Formoterol is a long-acting bronchodilator used as a long-term (maintenance) treatment to prevent or decrease wheezing and trouble breathing caused by asthma or ongoing lung disease (e.g., COPD). It should only be used long-term if your asthma symptoms are not controlled by your other asthma medications (such as inhaled corticosteroids). Formoterol must not be used alone to treat asthma. (See also Warning section.) It works in the airways by relaxing muscles and opening air passages to improve breathing. Controlling symptoms of breathing problems can decrease time lost from work or school.
This drug is also used to prevent breathing difficulties brought on by exercise (exercise-induced bronchospasm-EIB).
This medication should not be used for a severe/sudden asthma attack. For sudden attacks of asthma, use your quick-relief inhaler as prescribed. This medication is not a substitute for inhaled or oral corticosteroids (e.g., beclomethasone, fluticasone, prednisone). This medication should be used along with another controller-type asthma medication (such as inhaled corticosteroids).
It is recommended that children and teenagers, who need to use formoterol to treat their asthma, should use a combination formoterol/budesonide product. Check with your child's doctor to see if this product is the right product for your child.
How To Use
Learn the proper use of formoterol, and carefully read the Medication Guide that comes with the product. Consult your pharmacist for more details.
Formoterol comes in a capsule. Do not swallow these capsules by mouth. Inhale the contents of the capsule by mouth using the inhaler device, usually one capsule twice daily (morning and evening) or as directed by your doctor. The two doses should be about 12 hours apart. Formoterol must always be used with its own special inhaler device. Use the new inhaler device that you get each time you refill your formoterol prescription. Always discard your old inhaler device. Do not use a "spacer" device with the inhaler.
Leave the capsule sealed in the foil packet until just before use. Wash and completely dry hands before touching the capsules. Be sure to inhale rapidly and deeply through the mouthpiece when using this drug. Inhale 2 times per capsule to make sure you inhale all of the drug. Do not exhale into the inhaler.
If you are using this medication to prevent exercise-induced breathing problems (EIB), it should be used at least 15 minutes before exercising. Do not use any more doses of formoterol for the next 12 hours. If you are already using formoterol twice daily, do not use any more doses for EIB.
Your asthma must be stable (not worsening) before you start treatment with formoterol. Consult your doctor for more details.
Learn which of your inhalers you should use every day and which you should use if your breathing suddenly worsens. Ask your doctor what to do if you have worsening cough or shortness of breath, wheezing, increased sputum, or worsening peak flow meter readings. Learn when you can self-medicate and when you should get medical help right away.
Using too much formoterol or using it too often may result in a decrease in drug effectiveness and an increase in serious side effects. Do not use more than the recommended dosage or take this drug more often than prescribed. Do not stop or decrease the dose of other asthma medications (e.g., inhaled corticosteroids such as beclomethasone) without your doctor's approval. If you are using short-acting bronchodilators on a regular schedule (such as every six hours), you should stop taking them while using this drug.
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following signs of worsening asthma: the usual doses of your asthma medications no longer control symptoms, your quick-relief inhaler is less effective, or you need to use the quick-relief inhaler more often than usual (e.g., more than 4 puffs per day or more than 1 inhaler every 8 weeks). Do not increase your dose of formoterol in this situation.
When used for an extended period, this medication may not work as well and may require different dosing. Talk with your doctor immediately if this medication stops working well.