What Is Salmeterol Used For?
Some people may wonder, "What is salmeterol used for?" Salmeterol is used for treating airway spasms caused by asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). While it cannot treat asthma attacks, the drug can be used twice a day to help prevent asthma attacks from occurring. The medicine comes in the form of an inhaler and is approved for use in adults and children as young as four years old.
Salmeterol xinafoate (Serevent®) is a prescription medication used to treat asthma and other similar lung problems. It is part of a class of asthma drugs known as beta-adrenergic receptor agonists, or beta agonists for short.
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways, which are the tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. 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. When the airways react, they narrow and less air flows to your lungs. This is called bronchospasm. It causes asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
While there is no asthma cure, asthma can be controlled. There are many different asthma treatments, including fast-acting "rescue medications" for treating an asthma attack and longer-acting "controller medications" used to prevent asthma attacks. Salmeterol is a controller medication, used to help prevent asthma attacks (but not to treat an attack). Everyone who takes salmeterol should also have a rescue medication available (such as an albuterol inhaler) for emergency situations. Salmeterol is also useful for preventing exercise-induced asthma (see Asthma and Exercise for more information).
Asthma is not the only cause of bronchospasm. Salmeterol can also treat bronchospasm due to other lung problems, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Because studies have shown that long-acting beta agonists (like salmeterol) increase the risk of asthma-related deaths, this medication should be used only in people that cannot adequately control their asthma with other types of medications. Salmeterol should never be used to treat asthma without a long-term asthma control medication, like an inhaled steroid.