How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Beclomethasone inhaler belongs to the group of medications called inhaled corticosteroids, which help prevent asthma attacks by decreasing inflammation in the lungs and thereby opening the airways. When used regularly every day, inhaled beclomethasone decreases the number and severity of asthma attacks. However, it will not relieve an asthma attack that has already started.
After starting the medication, you should see improvement in asthma symptoms in about 1 to 2 weeks. It may take 3 to 4 weeks to see the full benefits. If you do not notice any improvement in your asthma symptoms after 1 week, contact your doctor.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are using this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop using this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to use this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each pressurized, metered-dose inhaler actuation, intended for oral inhalation only, delivers beclomethasone dipropionate 50 µg from the valve, equivalent to beclomethasone dipropionate 40 µg from the actuator. Nonmedicinal ingredients: HFA-134a propellant (hydrofluoroalkane-134a or 1,1,1, 2 tetrafluoroethane) and ethanol. This medication does not contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Particle size of the emitted aerosol spray is 1 to 1.2 microns.
Each pressurized, metered-dose inhaler actuation, intended for oral inhalation only, delivers beclomethasone dipropionate 100 µg from the valve, equivalent to beclomethasone dipropionate 80 µg from the actuator. Nonmedicinal ingredients: HFA-134a propellant (hydrofluoroalkane-134a or 1,1,1, 2 tetrafluoroethane) and ethanol. This medication does not contain chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Particle size of the emitted aerosol spray is 1 to 1.2 microns.
How should I use this medication?
The dose of beclomethasone inhaler should be individualized. The dose used should be the lowest one required to control asthma symptoms.
For adults and children over 12 years of age, the usual dose ranges from 50 µg to 400 µg twice daily (the number of inhalations varies depending on strength of medication used).
For children 5 to 11 years of age, the usual dose is 50 µg to 100 µg twice daily.
Once your asthma symptoms are controlled, your doctor may suggest that you reduce the dose gradually to ensure you are using the lowest dose needed.
Inhaled beclomethasone is used to prevent asthma attacks. It is not used to relieve an attack that has already started. For relief of an asthma attack that has already started, you should use a "reliever" medication. If you do not have another medication to use for an attack or if you have any questions about this, check with your health care professional.
If your doctor has asked you to use a "reliever" inhaler such as salbutamol or terbutaline with your beclomethasone inhaler, you should use the reliever inhaler first, wait several minutes, and then use the beclomethasone inhaler. The reliever medication will provide immediate relief of symptoms of the asthma attack, while the beclomethasone inhalation works to treat and control asthma regularly.
See the package insert or speak with your pharmacist for instructions on using the inhaler properly.
Rinsing your mouth and gargling with water after each dose can help prevent hoarseness, throat irritation, and infection in the mouth caused by candidiasis (a type of yeast infection of the mouth, also known as "thrush"). If you have dentures, they should be cleaned after each dose.
Use this medication only as directed. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than what your doctor recommended. Doing so may increase the chance of side effects.
Many things can affect the dose of a medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are using the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to use this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, administer it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not administer a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice. Also do not stop using beclomethasone inhaler suddenly without talking to your doctor.
