COPD Home > How Effective Is the Advair Diskus and How Does It Work?
The following sections describe the results of clinical studies involving the Advair Diskus and its effects on asthma and COPD.
In clinical studies involving the Advair Diskus and asthma, the medicine was shown to improve breathing better than when either of the active ingredients of Advair (fluticasone or salmeterol) was used alone. Sometimes, asthma medications can make asthma symptoms worse. In one study, only 3 percent of people taking the Advair Diskus had to stop the medication due to worsening asthma, compared to 11 percent of those taking fluticasone alone, 35 percent of those taking salmeterol alone, and 49 percent of those taking neither medication.
In studies of the Advair Diskus for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the Advair Diskus was given to people with COPD associated with chronic bronchitis. People taking the Advair Diskus showed improved lung function, compared to those not taking the medication.
How Does It Work?
The Advair Diskus contains two different medications -- fluticasone and salmeterol. Salmeterol is part of a class of drugs called beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, or beta agonists for short. Beta agonists stimulate beta receptors in the body, including those on the muscles around the airways. This stimulation causes the muscles to relax, which opens up the airways and allows more air to get into and through the lungs.
The other component of the Advair Diskus is fluticasone, an asthma medication that belongs to a group of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short. Inhaled steroids go directly into the lungs and help to decrease the inflammation of the airways that makes asthma attacks more likely.
Because the Advair Diskus does not work quickly, it should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, it is used twice a day in order to prevent asthma attacks.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Advair Diskus [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2007 February.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 13, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 13, 2007.
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