 to confirm. If the dose counter does not count down as the “click” is heard, the inhaler will not deliver a dose and should be taken back to a pharmacist for advice.

To inhale your dose

  • Hold the inhaler away from your mouth.
  • Breathing out as far as is comfortable.
  • Place the mouthpiece between your lips and seal lips closed around it. Do not block the air vents with your fingers during use.
  • Inhale with one long, steady, deep breath in. This breath should be held in for as long as possible (at least 3-4 seconds).
  • Remove the inhaler from your mouth.
  • Breathe out slowly and gently.
  • You may not taste or feel the medication.
  • Wipe the mouthpiece of your inhaler using a dry tissue before closing the cover.
  • To close the inhaler, slide the cover upwards as far as it will go, to cover the mouthpiece.

Precautions – before using fluticasone + vilanterol

  • Are you breastfeeding?
  • 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?

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 goes away with time. Rinse your mouth after each use
  • 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
  • Feeling shaky
  • Nervousness
  • Tremor
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Problems sleeping
  • These are quite common when you first start using your inhaler, and usually goes away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if troublesome.
  • Changes in your heartbeat (faster)
  • Chest pain
  • Blurred vision or changes to your eyesight
  • Tell your doctor or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Learn More

Breo Ellipta Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets

References

  1. Fluticasone furoate + vilanterol New Zealand Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist.