COPD Home > Understanding How Fluticasone Inhalers Work and Treatment Tips
How Does the Fluticasone Inhaler Work?
Normally, air moves easily into and out of the lungs through a network of airways. But, if you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating (see Asthma Triggers). When the airways react, a few things happen: the muscles around these airways tighten, inflammation inside the airways increases, and cells inside the airways produce more mucus. This narrows the airways and makes it harder to breathe.
The fluticasone inhaler is 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 airways that makes asthma attacks more likely. Because fluticasone inhalers do not work quickly, they should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, the medicine is used twice a day in order to prevent asthma attacks.
Because fluticasone inhaler delivers the medication directly into the lungs, the rest of the body is exposed to lower steroid levels than is the case when taking steroids by mouth. This helps reduce or eliminate many of the side effects associated with long-term steroid use.
(Click Asthma Treatment for information about other medicines used for treating asthma.)
Effects of the Fluticasone Inhaler
In previous clinical studies, people using fluticasone inhalers had improvements in breathing and asthma symptoms, compared to those not using the fluticasone inhaler. In these studies, people already taking oral steroids for asthma were able to decrease or eliminate their oral steroid when they began using a fluticasone inhaler.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
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Flovent Diskus [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2006 November.
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 11, 2007.
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 11, 2007.
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