Fluticasone propionate

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

Fluticasone propionate is an inhaled corticosteroid that reduces airway inflammation. It is used for long-term treatment of asthma in people 4 years of age and older. Fluticasone propionate comes as a dry powder inhaler or a metered-dose inhaler.1

This drug was recently sold under the brand name Flovent®.1

Fluticasone propionate prevents inflammation. During an acute asthma attack, you should continue fluticasone propionate as instructed by your doctor. Fluticasone will not help with immediate relief from asthma symptoms. A rescue inhaler should be used in addition to fluticasone propionate during an acute attack to provide relief.1

How does fluticasone propionate work?

Fluticasone propionate is the active ingredient and is a type of synthetic corticosteroid. Corticosteroids are natural chemicals in the body. They reduce inflammation in the airway by blocking the action of pro-inflammatory processes. This reduces symptoms of asthma, but it may take some time for symptoms to improve.1

Fluticasone propionate activates a protein in your cells called a glucocorticoid receptor. After activation, these receptors increase anti-inflammatory proteins and chemicals in your body.2,3

What are the possible side effects?

The most common side effects of Flovent include:2,3

  • Allergic reactions
  • Airway tightening and increased wheezing (bronchospasm)
  • Low bone density
  • Slow growth in children
  • Eye problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Throat irritation
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infection

Inhaled corticosteroids like fluticasone propionate can cause thrush. This is a fungal infection in the mouth and throat. Rinsing your mouth and regularly cleaning your inhaler after inhaling fluticasone propionate can help prevent thrush. Contact your doctor if you notice symptoms of thrush, such as:2,3

  • Throat discomfort or pain
  • Hoarse voice
  • Red or white patches in your mouth

Corticosteroids can weaken your immune system. This makes you more likely to get an infection. Avoid contact with people who have chickenpox, measles, or other contagious diseases. Contact your doctor if you notice any symptoms of an infection, such as:2,3

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

Fluticasone propionate can also make current infections worse. Tell your doctor if you have any infections, including tuberculosis or herpes simplex virus.2,3

These are not all the possible side effects of fluticasone propionate. Talk to your doctor about what to expect when taking fluticasone propionate. You also should call your doctor if you have any changes that concern you when taking fluticasone propionate.

Other things to know

Take fluticasone propionate exactly as your doctor describes. They will show you how to use, store, and clean your inhaler.2,3

Your doctor will determine your fluticasone propionate dosage based on your age and other medicines. You may not feel symptom relief for a few weeks after starting treatment. Once your asthma stabilizes, your doctor will lower your dose to reduce the risk of side effects.1-3

If symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks, your doctor may increase your fluticasone propionate dosage. Do not stop taking fluticasone propionate unless your doctor tells you to. If you miss a dose, take your next scheduled dose when it is due.2,3

Do not use fluticasone propionate if you have allergies to any ingredients. Do not use the powder form of the drug if you have allergies to milk proteins.2,3

Fluticasone propionate may worsen certain conditions or interfere with other medicines. Tell your doctor if you:2,3

  • Have had any problems with your liver, eyes, immune system, or bone health
  • Have any current infections
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Before beginning treatment for asthma, tell your doctor 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 fluticasone propionate aerosol and fluticasone propionate powder.

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