Meds and you

27 September 2013

Formoterol

Formoterol is a bronchodilator. Bronchodilators are drugs that relax the muscles around the airways, helping the airways to open up, making it easier to breathe.

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Formoterol is the active ingredient of Foradil dry powder inhalation capsules (Nappi code: 820911-003), Foratec DP-caps (Nappi code: 704175-001, 577802-004, 708079-001), Foratec HPA metered-doses inhaler (Nappi code: 710307-001) and Oxis Turbohaler (Nappi code: 840246-005).

General information

Formoterol is a bronchodilator. Bronchodilators are drugs that relax the muscles around the airways, helping the airways to open up, making it easier to breathe.

In South Africa formoterol is registered for the treatment of long-term treatment of reversible airway obstruction in asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It is also used to prevent exercise- induced asthma.

Formoterol should not be confused with fenoterol. Its advantage over fenoterol is that it is longer-acting.

Formoterol takes longer to start working compared to some other bronchodilators (its effects last longer than that of most, though). Because of this, formoterol is not intended for treating acute asthma attacks - instead, it should be used regularly each day to keep the airways open and help prevent breathing difficulties.

Do not exceed the recommended dose. If your usual dose does not provide relief, or if relief does not last, medical advice should be sought.

How does formoterol work?

Formoterol relaxes bronchial smooth muscle by stimulating beta2 receptors. When fenoterol stimulates these receptors, it causes the muscles in the airways to relax, making breathing easier.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 2 and schedule 4

Available as: formoterol is available as powder for inhalation capsules, metered-dose inhaler and turbohaler.

What does it do? Formoterol widens/opens the airways to make breathing easier.

Overdose risk: low

Dependence risk: low

Is formoterol available as a generic? yes

Is formoterol available on prescription only? no and yes

User information

Onset of effect: within 15 minutes

Duration of action: up to 12 hours

Stopping this medicine: do not stop treatment with this drug without consulting your doctor. The original symptoms may recur.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • you have a thyroid problem
  • you have diabetes
  • you have a cardiovascular disease
  • you have high blood pressure
  • you have been diagnosed with phaeochromocytoma
  • you have glaucoma
  • you have liver/kidney disease

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. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. 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 5 years.

The 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 effects Frequency
Consult your doctor

Common Rare Only if severe In all cases
muscle tremor x
x
restlessness x
x
headache x
x
increased blood pressure
x x
breathing difficulties
x
x

Interactions

Drug interactions

beta-blockers may reduce the affect of formoterol and worsen broncho-constriction
theophylline blood patassium levels may be lowered
corticosteriods blood potassium levels may be lowered
monoamine-oxidase-inhibitor antidepressants a dangerous rise in blood pressure may occur/ increased risk in cardiac-related side-effects
tricyclic antidepressants increased risk of cardiac-related side-effects

Overdose action

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

Recommended dosage

Adults: use twice daily as directed.

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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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