Advair (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol)

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: June 2023

Advair® (fluticasone propionate and salmeterol) is an inhaled medicine that is commonly used to treat asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).1,2

Advair is available as an inhaled drug in 2 different forms:1,2

  • Advair Diskus – This form contains powder for inhalation. It can be used to treat asthma in adults and children ages 4 years or older, as well as COPD in adults.
  • Advair HFA – This is an inhalation aerosol solution or metered-dose inhaler. It can be used for asthma in adults and children 12 years or older. Advair HFA is not approved to treat COPD but is sometimes used off-label.

It is important to take Advair every day as instructed by your doctor. In addition to Advair, your doctor may prescribe you a second inhaler to use as a rescue inhaler.1-3

How does Advair work?

The active ingredients of Advair work together to help improve breathing and reduce asthma flares:1,2

  • Fluticasone propionate is a steroid. It works by reducing inflammation in the airways.
  • Salmeterol is a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA). It works by relaxing the muscles around the airways to help open them up.

What are the ingredients in Advair?

The active ingredients in Advair are fluticasone propionate and salmeterol.1,2

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Advair include:1,2

  • Throat irritation
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Hoarseness/voice changes
  • Fungal infection (thrush) of the mouth
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting

Advair can also cause rare but serious side effects, including:1,2

  • Pneumonia
  • Immunosuppression
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Paradoxical bronchospasm (unexpected airway tightening, which can be life-threatening)
  • Immediate hypersensitivity reaction
  • Changes in blood pressure or heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Bone thinning or weakness with long-term use
  • Eye problems

If you experience symptoms of airway tightening, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face/mouth/lips/tongue, or skin reactions, stop using Advair and contact 911 right away.

These are not all the possible side effects of Advair. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or if you experience any changes that concern you during treatment with Advair.

Other things to know

Do not use Advair if you have a severe allergy to milk protein.1,2

If you have heart problems or high blood pressure, your doctor will evaluate you to decide if Advair is safe for you.1,2

Advair can affect growth in children. Doctors will regularly monitor the growth of children taking Advair.1,2

Advair can suppress the immune system since it contains the steroid fluticasone. Tell your doctor if you have a tuberculosis infection or untreated bacterial, viral, or fungal infection before taking Advair.1,2

When you take Advair, get regular eye exams. Advair can increase the risk for glaucoma and cataracts.1,2

After using your Advair inhaler, rinse your mouth with water to help prevent a fungal infection of the mouth. Do not swallow the water.1,2

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using Advair. Advair should be used during pregnancy only if your doctor decides that the potential benefit outweighs any possible risks to your unborn baby.1,2

Advair may interact with certain drugs, including:1,2

  • Beta-blockers
  • Diuretics
  • MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) antidepressants or tricyclic antidepressants
  • Clarithromycin
  • Antifungals like itraconazole or ketoconazole
  • Protease inhibitors like ritonavir, atazanavir, saquinavir

Before beginning treatment with Advair, tell your doctor or asthma specialist about all your health conditions and any other drugs, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Advair Diskus and Advair HFA.

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