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Updated 11 February 2013

Beclomethasone

Beclomethasone is a corticosteroid and is prescribed as a nasal spray for maintenance therapy for seasonal and perennial hay fever.

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Beclomethasone is the active ingredient of the inhalers Becotide, Becloforte, Becodisks, Aerobec, Viarox, Beceze and Qvar; and the nasal sprays Beconase, Beclate, Rinaze, Viarox; as well as the topical application, Beclate cream.

General information

Beclomethasone is a corticosteroid and is prescribed as a nasal spray for maintenance therapy for seasonal and perennial hay fever (allergic rhinitis); an inhaler to reduce airway inflammation, and as preventative treatment of chronic persistent bronchial asthma; and as a cream to relieve skin irritation and eczema.

Beclomethasone is typically prescribed for the treatment of asthma when a bronchodilator does not fully control the symptoms. Relief of symptoms may not be evident for 3-7 days after the start of treatment and may take up to 4 weeks to reach full effect.

Once an asthma attack has started, beclomethasone does not relieve symptoms. To achieve the maximum preventative benefit, beclomethasone needs to be used regularly.

Opportunistic fungal infections of the mouth and throat may develop with the use of beclomethasone - rinsing your mouth after inhalation may reduce this.

How does beclomethasone work?

Beclomethasone functions by preventing and reducing chronic inflammation of the lining of the airways. It also reduces the allergic response to allergens and inhibits the secretion of mucus within the nose and airways. It has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin when applied locally.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 2, 3 and 4, depending on the product and its use

Available as: Nasal inhalers/sprays, oral inhalers, capsules for inhalation and creams

What does it do? Anti-allergy, anti-asthma, anti-eczema

Overdose risk: Low

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? Yes

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: 1-7 days, depending on condition being treated.

Dietary advice: Use beclomethasone inhalers after a meal. It is advisable to rinse the mouth after using an inhaler.

Stopping this medicine: Do not stop the use of beclomethasone without consulting your doctor, as symptoms may recur. The dose you take may need to be reduced gradually in some cases.

Prolonged use: No problems are expected when using beclomethasone as directed for a prolonged period. Chronic use on the skin may cause permanent damage.

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have a lung disease such as tuberculosis (TB),
  • You have any infection of the mouth, nose, sinus cavities, throat or lungs, or
  • You have any untreated bacterial or fungal infections.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication may be passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 6. If used, a reduced dose is needed.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work : No special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Nasal burning/ irritation

x

x

Skin irritation

x

x

Nosebleeds

x

x

sore throat/ hoarseness

x

x

white patches in the mouth or throat

x

x

visual disturbances

x

x

skin changes

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Significant drug interactions are unlikely to occur.

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have a lung disease such as tuberculosis (TB), any infection of the mouth, nose, sinus cavities, throat or lungs, or if you have any untreated bacterial or fungal infections.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Nasal: 1-2 sprays in each nostril 1-2 times a day

Oral: 2 inhalations 3-4 times a day

Skin: Apply as a thin layer 1-2 times a day

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 
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