Store this medication at room temperature and keep it out of the reach of children. Do not puncture the canister and do not store the medication near heat or an open flame. The canister may burst if it is exposed to high temperatures.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not use the beclomethasone inhaler if you:
- are allergic to beclomethasone or to any of the ingredients of the medication
- have moderate-to-severe bronchiectasis (a condition where airways are damaged), status asthmaticus (a severe asthma attack that does not respond to standard treatment), or an acute asthma attack
- have untreated fungal, bacterial, or tuberculosis infections of the lung
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- hoarseness, voice change
- increased number of infections
- mouth, tongue, or throat irritation
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- behaviour changes (e.g., hyperactivity, irritability)
- inability to speak
- joint pain with limited motion
- osteoporosis or bone fractures
- pins and needles or numbness of arms or legs, sinus pain and congestion, worsening breathing problems (Churg-Strauss Syndrome)
- signs of respiratory tract infection (e.g., fever or chills, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, weight loss, tightness in chest, difficulty breathing, or wheezing)
- signs of too much corticosteroid (e.g., round face, rapid weight gain, increased sweating, thinning of skin, muscle weakness)
- signs of thrush (e.g., white patches in mouth and throat, sore throat)
- skin bruising
- slowed growth (children and adolescents)
- swelling of face, lips, or eyelids
- symptoms of glaucoma or cataracts (e.g., blurred vision, seeing halos of bright colours around lights, red eyes, increased pressure in your eyes, eye pain or discomfort)
- symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g., frequent urination, increased thirst, excessive eating, unexplained weight loss, poor wound healing, infections, fruity breath odour)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., difficulty breathing, skin rash, swelling of the lips, tongue, throat, or face)
- worsening asthma symptoms even after using your reliever medication
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Asthma attacks: This medication is not a "reliever" medication. If you start developing asthma symptoms, be sure to use your "reliever" medication for rapid relief of your asthma symptoms. It is very important that you have your "reliever" medication with you at all times. If you persistently use more of your "reliever" medication, contact your doctor.
Bone effects: Long-term use of corticosteroids such as beclomethasone may affect bone density and increase the risk of fracture. Your doctor will monitor your bone health while you are taking this medication.
Eye problems: If you have glaucoma or cataracts or are at risk of developing them, have your eyes checked by your doctor before starting long-term treatment with this medication. Have your eyes monitored at regular intervals while using this medication.
Growth effects: Long-term use of corticosteroids, including inhaled forms such as this medication, may slow the growth of children and adolescents. It is important to use the lowest effective dose for managing asthma symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Infections: Corticosteroids such as beclomethasone may worsen existing infections, mask the signs of infection, and increase the risk of new infections, especially for people who are also taking medications that suppress the immune system (e.g., azathioprine, cancer medications, cyclosporine). If you use this medication for several months or longer, your doctor will monitor you periodically for signs of infection. If you have not had chicken pox or measles or have not been vaccinated against these infections, take special care to avoid exposure to them.
Medical conditions: If you have a thyroid disorder or liver disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Oral hygiene: Adequate oral hygiene is very important in minimizing the overgrowth of microorganisms such as candidiasis (thrush). Proper oral hygiene includes rinsing your mouth with water after using the inhaler. Using a spacer device with the inhaler can greatly reduce how much medication stays in your mouth. Thrush infections, should they occur, may require treatment with appropriate antifungal therapy or the discontinuance of treatment with fluticasone, depending on the severity of the infections.
Steroid medication use: If you have taken or are still taking oral steroid medications over the last several months, consult with your doctor before using this medication. In times of stress or during a severe asthma attack, your doctor may want you to start your oral steroid medication again.
Stopping medication: Do not stop this medication abruptly, as this may cause your condition to get worse. When this medication is stopped, it should be stopped gradually as directed by your doctor.
Worsening of asthma: Increasing use of your bronchodilators (e.g., salbutamol) to control asthma symptoms is an indication that your asthma may be worsening. Sudden and progressive worsening in asthma control is potentially life-threatening, and consideration should be given to increasing the dose of fluticasone inhalation. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about how to properly monitor for symptoms of worsening asthma.
Wheezing: This medication may cause the airways to spasm immediately after using the inhaler. If this happens, use your rescue inhaler as soon as possible to relieve the symptoms, then call your doctor as soon as possible.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: This medication passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking beclomethasone, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 5 years or age.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between beclomethasone inhaler and any of the following:
- amphotericin B
- ASA (acetylsalicylic acid)
- diabetes medications (e.g., chlorpropamide, glipizide, glyburide, insulin, metformin, nateglinide, rosiglitazone)
- diuretics (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, indapamide)
- other steroid medications (e.g., prednisone, fluticasone, budesonide)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.