Alvesco (ciclesonide)

AlvescoⓇ is approved for long-term treatment of asthma in people 12 years of age and older. It is an inhaled corticosteroid that reduces inflammation in the airway. This can prevent and control symptoms of asthma.

Do not use Alvesco to treat an asthma attack or if you are allergic to ingredients in Alvesco. Ask your doctor how to take Alvesco and tell them about any medical conditions you have or medications you take.

What are the ingredients in Alvesco?

The active ingredient in Alvesco is a chemical called ciclesonide. This is a type of man-made corticosteroid (steroid). Steroids are natural chemicals in the body that reduce inflammation.1

How does Alvesco work?

In general, steroids work by reducing inflammation in the airways. We do not yet know how this reduces symptoms of asthma.1

After oral inhalation, your body converts ciclesonide to des-ciclesonide. This chemical activates a protein in your cells called a “glucocorticoid receptor.” Once activated, these receptors increase anti-inflammatory proteins and chemicals in your cells.1

What are the possible side effects of Alvesco?

Inhaled steroids may cause thrush, a fungal infection in your mouth. Rinsing your mouth after inhaling Alvesco can help prevent infections. Tell your doctor if you notice symptoms of thrush, such as:1,2

  • Discomfort or pain in your throat
  • Hoarse voice
  • Redness or white patches in your mouth

Alvesco and other corticosteroids may lower the immune system. This can increase your risk of infections. Avoid contact with people who have a contagious disease. Make sure you are up-to-date on all vaccinations. Talk to your doctor if you notice symptoms of an infection, such as:1,2

  • Fever
  • Aches and pains
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you take oral steroids and are switching to Alvesco, your doctor will monitor you for “adrenal insufficiency.” This happens when your adrenal glands do not make enough steroid hormones. This can be a life-threatening condition. Talk to your doctor if you notice symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, such as:1,2

  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting that do not go away

Other potential side effects of Alvesco include:1,2

  • Low bone density
  • Slow growth in children
  • Eye problems, such as glaucoma or cataracts
  • Increased wheezing and tightness in the chest (bronchospasm)
  • Headache
  • Swelling of nose and throat
  • Swelling of sinuses
  • Sore throat
  • Joint pain
  • Stuffy nose
  • Pain in arms, legs, and back

These are not all the possible side effects of Alvesco. Talk to your doctor if you experience any changes in symptoms during treatment.

What else should I know about Alvesco?

Alvesco is taken by oral inhalation. Ask your doctor how to use, store, clean, and discard your inhaler. They will also tell you what dose is right for you. The inhaler must be “primed” before using it for the first time or if it has not been used for 10 days. To prime the inhaler, hold it upright away from your face and release 3 puffs.1,2

It may take 4 weeks or longer to experience maximum benefits. Do not stop using Alvesco unless your doctor tells you to. Once your symptoms improve, your doctor will lower your dosage to reduce the risk of side effects.1,2

Alvesco should not be used to treat asthma attacks. It is not a rescue inhaler and will not work quickly enough.

Before taking Alvesco, talk to your doctor about your full medical history, including:1,2

  • Eye problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts
  • History of infections, such as tuberculosis or ocular herpes simplex
  • Your vaccination history
  • Any prescription medications you take, especially oral steroid medications
  • Any over-the-counter medications and supplements you take
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
  • If you are allergic to any ingredient in Alvesco

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Alvesco.

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Written by: Matt Zajac | Last reviewed: July 2021