Fluticasone

Brand names of fluticasone

  • Advair [CD]
  • Cutivate
  • Flonase
  • Flovent
  • Flovent Diskus
  • Flovent Rotadisc

Fluticasone belongs to the class of medicines known as steroids. Also called a glucocorticoid it treats asthma and allergic rhinitis by opening up airways as swelling is reduced in the air passages. When used in combination with salmeterol it helps to prevent asthmatic symptoms and breathing problems like shortness of breath and wheezing.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking fluticasone

Whatever allergies you suffer from, including allergy to fluticasone, need to be communicated to your doctor before you begin treatment with this medication. In case you are on vitamins, nutritional supplements, herbal medicines do inform the doctor about these as well as any other prescription or non-prescription medicaments you might be taking or have just recently taken.

Also inform your doctor if you have suffered any of these medical conditions like tuberculosis or any eye problems like cataracts that cloud the eye lens or glaucoma, which can cause blindness. The doctor must also know of any minor infections you might have had like nose sores, herpes infection that has caused a sore on the eye surface or on the eyelid or any other untreated infection you recall. If there has been an injury to the nose or you have had a recent nose surgery tell the doctor about it.

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Before taking fluticasone you should be sure you are not pregnant or breast feeding, nor plan to get pregnant. In case you get pregnant while on fluticasone you must immediately talk to your doctor. In case you require dental or other surgery, tell the dentist and the general surgeon that you are taking fluticasone.

Steroids like dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisolone (Pediapred, Prelone) or prednisone (Deltasone) all need to be reduced if you are beginning with fluticasone and so do tell your doctor if you are taking any of these steroids.

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Till your body adjusts to the change in medication you need to be cautious. Eczema of the skin and arthritis could worsen when steroids are decreased and if that happens your doctor must know. Also inform the doctor if you are inflicted with any of these symptoms like stomach pain, muscle weakness, and lower body ache, extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, weight loss, upset stomach, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, or if you faint and have depression, irritability, or if your skin darkens.

While you are on fluticasone you may not be able to take the strain of surgery or injury, any other illness or a severe asthma attack so you need to call your doctor if you fall ill. Make sure your healthcare workers know you are using fluticasone inhaler and have only recently stopped oral steroids. It is essential to carry a card or have an identity bracelet so emergency personnel know you could require steroids.

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Fluticasone reduces the body's ability to fight infection. It is advisable to stay away from people who are sick especially those who have contagious diseases like chicken pox or measles. Your doctor must be told immediately if you happen to make contact with anybody infected with these viruses. Wash your hands thoroughly and as often as possible.

Usage

Fluticasone is useful in preventing bronchial asthma and is also used to treat seasonal allergies like hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

How to use fluticasone

Fluticasone is a liquid spray. When required it is sprayed in each nostril, morning and evening unless the doctor directs you to use it only once a day. Sometimes it is used regularly and sometimes only when symptoms appear. The prescription label must be followed and what you don't understand ask the pharmacist or doctor to explain. Use fluticasone exactly as directed neither using it too often nor using too less or too much of the spray. Fluticasone can be used only in the nose and be careful not to swallow it or spray it in the eyes.

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Usually the doctor recommends a high dose of fluticasone and will decrease the dosage when the symptoms are under control. The spray will only control rhinitis but will not cure it.

The symptoms do not improve straight away on taking fluticasone but will begin to take effect after a 12 hour period. It is possible that you will begin to feel better only after regular use over several days. Fluticasone should be used exactly as scheduled and should not be stopped, even if symptoms disappear, without consulting with the doctor.

The fluticasone nasal spray provides exactly 120 sprays. The bottle might not empty out completely even after 120 sprays. However you must keep account of how many sprays have been used as after 120 sprays the residue in the bottle may not contain the full medication required and so the bottle must be discarded once 120 sprays are over even if some medication still remains in the container.

The nasal spray applicator must be cleaned once a week. The dust cap is removed and the applicator is pulled out from the bottle. The applicator and dust cap are both washed in warm water and then set to dry at room temperature. Once they are dry they are re-joined to the bottle. In case the applicator is clogged, it must be soaked in warm water and then rinsed in cold water and dried. No pins or other sharp objects must be used to remove the blockage.

How fluticasone works

Fluticasone is a respiratory corticosteroid and so it actually helps to reduce the inflammation in the lining of air passages as that is the main cause of asthma. The spray reduces the allergic effect of allergens inhaled from the atmosphere and does not allow secretion of mucus in the airways.

Allergies occur when a harmless substance, that mostly does not affect people, induces a reaction to the substance in some people. These reactions are actually inflammations and different cells and chemicals are involved in the allergic reaction. All steroids have different effects on the body. Steroids like fluticasone are used to reduce the inflammation by prohibiting the immune system from reacting. Hence allergies can be successfully removed with steroids.

Long term use of fluticasone can cause side effects and so the use of steroids is limited. Fortunately fluticasone is a nasal spray and its effects will not go beyond the nose and so many of the long term side effects are reduced. One shortcoming is that the medicine has not been used for non-allergic rhinitis and so how it works on it is not known.

Side effects

Serious
No serious side effects are associated with the use of fluticasone.
Common
Oral inhalation:Nasal spray:
  • nasal burning or irritation
  • nosebleeds or bloody nasal secretions
  • sore throat
Less common
  • eye pain
  • gradual decrease of vision
  • watering eyes
  • stomach pain and digestive disturbances

Possible interactions

Most herbal medicines and minerals should be used with care by asthmatics but pine needle and fir oil should never be used. Ephedra which carries the German Commission E monograph is the only recommended herbal remedy for asthma. Any allergic reactions to the Asteraceae family of plants like chrysanthemum, daisy, aster, ragweed could also indicate allergic reaction to Echinacea, chamomile, feverfew, and St. John wort. Calcium and vitamin D intake could be increased while taking fluticasone. Consult the doctor about the use of herbal medicines with fluticasone.

Discontinuation

Fluticasone should not be stopped suddenly and without consulting the doctor.

Storage instructions

The medication should be stored in the same container it came in at room temperature away from heat and moisture and out of reach of children. Do not store the medication in the bathroom and throw away any medication that has crossed the expiry period in consultation with the pharmacist who will direct you to dispose of unused medicine safely.

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