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Bronchodilator: Long-Acting Beta2-Agonist

What does this drug do?

Long-acting beta2-agonists help prevent asthma symptoms by relaxing the smooth muscles around the airways. These medicines are long-term control medicines. They can prevent the tightening of the muscles around the airways (bronchospasm) caused by asthma triggers such as pollens, exercise, cold air, and air pollutants.

The long-acting forms of beta 2-agonists are used to provide control, not quick relief, of asthma symptoms. These drugs take longer to begin to work (10 to 20 minutes), but their benefits last longer, even up to 12 hours. These medicines are not to be used as rescue medicines. A quick relief medicine such as albuterol should be used to treat acute asthma attacks.

What are other names for this medicine?

Other names for this medicine are salmeterol (Serevent or Serevent Diskus) and formoterol (Foradil Aerolizer). The ADVAIR Diskus combines a beta 2-agonist (salmeterol) with an anti-inflammatory steroid (fluticasone).

How is it taken?

This medicine comes in 2 forms. One is an aerosol that uses a metered-dose inhaler (MDI) to deliver a measured amount with each spray. The other form is a powder used with an inhalation device (Diskus).

What is the usual dose?

Diskus: If your child is using the dry powder, the dose is usually 1 inhalation every 12 hours.

Your child's dose of inhaled _____________________ is _______ puffs inhaled from a dry powder device ____ times a day.

What side effects can this drug cause?

Long-acting beta 2-adrenergic agonists (LABA) may increase the chance of severe asthma episodes, and death. These medicines should only be used if inhaled corticosteroids do not control the asthma and your child needs a second controller medicine. The most common side effects are jitteriness and an increased heart rate.

What special instructions should be followed?

Do not increase the number of treatments to more than twice in a 24-hour period. If your child needs more treatments because the asthma symptoms are not helped by the medicine, call your health care provider. Do not stop taking this medicine without your health care provider's approval. Suddenly stopping this medicine may be life-threatening.

Written by the Asthma Task Force at The Children's Hospital, Denver.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2006-10-23
Last reviewed: 2006-09-05
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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