Formoterol Fumarate

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Formoterol is used to improve breathing problems such as asthma. It is used on a regular schedule to help reduce wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. It should only be used long-term if your asthma symptoms are not controlled by your other asthma medications (such as inhaled corticosteroids). Formoterol must not be used alone to treat asthma. (See also Warning section.) It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. It belongs to the class of drugs known as long-acting beta-agonist bronchodilators. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.

This drug is also used to prevent breathing trouble brought on by exercise.

Formoterol should be used with corticosteroids. However, it should not be used with other long-acting beta-agonist inhalers (such as arformoterol, salmeterol) because doing so may increase your risk for side effects.

This medication should not be used to treat a sudden asthma attack. Your doctor may direct you instead to treat sudden asthma attacks with a short-acting, quick-relief inhaler (such as salbutamol, also called albuterol in some countries). Consult your doctor or pharmacist to make sure you know what to do and which medications to use if an asthma attack occurs.

It is recommended that children and teenagers, who need to use formoterol to treat their asthma, should use a combination formoterol/budesonide product. Check with your child's doctor to see if this product is the right product for your child.

How to Use This Medication

Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start using formoterol and each time you get a refill. Learn how to use formoterol properly. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

If you are using short-acting bronchodilators such as albuterol or salbutamol on a regular schedule every day (such as every 6 hours), stop that treatment when you start formoterol. However, continue to use albuterol or salbutamol to relieve sudden asthma attacks if your doctor has directed you to do so. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Inhale this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually twice daily (about every 12 hours). Breathe in forcefully and deeply through the mouthpiece. Remove the inhaler from your mouth before breathing out. Do not exhale into the device.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. If your doctor has directed you to use 2 inhalations, wait at least 1 minute between them. If you are using other inhalers at the same time, wait at least 1 minute between the use of each medication.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. This medication works best if used at evenly spaced intervals. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.

To prevent shortness of breath brought on by exercise, use the inhaler before exercise as directed. Ask your doctor how soon you can take the next dose of formoterol.

Learn which of your inhalers you should use every day (controller drugs) and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens (quick-relief drugs). Ask your doctor ahead of time what you should do if you have new or worsening cough or shortness of breath, wheezing, increased sputum, worsening peak flow meter readings, waking up at night with trouble breathing, if you use your quick-relief inhaler more often (more than 2 days a week), or if your quick-relief inhaler does not seem to be working well. Learn when you can treat sudden breathing problems by yourself and when you must get medical help right away.

Contact your doctor promptly if your usual dose of formoterol stops working well or if the effects of 1 dose of formoterol last less than 12 hours. These situations can also be signs of worsening asthma. If this occurs, do not increase your dose without your doctor's approval or use this medication more often than prescribed. Using too much formoterol can lead to serious side effects.

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Information expires December 2024.