Generic Name: Formoterol Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is formoterol used for?

Formoterol is commonly used to treat wheezing, shortness of breath, and breathing difficulties caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD – a group of lung diseases that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema) in adult.

Formoterol inhalation powder is also used with another medication to treat asthma and to prevent breathing difficulties during exercise in adults and children 5 years of age and older.

How should I take formoterol?

  • Take this product by mouth as directed. Follow all directions on the product package.
  • If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How do I store formoterol?

Formoterol is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store formoterol in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of formoterol that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush formoterol down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using formoterol?

Before using this drug, you should know that:

  • If you are using formoterol to prevent breathing problems caused by exercise, use it at least 15 minutes before you start to exercise. Do not use another dose for at least 12 hours. If you already use formoterol twice daily on a regular basis, do not take an extra dose before you exercise.
  • Caution is advised when using formoterol in children; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially nausea, stomach pain, and stomach upset.

Also, tell your doctor if:

  • You are allergic to formoterol, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in formoterol inhalation powder or nebulizer solution.
  • You are allergic to milk proteins.
  • You are having surgery, including dental surgery.

Do not use formoterol inhalation powder or nebulizer solution if you have asthma that is quickly getting worse. If you have any of the following signs of worsening asthma, call your doctor immediately:

  • Your short-acting inhaler.
  • You need to use more puffs than usual of your short-acting inhaler or use it more often.
  • You need to use four or more puffs per day of your short-acting inhaler for 2 or more days in a row.
  • You use more than one canister (200 inhalations) of your short-acting inhaler during an 8-week period.
  • Your peak-flow meter (home device used to test breathing) shows your breathing is worsening.
  • You need to go to the emergency room for asthma treatment.
  • Your symptoms do not improve after you use formoterol inhalation powder regularly for 1 week or your symptoms get worse at any time during your treatment.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from formoterol?

Common side effects are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat; unusual hoarseness)
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fast breathing
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Fever, chills, or persistent sore throat
  • Muscle pain, weakness, or cramps
  • New or worsening asthma or COPD symptoms (e.g., increased chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing)
  • Severe or persistent headache, dizziness, light-headedness, tremor, or nervousness
  • Severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
  • Severe or unusual drowsiness
  • Sluggishness
  • Symptoms of high blood sugar (e.g., increased thirst, hunger, or urination; drowsiness; flushing of the skin; confusion; fruit-like breath odor)
  • Voice changes

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with formoterol?

Formoterol may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Products may interact with this drug, including:

  • Corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone), diuretics (e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide), or xanthines (e.g., theophylline) because the risk of low blood potassium or irregular heartbeat may be increased.
  • Linezolid, other long-acting beta-agonists (e.g., salmeterol), MAOIs (e.g., phenelzine), or tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline) because they may increase the side effects of formoterol.
  • Beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol) because they may decrease formoterol’s effectiveness or worsen your condition.
  • LABA such as arformoterol (Brovana), fluticasone and salmeterol combination (Advair) or salmeterol (Serevent). These medications should not be used with formoterol.
  • Certain antibiotics including azithromycin (Zithromax), clarithromycin (Biaxin), erythromycin (E.E.S, E-Mycin, Erythrocin), and telithromycin (Ketek)
  • Aminophylline (Truphylline)
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone)
  • Antidepressants such as amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Silenor), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil);
  • Beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal), and sotalol (Betapace, Sorine)
  • Clonidine (Catapres)
  • Diet pills
  • Disopyramide (Norpace)
  • Diuretics (‘water pills’)
  • Dofetilide (Tikosyn)
  • Dyphylline (Lufyllin)
  • Guanabenz
  • Medications for colds
  • Monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, including isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Midodrine (Orvaten)
  • Moxifloxacin (Avelox)
  • Oral steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexone), methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Deltasone)
  • Pimozide (Orap)
  • Procainamide (Procanbid, Pronestyl)
  • Quinidine (in Nuedexta)
  • Sparfloxacin (Zagam)
  • Theophylline (Theo-Chron, Theolair)
  • Thioridazine (Mellaril)

Does food or alcohol interact with formoterol?

Formoterol may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with formoterol?

Formoterol may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

These health conditions are:

  • An irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Diabetes
  • An aneurysm (swelling of an artery that may burst and cause serious health problems or sudden death)
  • Pheochromocytoma (a tumor that may cause changes in blood pressure)
  • Heart, liver, or thyroid disease

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using formoterol.

What is the dose of formoterol for an adult?

Bronchospasm prophylaxis

Inhalation capsule:

  • The recommended dose is 12 mcg (1 inhalation) orally at least 15 minutes before exercise as needed.

Inhalation powder:

  • The recommended dose is 6 mcg or 12 mcg before exercise.
  • Maximum dose is 48 mcg within a 24-hour period.

Asthma – maintenance

Inhalation capsule:

  • The recommended dose is 12 mcg (1 inhalation) orally every 12 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 24 mcg daily.

Inhalation powder:

  • The recommended dose is 6 mcg or 12 mcg orally every 12 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 24 mcg twice a day.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary (Disease – maintenance)

Inhalation capsule:

  • The recommended dose is 12 mcg (1 inhalation) orally every 12 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 24 mcg daily.

Inhalation solution

  • The recommended dose is one 20 microgram/2 ml unit dose vial orally via jet nebulizer with a facemask or mouthpiece twice a day.

What is the dose of formoterol for a child?

Bronchospasm prophylaxis (Prevention of Exercise induced bronchospasm – EIB)

Inhalation capsule:

  • Less than 5 years: not approved.
  • 5 years or older: the recommended dose is 12 mcg (1 inhalation) orally at least 15 minutes before exercise as needed.

Inhalation powder

  • The recommended dose is 6 mcg or 12 mcg orally before exercise.
  • Maximum dose is 24 mcg within a 24-hour period.

Asthma – maintenance

Inhalation capsule:

  • Less than 5 years: not approved.
  • 5 years or older: the recommended dose is 12 mcg (1 inhalation) orally at least 15 minutes before exercise as needed. Maximum dose is 24 mcg daily.

Inhalation powder

  • Less than 6 years: not approved.
  • 6 to 16 years: the recommended dose is 6 – 12 mcg orally every 12 hours. Maximum dose is 12 mcg twice a day.
  • 16 years or older: the recommended dose is 6 – 12 mcg orally every 12 hours. Maximum dose is 24 mcg twice a day.

How is formoterol available?

Formoterol is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Inhalation capsule
  • Inhalation solution

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

Symptoms of overdose may include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
  • Nervousness
  • Headache
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • Seizures
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Thirst
  • Trouble breathing

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of formoterol, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 13, 2017 | Last Modified: January 13, 2017

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