- Use this inhaler as your doctor has told you - do not use more than the dose you have been prescribed.
- If your breathing gets worse or if you do not get the usual relief from this inhaler, contact your doctor straightaway.
|Type of medicine ||Bronchodilator (a long-acting beta2 agonist) |
|Used for ||Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other airways-related problems |
|Also called ||Atimos Modulite®; Foradil®; Oxis® |
Combination inhalers containing formoterol are: Fostair® (with beclometasone) and Symbicort® (with budesonide)
|Available as ||Aerosol inhaler, capsules with an inhaler device, and Turbohaler® |
Formoterol is called a bronchodilator, as it dilates (widens) your airways. It is intended to be used regularly to prevent asthma attacks but is not suitable for use when you have symptoms, as it will take too long to work in an acute attack. It works by opening up the air passages in your lungs so that air can flow into your lungs more freely. This helps to relieve symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and feeling breathless.
If you have asthma, formoterol will be prescribed for you alongside a reliever (steroid) inhaler. Some brands of formoterol inhaler also contain a steroid (beclometasone or budesonide). These are helpful if you need both a preventer and a reliever medicine to control your symptoms.
Before using formoterol
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start using formoterol it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding. This is because it is particularly important that your breathing is well controlled if you are pregnant.
- If you have hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland).
- If you have heart problems including an irregular heartbeat.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have diabetes mellitus (high sugar levels in your blood).
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to use formoterol
- Before using this inhaler, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. The leaflet will give you more information about formoterol, diagrams to remind you how to use your inhaler device, and a full list of possible side-effects.
- Follow your doctor's instructions carefully and make sure you know how to use your inhaler properly. There are three types of inhaler device - an aerosol inhaler, a turbohaler, and one which uses capsules containing powder. If you are not sure how to use the device you have been given, ask your nurse, doctor or pharmacist to show you.
- Use your inhaler regularly. Your doctor will tell you whether to use one or two sprays, and whether to use it once or twice each day. Your dose will also be on the label on your inhaler to remind you.
- Try to use it at the same times each day, as this will help you to avoid missing doses. If you do forget a dose, use the inhaler as soon as you remember but do not double up doses to make up for any forgotten ones.
- Just a reminder - if you have been prescribed Foradil® capsules, these must not be swallowed. They are to be used with the inhaler device only.
- Your doctor may give you a spacer device to use with some formoterol inhalers, particularly if you struggle to co-ordinate breathing in and pressing the inhaler device. This helps to make sure that the medicine travels right into your lungs. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to advise you on using the device.
Getting the most from your treatment
- If you usually use a steroid (preventer) inhaler and have just been prescribed formoterol, you should continue to use your steroid inhaler as well as formoterol. You should continue to use both inhalers, even if your symptoms improve. Your doctor will tell you if it is appropriate for you to step down your treatment.
- If you have asthma, you should receive a written asthma action plan from your nurse or doctor, which will help you to manage your asthma and tell you what to do if you have an asthma attack. Formoterol may not work quickly enough to relieve an asthma attack that has already started, so your doctor may prescribe another inhaler (a shorter-acting bronchodilator) for you to use if you get an attack. If so, make sure that you keep it with you all the time.
- Try to keep your regular appointments with your doctor. This is so your doctor can review your condition on a regular basis.
- Do not smoke. Smoking causes irritation and damage to the lungs, and will make your condition worse. Speak with your doctor or practice nurse for further advice if you are having difficulty in stopping smoking.
- If you find that your symptoms are getting worse, continue to use your inhalers but also contact your doctor or nurse for advice straightaway. Also, if your usual dose of formoterol does not provide relief from your symptoms for at least twelve hours, speak with your doctor.
- If you have diabetes you may need to check your blood glucose more frequently, as this inhaler may affect the levels of sugar in your blood. Your doctor will be able to advise you about this.
Can formoterol cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common formoterol side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who use this inhaler ||What can I do if I experience this? |
|Feeling shaky ||This usually improves as you adjust to the inhaler. If it continues, speak with your doctor, as your dose may need changing |
|Headache ||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. This usually improves after the first week or so of using the inhaler, but if it continues after this, speak with your doctor |
|Cough, palpitations (feeling of a fast heartbeat) ||If either of these becomes troublesome, speak with your doctor |
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this inhaler, discuss these with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store formoterol
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.