Asthma Controller Medicine Inhaled Corticosteroids: Respiratory
The name of your controller medicine is _______________________________.
Inhaled corticosteroids are used to control asthma symptoms. They need to be taken each day.
They help to:
• Make airways less “twitchy”.
• Decrease airway swelling.
• Decrease mucous.
• Decrease how often you have asthma symptoms.
Types of inhaled corticosteroids include:
• Flovent Diskus (fluticasone): 3 strengths: 50 mcg, 100mcg, & 220mcg
• Flovent HFA® (fluticasone): 3 strengths: 44mcg, 110mcg, & 220 mcg
• Pulmicort Flexhaler® (budesonide): 2 strengths: 80mcg & 160mcg
• Pulmicort Respules® for nebulizer: 3 strengths: 0.25mg, 0.5 mg, & 1mg
• Asmanex Twisthaler® (mometasone): 220mcg
• QVAR® (beclomethasone): 2 strengths are 40mcg & 80mcg
• Alvesco (ciclesonide): 2 strengths: 80mcg & 160 mcg
Side effects that may occur (at low strengths) include:
• Hoarse voice.
• Yeast infection in the mouth (“thrush”).
To lessen side effects
• Always rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth after using. Do not swallow the water.
• Use a spacer device.
• Wash your face after using a mask with the spacer.
Other side effects may occur. People with severe asthma who have taken high doses of inhaled corticosteroids for a long time are at greatest risk. Your doctor or nurse will review these side effects with you.
Inhaled corticosteroids may be “stepped up” or increased with the start of a cold or during an asthma flare-up or attack. This is part of the asthma action plan (“yellow zone”). This increased dose should be used for about 5-7 days or for 2 days after asthma symptoms are better. Then return to the lower dose (green zone).
For Metered Dose Inhalers (Flovent HFA® ,QVAR HFA®, and Alvesco)
• Shake for 5 seconds before each use
• Spacers are usually replaced once a year.
• Keep track of when your inhaler expired, especially if it is used “as needed”
• If you do not use it for 2 weeks, re-prime (spray) for 4 sprays prior to using.
• Each inhaler has a certain amount of puffs or “actuations”. If your inhaler does not have a counter on it you will need to figure out how many puffs you use a day. Then, mark it on a calendar so you know when to start a new inhaler.
How do I prepare my inhaler for use?
Your inhaler should be primed before first use, if you have not used it regularly for 2 weeks, or if it is dropped. Prime the inhaler by shaking the inhaler for 5 seconds and spraying 4 puffs into the air away from your face.
How do I clean the inhaler and spacer?
Once a week, use a clean, dry cotton swab to clean the opening where the puff sprays out of the inhaler. Do not put the inhaler in water. Wash the spacer with dish soap and warm water weekly. Rinse with warm water and air dry on a clean towel.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/01/2012
Copyright © 05/01/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6843
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