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The proper way to use

Inhaled corticosteroids will not relieve an asthma attack that has already started. However, your doctor may want you to continue taking this medicine at the usual time, even if you use another medicine to relieve the asthma attack.

Use this medicine only as directed. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects. Do not stop taking this medicine abruptly. This medicine should be discontinued only under the supervision of your doctor.

In order for this medicine to help prevent asthma attacks, it must be used every day in regularly spaced doses, as ordered by your doctor. Up to 4 to 6 weeks may pass before you begin to notice improvement in your condition. It may take several months before you feel the full effects of this medicine. This may not take as long if you have already been taking certain other medicines for your asthma.

Gargling and rinsing your mouth with water after each dose may help prevent hoarseness, throat irritation, and infection in the mouth. However, do not swallow the water after rinsing. Your doctor may also want you to use a spacer device to lessen these problems.

Inhaled corticosteroids are used with a special inhaler and usually come with patient directions. Read the directions carefully before using this medicine. If you do not understand the directions or you are not sure how to use the inhaler, ask your health care professional to show you what to do. Also, ask your health care professional to check regularly how you use the inhaler to make sure you are using it properly.

For patients using beclomethasone, flunisolide, or triamcinolone inhalation aerosol:

  • When you use the inhaler for the first time, or if you have not used it in a while, it may not deliver the right amount of medicine with the first puff. Therefore, before using the inhaler, test or prime it.
  • To test or prime most inhalers:
    • Insert the metal canister firmly into the clean mouthpiece according to the manufacturer's instructions. Check to make sure the canister is placed properly into the mouthpiece.
    • Take the cover off the mouthpiece and shake the inhaler three or four times.
    • Hold the inhaler well away from you at arm's length and press the top of the canister, spraying the medicine into the air two times. The inhaler will now be ready to provide the right amount of medicine when you use it.
  • To use most inhalers:
    • Using your thumb and one or two fingers, hold the inhaler upright with the mouthpiece end down and pointing toward you.
    • Take the cover off the mouthpiece. Check the mouthpiece and remove any foreign objects. Then gently shake the inhaler three or four times.
    • Hold the mouthpiece away from your mouth and breathe out slowly to the end of a normal breath.
    • Use the inhalation method recommended by your doctor:
      • Open-mouth method—Place the mouthpiece about 1 or 2 inches (2 finger widths) in front of your widely opened mouth. Make sure the inhaler is aimed into your mouth so that the spray does not hit the roof of your mouth or your tongue.
      • Closed-mouth method—Place the mouthpiece in your mouth between your teeth and over your tongue with your lips closed tightly around it. Do not block the mouthpiece with your teeth or tongue.
    • Start to breathe in slowly through your mouth and, at the same time, press the top of the canister one time to get 1 puff of medicine. Continue to breathe in slowly for 3 to 5 seconds. Count the seconds while inhaling. It is important to press the top of the canister and breathe in slowly at the same time so the medicine gets into your lungs. This step may be difficult at first. If you are using the closed-mouth method and you see a fine mist coming from your mouth or nose, the inhaler is not being used correctly.
    • Hold your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds. This gives the medicine time to settle in your airways and lungs.
    • Take the mouthpiece away from your mouth and breathe out slowly.
    • If your doctor has told you to inhale more than 1 puff of medicine at each dose, gently shake the inhaler again, and take the next puff, following exactly the same steps you used for the first puff. Press the canister one time for each puff of medicine.
    • When you are finished, wipe off the mouthpiece and replace the cap.
    • Your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist may want you to use a spacer device with the inhaler. A spacer helps get the medicine into the lungs and reduces the amount of medicine that stays in your mouth and throat.
      • To use a spacer device with the inhaler:
        • Attach the spacer to the inhaler according to the manufacturer's directions. There are different types of spacers available, but the method of breathing remains the same with most spacers.
        • Gently shake the inhaler and spacer three or four times.
        • Hold the mouthpiece of the spacer away from your mouth and breathe out slowly to the end of a normal breath.
        • Place the mouthpiece into your mouth between your teeth and over your tongue with your lips closed around it.
        • Press down on the canister top once to release 1 puff of medicine into the spacer. Within one or two seconds, start to breathe in slowly through your mouth for 3 to 5 seconds. Count the seconds while inhaling. Do not breathe in through your nose.
        • Hold your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds.
        • Breathe out slowly. Do not remove the mouthpiece from your mouth. Breathe in and out slowly two or three times to make sure the spacer device is emptied.
        • If your doctor has told you to take more than 1 puff of medicine at each dose, gently shake the inhaler and spacer again and take the next puff, following exactly the same steps you used for the first puff. Do not spray more than 1 puff at a time into the spacer.
        • When you are finished, remove the spacer device from the inhaler and replace the cover of the mouthpiece.
    • Clean the inhaler mouthpiece, and spacer at least once a week.
      • To clean the inhaler:
        • Remove the canister from the inhaler and set the canister aside.
        • Wash the mouthpiece, cap, and spacer with warm, soapy water. Then, rinse well with warm, running water.
        • Shake off the excess water and let the inhaler parts air-dry completely before putting the inhaler back together.
    • Check with your pharmacist to see if you should save the inhaler piece that comes with this medicine after the medicine is used up. Refill units may be available at a lower cost. However, remember that the inhaler is meant to be used only for the medicine that comes with it. Do not use the inhaler for any other inhalation aerosol medicine, even if the cartridge fits.

