Flovent (fluticasone propionate)

Flovent (fluticasone propionate) is an inhaled corticosteroid. Flovent is approved for the long-term treatment of asthma. Flovent is approved for people ages four years and up. It is made by GlaxoSmithKline. Flovent comes as a dry powder inhaler (Flovent Diskus) and metered dose inhaler (Flovent HFA).1,2

Do not take Flovent if you are having an asthma attack. It does not work quickly enough. Use a rescue inhaler (short-acting beta agonist) instead.

How does Flovent work?

Inhaled corticosteroids such as Flovent reduce inflammation in the airways.1,2 Corticosteroids affect many different types of inflammatory cells, including eosinophils and mast cells. They also affect signaling chemicals that have a role in inflammation such as histamine, leukotrienes, and cytokines.

How is Flovent Diskus taken?

Ask your health care provider or respiratory therapist to show you how to use your inhaler properly.

Flovent Diskus is an orange dry powder inhaler.1 It comes in strengths of 50, 100, and 250 mcg. It should be taken two times per day (Table 1).3 Take each dose about 12 hours apart and at the same time each day.3 For example, you might take Flovent at 8 am and 8 pm. Your health care provider will tell you how many inhalations to take.

Table 1. Using your Flovent Diskus

The steps for using your Flovent Diskus are:

  1. Hold your Diskus in your left hand in a flat, level position.
  2. Open the Diskus: Place your right thumb in the thumb grip and push the thumb grip away from you as far as it will go. The mouthpiece will show and snap into place.
  3. Slide the lever away from the mouthpiece as far as it will go until it clicks.
  4. Check that the number on the counter has decreased by 1.
  5. Turn away from the Diskus and breathe out until your lungs are empty. (If you breathe into the Diskus, you will lose the dose of medicine.)
  6. Put your lips on the mouthpiece. Breathe in quickly and deeply through your mouth. (You may not feel or taste the medicine. Do not take another dose.)
  7. Remove the Diskus from your mouth. Hold your breath for about 10 seconds before exhaling slowly.
  8. If you are taking more than one inhalation, repeat these steps.
  9. Slide the Diskus closed.
  10. Rinse your mouth with water and spit out the water. This step will help to prevent thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth.
Tips

  • Read the Patient Information that comes with your inhaler for complete instructions.

Flovent Diskus® [patient information]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline; 2014.

How is Flovent HFA taken?

Ask your health care provider or respiratory therapist to show you how to use your inhaler properly.

Flovent HFA is a dark orange metered dose inhaler.2 It comes in strengths of 44, 110, and 220 mcg. It should be taken two times per day (Table 2).4  Your health care provider will tell you how many puffs to take.

Before using the inhaler for the first time, you have to prime it. To prime the inhaler, shake it for five seconds. Turn it away from your face. Press the canister down and release one puff into the air. Shake and spray your inhaler three more times. You have to prime it again if you have not used the inhaler for seven days or have dropped it. In this case, shake for five seconds and spray the inhaler one time.

Table 2. Using your Flovent HFA metered dose inhaler

The steps for using your Flovent Diskus are:

  1. Shake the inhaler for 5 seconds.
  2. Breathe out until your lungs are empty.
  3. Put the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it.
  4. Begin to breathe in deeply and slowly through your mouth. Press the canister all the way down to release a “puff” as you breathe in. Once the puff comes out, take your finger off the canister.
  5. After you have inhaled fully, take the inhaler out of your mouth. Keep your mouth closed and hold your breath for 10 seconds before exhaling slowly.
  6. Wait 30 seconds. Shake the inhaler again and repeat.
  7. Rinse your mouth with water and spit out the water. This step will help to prevent thrush, a fungal infection of the mouth.
Tips

  • Read the Patient Information that comes with your inhaler for complete instructions.
  • The inhaler is best used at room temperature.
  • You can use a spacer or valved holding chamber with a metered dose inhaler. These devices help the medications to get into your lungs.

Flovent ® HFA [patient information]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline; 2014.

