Asthma Home > Side Effects of Formoterol

Common side effects of formoterol in people taking it for asthma include bronchitis, chest pain, and shakiness. Common side effects in people taking it for COPD include upper respiratory tract infections, sore throat, and back pain. Although formoterol side effects are typically minor, serious problems that require immediate medical attention are possible, such as worsening breathing problems, arrhythmia, or signs of an allergic reaction.

Side Effects of Formoterol: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with formoterol fumarate (Foradil®). However, not everyone who takes it will experience side effects. In fact, most people tolerate the medication quite well. When side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can easily be treated by you or your healthcare provider.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with formoterol. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of formoterol side effects with you.)

Common Side Effects of Formoterol

Formoterol has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, in which the side effects of a group of people taking the drug are documented and compared to another group not taking the medicine. As a result, it is possible to see what side effects occur, how often they appear, and how they compare to the group not taking the medicine.
In these studies, the most common formoterol side effects in people with asthma included:
  • Bronchitis -- in up to 4.6 percent of people
  • Chest infections -- up to 2.7 percent
  • Difficulty breathing -- up to 2.1 percent
  • Chest pain -- up to 1.9 percent
  • Shakiness (tremors) -- up to 1.9 percent
  • Insomnia -- up to 1.5 percent
  • Tonsil infection or inflammation -- up to 1.2 percent.
In people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the most common side effects included:
  • Upper respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold) -- in up to 7.4 percent of people
  • Back pain -- up to 4.2 percent
  • Sore throat -- up to 3.5 percent
  • Chest pain -- up to 3.2 percent
  • A sinus infection or irritation -- up to 2.7 percent
  • Fever -- up to 2.2 percent
  • Leg cramps or muscle cramps -- up to 1.7 percent
  • Increased sputum (mucus or phlegm) -- up to 1.5 percent
  • Dry mouth -- up to 1.2 percent.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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