Salmeterol Oral Inhalation
(sal me' te role)
In a large clinical study, more patients with asthma who used salmeterol experienced severe episodes of asthma that had to be treated in a hospital or caused death than patients with asthma who did not use salmeterol. If you have asthma, use of salmeterol may increase the chance that you will experience serious or fatal asthma problems.
Your doctor will only prescribe salmeterol if your asthma is so severe that two medications are needed to control it. You should never use salmeterol alone; you must always use it along with another asthma controller medication. Children and teenagers who need to be treated with salmeterol will probably be treated with a product that combines salmeterol and another medication in a single inhaler to make it easier for them to use both medications as prescribed.
Because of the risks of using salmeterol, you should only use salmeterol as long as it is needed to bring your asthma symptoms under control. Once your asthma is controlled, your doctor will probably tell you to stop using salmeterol but continue using the other asthma medication.
Do not use salmeterol if you have asthma that is quickly getting worse. Tell your doctor if you have had many severe asthma attacks or if you have ever been hospitalized because of asthma symptoms. If you have any of the following signs of worsening asthma, call your doctor immediately:
Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication.
Your doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with salmeterol and each time you refill your prescription. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You can also visit the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website ( Web Site) or the manufacturer's website to obtain the Medication Guide.
WHY is this medicine prescribed?
Salmeterol is used to treat wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness caused by asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema). It also is used to prevent bronchospasm (breathing difficulties) during exercise. Salmeterol is in a class of medications called long-acting beta agonists (LABAs). It works by relaxing and opening air passages in the lungs, making it easier to breathe.
HOW should this medicine be used?
Salmeterol comes as a dry powder to inhale by mouth using a specially designed inhaler. When salmeterol is used to treat asthma or COPD, it is usually used twice a day, in the morning and evening, about 12 hours apart. Use salmeterol at around the same times every day. When salmeterol is used to prevent breathing difficulties during exercise, it is usually used at least 30 minutes before exercise, but not more often than once every 12 hours. If you are using salmeterol twice a day on a regular basis, do not use another dose before exercising. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use salmeterol exactly as directed. Do not use more or less of it or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Talk to your doctor about how you should take your other oral or inhaled medications for asthma during your treatment with salmeterol. If you were taking a corticosteroid (a type of medication used to prevent airway swelling in patients with asthma), you doctor will probably tell you to continue taking it just as you did before you began using salmeterol. If you were using a short acting beta agonist inhaler such as albuterol (Proventil, Ventolin) on a regular basis, your doctor will probably tell you to stop using it regularly, but to continue to use it to treat sudden attacks of asthma symptoms. Follow these directions carefully. Do not change the way you use any of your medications without talking to your doctor.
Do not use salmeterol during an attack of asthma or COPD. Your doctor will prescribe a short-acting inhaler to use during attacks.
Salmeterol controls the symptoms of asthma and other lung diseases but does not cure these conditions. Do not stop using salmeterol without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop using salmeterol, your symptoms may worsen.
Before you use the salmeterol inhaler the first time, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist to show you how to use it. Practice using the inhaler while he or she watches.
To use the inhaler, follow these steps:
Never exhale into the inhaler, take the inhaler apart, or wash the mouthpiece or any part of the inhaler. Keep the inhaler dry. Do not use the inhaler with a spacer.
Are there OTHER USES for this medicine?
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS should I follow?
Before using salmeterol,
What SPECIAL DIETARY instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What should I do IF I FORGET to take a dose?
Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not inhale a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What SIDE EFFECTS can this medicine cause?
Salmeterol may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Salmeterol may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
What should I know about STORAGE and DISPOSAL of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away the inhaler 6 weeks after you remove it from the foil overwrap or after every blister has been used (when the dose indicator reads 0), whichever comes first. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
What should I do in case of OVERDOSE?
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
What OTHER INFORMATION should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.