Combination Products

Combination inhalers to treat asthma

Are you concerned that you may be on more asthma medication than you need? Check with your healthcare provider. As asthma symptoms come under control, your doctor may recommend “stepping down” from a combination-ingredient inhaler to a single-ingredient inhaler like QVAR®, an ICS (inhaled corticosteroid).

Combination inhalers contain two drugs:

  • An ICS (inhaled corticosteroid)
  • A LABA (long-acting beta agonist)

The FDA recommends that combination inhalers (containing ICS and LABA) should only be prescribed, if necessary, for1:

  • Patients whose asthma is not adequately controlled on a daily asthma control medication, such as an ICS
  • Patients whose disease severity clearly warrants combination therapy

Step-down asthma therapy

If you're on combination therapy, once it feels like you've achieved and maintained asthma control, your doctor may recommend “step-down therapy” to a single-medicine ICS, like QVAR®, if it is possible to do so while still maintaining asthma control.1

Your doctor may ask you to:

  • Assess symptoms at regular intervals
  • Begin step-down therapy (i.e., discontinue your combination therapy), if possible without loss of asthma control
  • Continue treatment with a daily asthma control medication, such as an ICS (inhaled corticosteroid)

Get answers to frequently asked questions.

Approved Uses
QVAR® (beclomethasone dipropionate HFA) Inhalation Aerosol is used in the ongoing treatment of asthma as preventative therapy in patients 5 years of age or older.

Important Safety Information
  • QVAR does not replace quick-relief inhalers for sudden symptoms
  • Do not use QVAR if you are allergic to beclomethasone dipropionate or any of the ingredients in QVAR
  • Do not use QVAR more often than it is prescribed. Do not stop taking QVAR abruptly without talking to your healthcare provider
  • QVAR may cause serious side effects, including:
    • Fungal infections (thrush). Tell your healthcare provider if you have any redness or white-colored patches in your mouth or throat. Rinse your mouth with water without swallowing after using QVAR to help prevent an infection in your mouth or throat
    • Worsening asthma or sudden asthma attacks. After using your rescue inhaler, contact your healthcare provider right away if you do not get relief from your sudden asthma attacks
    • Reduced adrenal function. This potentially life-threatening condition can happen when you stop taking oral corticosteroid medicines and start using QVAR. Tell your healthcare provider right away about any symptoms such as: tiredness, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and dizziness or faintness
    • Immune system effects or infection. Tell your healthcare provider about any signs or symptoms, such as: fever, pain, body aches, chills, feeling tired, nausea, or vomiting
    • Increased wheezing right after QVAR use. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden wheezing
    • Serious allergic reactions. Stop using QVAR and call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help right away if you get any of the following: hives; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; rash; or breathing problems
    • Slowed growth in children. Children should have their growth checked regularly while using QVAR
    • Lower bone density. This may be a problem for people who already have a higher chance for this condition
    • Eye problems. If you have had glaucoma, cataracts or blurred vision in the past, you should have regular eye exams while using QVAR
  • The most common side effects of QVAR include: headache, throat irritation, and sinus irritation

  • Please see full Prescribing Information

    You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Reference
  1. FDA Drug Safety Communication: New safety requirements for long-acting inhaled asthma medications called Long-Acting Beta Agonists (LABAs). Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm200776.htm. Accessed June 17, 2014.