Medication 101: Flutiform

This is my second post that I am going to do for Medications 101 but this is the first post I will be doing on an Asthma Medication.

I have been taking Flutiform since March 2014 so about 9 months now and so far it has controlled my asthma the best out of every inhaler I have tried to date. Flutiform is a preventer inhaler meaning that it is used to reduce the inflammation in the lungs, therefore reducing asthma symptoms, and hopefully preventing attacks. Flutiform is also a combination inhaler meaning that it contains 2 different medications, one of which is a steroid used to reduce inflammation in the lungs, and the other is a Long Acting Bronchodilator [Long Acting Beta 2 Antagonist… AKA LABA] which is used to relax the smooth muscles in the airways therefore reducing symptoms of asthma. LABAs work for approximately 12 hours [except for Vilanterol which works for approximately 24 hours and therefore only needs to be taken once a day] and are used to help reduce the amount of Short Acting Bronchodilators¬†[Short-acting beta 2 antagonist… AKA SABA] such a Salbutamol [Ventolin] and Terbutaline [Bricanyl] that a person needs.

The steroid component of Flutiform is Fluticasone and the LABA component is Formoterol.

Flutiform tends to be indicated for use in people ages 12 or older with moderate to severe asthma more so than in people with mild asthma, where the use of a steroid inhaler alone doesn’t control a persons asthma.

Doses:

Flutiform is available in 3 different doses; the 50/5 [containing 50mcg of Fluticasone and 5mcg of Formoterol], the 125/5 and the 250/10. Most people take 2 puffs twice a day through a spacer however your doctor will decide the best dose for you.

I have been on the 125/5 and the 50/5 doses mainly at 2 puffs twice a day but I have been allowed to increase the dose of the 125/5 inhaler to 2 puffs 3-4 times a day [could also be taken as 3-4 puffs twice a day] in an attempt to avoid prednisolone during a flare… and it worked!

Precautions:

Flutiform isn’t indicated for anyone who is allergic or hypersensitive to Fluticasone or Formoterol or any of the ingredients that Flutiform contains [see section 6 of this leaflet].

You should also speak to your doctor before taking Flutiform if you have or have had TB [Tuberculosis] in the past, if you have a chest infection, if you have any heart problems, if you have an aneurysm, if you have diabetes, if you have high blood pressure, if you have an overactive thyroid, if you have low levels of potassium in the blood, if you have poor adrenal gland functioning or if you have liver problems.

You should also talk to your doctor about before taking Flutiform if you are taking certain medications including beta-blockers, theophyllines, adrenaline and adrenaline-like medications, additional LABAs, some antihistamines, some high blood pressure medications, some heart failure medications, some anti-depressants, some antipsychotics, some anti-fungal medications, some anti-virals, some antibiotics, some Parkinson’s medications, some medications used to treat an under active thyroid, certain medications used to treat Hodgkin’s disease and some medications used to induce labour.

Side effects:

[I have indicated the side effects that I have experienced with an asterisk]

Uncommon side effects occurring in approximately1 in 100 people include:

  • increase in blood glucose level
  • worsening of asthma
  • headache
  • shaking *
  • irregular heartbeat or palpitations *
  • dizziness
  • changes in voice/hoarseness
  • dry mouth, sore/irritated throat
  • swelling of hands, ankles or feet

Rare side effects occurring in approximately 1 in 1000 people include:

  • thrush
  • inflammation of sinuses
  • fast heartbeat *
  • muscle spasms
  • coughing or shortness of breath
  • diarrhoea
  • indigestion
  • difficulty sleeping
  • agitation
  • rash
  • high blood pressure

Pros:

+ Many of the side effects are quite mild

+ There are quite a few other combination inhalers available if this one isn’t the right combination for you

+ Can be taken through a spacer as it is an aerosol which increases medication delivery, while reducing the risk of thrush

+ There is some flexibility in doses

Cons:

Is not available in the US or Canada

Is only available as an aerosol

Sources:

  • Patient information leaflet [See here]
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