Advair is an oral medication prescribed for individuals suffering from asthma and COPD, and is used to treat the two main components of asthma – airway constriction and inflammation. Advair combines fluticasone and salmeterol to prevent wheezing, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Fluticasone is in a class of medications called steroids and is supposed to reduce swelling in the airways, while salmeterol is in a class of medications called long-acting beta-agonists and is supposed to relax and open air passages in the lungs, making it easier to breathe.
Advair contains both a medicine for inflammation, an inhaled corticosteroid, as well as a medicine for airway constriction, an inhaled bronchodilator. Unlike just taking a medicine for inflammation, patients often notice the effects from the bronchodilator early – usually in the first hour or so.
Advair is approved by the FDA for the maintenance treatment of asthma as prophylactic therapy and for patients requiring oral corticosteroid therapy for asthma.
Whilst the use of inhaled steroids and long acting beta-adrenoceptor agonist (LABA) are recommended in asthma guidelines for the resulting improved symptom control, concerns have been raised that salmeterol may increase the risk of asthma deaths. This seems to occur because although LABAs relieve asthma symptoms, they also promote bronchial inflammation and sensitivity without warning. Other side effects of Advair include increased blood pressure, change in heart rate, and/or an irregular heartbeat.
The FDA issued a black-box safety warning that was added to Advair labels in 2003 for asthma “long-acting beta-agonist” or LABA treatments Serevent Diskus (salmeterol xinafoate) and Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate; salmeterol xinafoate), based upon preliminary results of the Salmeterol Multicenter Asthma Research Trial. A Serevent study concluded that a small number of patients experienced severe exacerbations of their asthma after taking the drug. In a clinical trial, thirteen people died out of a group of 13,176 people taking salmeterol.
‘Cutivate Cream’ is contraindicated in those patients with a history of hypersensitivity to any of the components of fluticasone.
What is a LABA? Long-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonist
The long-acting beta-agonists (LABAs) are long-term (10-16 hour) bronchodilator medicines that help to relax the muscles around the airways in your lungs. LABAs have been proven effective in reducing the frequency of asthma episodes, but according to the new safety data may make asthma episodes more severe when they do occur. A LABA will not relieve sudden breathing problems and is not a substitute for a short-acting rescue inhaler. Serevent Diskus (salmeterol xinafoate) and Foradil Aerolizer (formoterol fumarate inhalation powder) are two LABA medicines. Advair Diskus (fluticasone propionate; salmeterol xinafoate) is a combination inhaled corticosteroid and LABA medicine.
Are there health risks involved with taking Advair?
Yes. Risks can include:
- Immune system effect and a higher chance for infections
- Lower bone mineral density. This may be a problem for people who already have a higher chance for low bone density (osteoporosis).
- Eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts
- Slowed growth in children
- Increased blood pressure
- Fast and irregular heartbeat
- Allergic reactions including, rash, hives, and swelling of the face, mouth, and tongue
- Throat irritation
Am I at immediate risk by taking LABA medications?
No, you are not at immediate risk. It is recommended you discuss with your physician the severity of your asthma symptoms and optimum level of management. Accepted asthma clinical guidelines recommend inhaled corticosteroids, which reduce airway swelling, as the preferred first step in controller therapy for mild to moderate persistent asthma. However, if you have experienced health problems after using LABA medicines, such as Advair, discuss these symptoms immediately with your physician.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Advair?
Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Advair, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Advair lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.