Frequently Asked Questions About Asthma and QVAR®
What is an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)?
What is the difference between a quick-relief inhaler and a control inhaler like QVAR®?
What is asthma?
What causes asthma?
How does inflammation affect the lungs?
What can happen if your asthma is not well controlled?
How is asthma diagnosed?
How can I control my asthma?
What is the advantage of a small-particle ICS?
Can QVAR® treat asthma in children?
How do I use my QVAR® inhaler?
When do I use my QVAR® inhaler?
What do I need to know about using other medications while using QVAR®?
What are the side effects of QVAR®?
Is QVAR® the same as combination products?
Corticosteroids are medicines that control inflammation. Inhaled corticosteroids (or ICSs) are a type of corticosteroid that you breathe in to control inflammation in your breathing tubes (or airways).1
Quick-relief inhalers are used when you have asthma flare-ups or trouble breathing. If you need to use your quick-relief inhaler more than two times a week, you may need to add an asthma control medicine like QVAR®
A control inhaler is one you take every day—usually once in the morning and once at night. Control inhalers usually control asthma by treating the underlying inflammation. You should not use a control inhaler to treat an acute asthma attack.1
Asthma is a disease that makes it hard to breathe. People with asthma may cough or make a whistling or wheezing sound when they breathe, but not everyone has the same symptoms. Asthma affects your airways (the tubes that carry air into your lungs). Asthma causes the airways to become narrow or blocked when you have an attack (or "exacerbation").1
A number of factors play a role in causing asthma, including genes, the presence of certain allergens during early childhood, viral respiratory infections, pollution, and stress. For some people, these factors lead to airways that are more likely to be inflamed and to react to asthma triggers like smoke, pet dander, or exercise.1
Inflammation makes the airways in your lungs more sensitive to asthma triggers like pollen, smoke, and pet dander. It also can limit the amount of air that can flow through the airways. Inflammation is also associated with changes in the structure of the airways over time. Even when people with asthma don't have symptoms, their airways may still be inflamed.1
Controlling inflammation is an important part of keeping asthma symptoms under control. Asthma control medications
help reduce inflammation and help improve lung function2-4
for many people with asthma.
When your asthma is not well controlled, there can be a number of consequences. Your asthma symptoms may become more frequent, and you may be more likely to have an asthma attack. You are also at greater risk for needing to go to the emergency room or being hospitalized. Your asthma symptoms may keep you up at night. Poorly controlled asthma can affect your quality of life.1
Asthma is diagnosed based on your symptoms, your medical history, and a physical exam of your nose, throat, lungs, chest, and skin. You may also have a breathing test called "spirometry."1
Many patients are given a quick-relief asthma medicine to see if it helps their breathing.1
Your healthcare provider will give you a diagnosis based on your answers to the questions and the results of any tests you take.
You can control asthma in two ways: by limiting exposure to asthma triggers like smoke, pollen, dust, or pet dander; and by treating the inflammation in your lungs. By reducing the inflammation in your airways
with an asthma control medication like QVAR®
, you can reduce the chance of having an asthma attack.
Your airways are tubes that let air reach all the parts of your lung. The airways become smaller as they go deeper into the lungs. A small-particle ICS can reach more of these small airways, providing medicine to more of the lung.
is approved for use in children aged 5 and older. It is also approved for use in adults.
You should always use your QVAR®
inhaler according to the instructions for use.
If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
As with all aerosol medications, prime the QVAR®
inhaler before using it for the first time. In addition, prime the QVAR®
inhaler if you haven't used it in the last 10 days or longer.
You should take QVAR®
as your doctor has prescribed. The usual regimen is twice a day. You may want to take QVAR®
at the same time you do other daily activities, like brushing your teeth or taking other medicines.
Make sure that your healthcare provider knows about all the medications you are taking, as well as any dietary supplements or herbal remedies you may use. Depending on which medicines you are using, your doctor may adjust your dose of one or more medications.
In clinical trials, the most common side effects were headache and sore throat.5
If you have any side effects that you think may be associated with QVAR®
, you should talk to your healthcare provider. Please review all of the Important Safety Information.
is different from combination products. There is only one drug in QVAR®
. The drug in QVAR®
is an inhaled corticosteroid (or ICS). ICSs are the first choice in asthma control medications for many patients.1
Some asthma medications contain a combination of an ICS and a long-acting beta agonist (or LABA). When used for the treatment of asthma, LABAs alone are associated with an increased risk of severe exacerbation of asthma symptoms, which may lead to hospitalizations or death in some patients.6
It is not known whether combining LABAs with ICSs reduces the risk of death from asthma problems seen with LABAs.
Because of this risk, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently stated that combination products should only be used for patients whose asthma is not adequately controlled on a long-term asthma control medication such as an ICS. Once asthma is under control, your doctor may recommend a "step-down" to just an ICS, if it is possible to do so while still maintaining asthma control.6
(beclomethasone dipropionate HFA) Inhalation Aerosol is used in the ongoing treatment of asthma as preventative therapy in patients 5 years of age or older.
is also used for asthma patients who require systemic corticosteroid administration, where adding QVAR®
may reduce or eliminate the need for systemic corticosteroids.
does not replace quick-relief inhalers for sudden symptoms.
CAUTION: If you are stopping or switching from an oral corticosteroid to QVAR®, follow your doctor's instructions to avoid health risks. (See WARNINGS, Prescribing Information).
Inhaled corticosteroids may cause a reduction in growth rate, so children taking QVAR®
should have their growth checked regularly. The long-term effect on final adult growth is unknown.
Do not stop taking QVAR®
abruptly without talking to your doctor.
In clinical studies, common side effects included headache and sore throat. These are not all of the possible side effects of QVAR®
. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
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