Flovent is an environmentally friendly inhaler that is used to prevent asthma attacks. It is part of a class of asthma medications known as inhaled corticosteroids. Flovent does not work quickly -- it should not be used to treat an asthma attack. Some examples of side effects that may occur with the use of this drug include headaches, throat irritation, and sinus infections.
"HFA" stands for hydrofluoroalkane, which is the propellant used in Flovent HFA inhalers. Because this inhaler uses hydrofluoroalkane, it is environmentally friendly. This has replaced the old Flovent® inhaler, which contained substances that may deplete the ozone layer. The Flovent Diskus is a dry powder inhaler device.
Normally, air moves easily into and out of the lungs through a network of airways. But, if you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating (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.
Flovent is 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 this medication 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 asthma attacks.
Because Flovent 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 side effects associated with long-term steroid use.
(Click Asthma Treatment for information about other medicines used for treating asthma.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Flovent HFA [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2007 January.
Flovent Diskus [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2006 November.
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 9, 2012.
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 11, 2007.
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