Alvesco is an inhaler that is used every day to prevent asthma attacks. Because the medicine is inhaled directly into the lungs, the rest of the body is exposed to lower steroid levels, compared to steroids taken by mouth. The drug comes in the form of a metered-dose inhaler that is used twice a day. Common side effects include headache and irritation of the throat.
In people with asthma, the airways may become inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to allergens or irritants (see Asthma Triggers). When the airways react, a few things happen: the muscles around these airways tighten, inflammation inside the airways increases, and cells inside the airways produce more mucus. This narrows the airways and makes it harder to breathe.
Alvesco is an asthma medication that belongs to a group of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, or simply steroids for short. Inhaled steroids go directly into the lungs and help decrease the inflammation, reducing the risk of asthma attacks. Because Alvesco does not work quickly, it should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, it is used every day in order to prevent attacks.
Because Alvesco is inhaled directly into the lungs, the rest of the body is exposed to lower steroid levels, compared to steroids taken by mouth. This helps reduce or eliminate many of the serious side effects associated with long-term steroid use.
(Click Asthma Treatment for information about other medicines used for this condition.)
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 February 18, 2010.
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 February 18, 2010.
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