What should I do if I miss a dose of Flovent?

If you miss a dose of Flovent, just skip that dose. Take the next dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses at once.3,4

What are the recommendations for storing, cleaning, and discarding Flovent?

Flovent Diskus comes in a foil pouch.1 It should be stored in the unopened pouch until the first use. Keep the Flovent Diskus at room temperature (68˚F and 77˚F) in a dry place, away from sunlight or heat. Do not take your Diskus apart or try to wash it. Throw the Diskus away when the counter reads 00.  You have used all the medication in it.

Flovent HFA comes as an inhaler with a separate metal canister containing the medication.2  Do not use the Flovent inhaler with other medications. Do not use other inhalers with the Flovent canister. Clean your Flovent inhaler once per week.4 Use a clean, damp cotton swap to clean the small opening where the medicine sprays out. Wipe the mouthpiece with a damp, clean tissue and allow the inhaler to air dry. Throw away the canister and inhaler when the counter reads 000. You have used all the medication. Store your Flovent HFA at room temperature (68˚F and 77˚F). Avoid high heat or flames.

What are the possible side effects of taking Flovent?

Taking Flovent could cause your airways to tighten suddenly (“bronchospasm”).1,2 This side effect can happen right after using the inhaler. Take your rescue inhaler and call your health care provider.

Common side effects of Flovent are colds, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, fever, headache, diarrhea, and ear infection.3,4

Inhaled corticosteroids, such as Flovent, can cause thrush, a fungal infection in your mouth.1,2 You can help to prevent this by rinsing your mouth with water after using the inhaler and spitting out the water.

Corticosteroids can lower your immune system, so you are more likely to get an infection.3,4 Avoid contact with people who have chickenpox, measles, or other contagious diseases. Let your provider know if you have any infections, including tuberculosis or herpes simplex of the eye.1,2

Children who use corticosteroids may grow more slowly.1,2 Your child’s growth should be checked regularly.

Are there people who should not take Flovent?

Do not take Flovent if you are having an asthma attack.1,2 Flovent does not work quickly enough. A rescue inhaler should be used instead.

People with a severe milk allergy should not use Flovent Diskus.3 If you are allergic to any ingredient in Flovent, you should not take this medication.

Tell your health care provider if you have had problems with your liver, eyes, immune system, or osteoporosis.3,4 Taking corticosteroids may worsen these conditions. Extra monitoring or an alternative treatment may be needed.1,2 Tell your health care provider about any prescription medications you take, particularly oral corticosteroids, antifungals, or anti-HIV medications. Let your provider know about over-the-counter medications or supplements that you take.

Flovent has not been well studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women.3,4 Little is known about whether this medication passes into breast milk. Talk to your doctor about if you become pregnant or wish to breastfeed while taking Flovent.

What evidence do we have that Flovent works?

Flovent Diskus was compared with a fake treatment (placebo) in four high-quality studies of people ages 12 years and up.1 The studies included 1,036 people. Study participants were:

  • People with asthma that was not well controlled even though they were taking asthma medications that open the airways.
  • People taking inhaled corticosteroids.
  • People with severe asthma who needed oral corticosteroids.

People treated with Flovent Diskus had better lung function than the people who got placebo. These benefits continue for a year or more with ongoing treatment. People who received Flovent were less likely to need rescue medication frequently or wake up at night because of asthma. Many people with severe asthma who got Flovent were able to stop taking their oral corticosteroids. They also had better lung function and fewer symptoms than the placebo group. The results of studies in 941 children were similar.

Studies of Flovent HFA were similar to the studies of Flovent Diskus.2 Flovent HFA was compared with placebo in three high-quality studies of 980 people ages 12 years and up. The results showed that Flovent HFA improved lung function and reduced oral corticosteroid use. People who received Flovent HFA needed less rescue medications and woke up less often due to asthma.

Is there a generic alternative to Flovent?

There is no generic alternative to Flovent.

Written by: Sarah O'Brien | Last Reviewed: May 2016.
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