Advair is commonly used to treat airway spasms in people with COPD, as well as to prevent them in people with asthma. By opening up the airways and allowing more air to get into and through the lungs, the medication can make it easier for people with airway spasms to breathe. Side effects can include upper respiratory tract infections, headaches, and sore throat.
Advair contains two different medications: fluticasone and salmeterol. Salmeterol is part of a class of drugs called beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, or beta agonists for short. Beta agonists stimulate beta receptors in the body, including those on the muscles around the airways. This causes the muscles to relax, which opens up the airways and allows more air to get into and through the lungs.
The other component is fluticasone, an asthma medication that belongs to a group of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short. Inhaled steroids go directly into the lungs and help to decrease the inflammation of airways that makes asthma attacks more likely.
Because Advair does not work quickly, it should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, it is used twice a day in order to prevent them.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Advair Diskus [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2010 June.
Advair HFA [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2010 June.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 13, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed April 13, 2007.
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