For patients using beclomethasone capsules for inhalation:

  • Do not swallow the capsules. The medicine will not work if you swallow it.
  • To load the inhaler:
    • Make sure your hands are clean and dry.
    • Do not insert the capsule into the inhaler until just before you are ready to use this medicine.
    • Take the inhaler from its container. Hold the inhaler by the mouthpiece and twist the barrel in either direction until it stops.
    • Take a capsule from its container. Hold the inhaler upright with the mouthpiece pointing downward. Press the capsule, with the clear end first, firmly into the raised small hole.
    • Make sure the top of the capsule is even with the top of the hole. This will push the old used capsule shell, if there is one, into the inhaler.
    • Hold the inhaler on its side with the white dot facing up. Twist the barrel quickly until it stops. This will break the capsule into two halves so the powder can be inhaled.
  • To use the inhaler:
    • Hold the inhaler away from your mouth and breathe out slowly to the end of a normal breath.
    • Keep the inhaler on its side and place the mouthpiece in your mouth. Close your lips around it, and tilt your head slightly back. Do not block the mouthpiece with your teeth or tongue
    • Breathe in slowly through your mouth until you have taken a full deep breath.
    • Take the inhaler from your mouth and hold your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds. This gives the medicine time to settle in your airways and lungs.
    • Hold the inhaler well away from your mouth and breathe out to the end of a normal breath.
    • If your doctor has told you to use a second capsule, follow the same steps you used for the first capsule.
    • When you have finished using the inhaler, pull the two halves of the inhaler apart and throw away the empty capsule shells. There is no need to remove the shell left in the small hole, except before cleaning.
    • Put the two halves of the inhaler back together again and place it into its container to keep it clean.
  • To clean the inhaler:
    • Every two weeks, take the inhaler apart and wash the two halves of the inhaler in clean, warm water. Make sure the empty capsule shell is removed from the small raised hole.
    • Shake out the excess water.
    • Allow all parts of the inhaler to dry before you put it back together.
    • The inhaler should be replaced every 6 months.

For patients using beclomethasone powder for inhalation:

  • To load the inhaler:
    • Make sure your hands are clean and dry.
    • Do not insert the cartridge until just before you are ready to use this medicine.
    • Take off the dark brown mouthpiece cover and make sure the mouthpiece is clean.
    • Hold the white cartridge by the exposed corners and gently pull it out until you see the ribbed sides of the cartridge.
    • Squeeze the ribbed sides and take out the cartridge unit from the body of the inhaler.
    • Place the disk containing the medicine onto the white wheel with the numbers facing up. Allow the underside of the disk to fit into the holes of the wheel.
    • Slide the cartridge unit with wheel and disk back into the body of the inhaler. Gently push the cartridge in and pull it out again. The disk will turn.
    • Continue to turn the disk in this way until the number 8 appears in the side indicator window. Each disk has eight blisters containing the medicine. The window will display how many doses you have left after you use it each time, by counting down from 8. For example, when you see the number 1, you have one dose left.
    • To replace the empty disk with a full disk, follow the same steps you used to load the inhaler. Do not throw away the wheel when you discard the empty disk.
  • To use the inhaler:
    • Hold the inhaler flat in your hand. Lift the rear edge of the lid until it is fully upright.
    • The plastic needle on the front of the lid will break the blister containing one inhalation of medicine. When the lid is raised as far as it will go, both the upper and the lower surfaces of the blister will be pierced. Do not lift the lid if the cartridge is not in the inhaler. Doing this will break the needle and you will need a new inhaler.
    • Raise the inhaler to your mouth, and place the mouthpiece in your mouth.
    • Close your lips around the mouthpiece and tilt your head slightly back. Do not block the mouthpiece with your teeth or tongue. Do not cover the air holes on the side of the mouthpiece.
    • Breathe in through your mouth as fast as you can until you have taken a full deep breath.
    • Hold your breath and remove the mouthpiece from your mouth. Continue holding your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds before breathing out. This gives the medicine time to settle in your airways and lungs.
    • Hold the inhaler well away from your mouth and breathe out to the end of a normal breath.
    • Prepare the cartridge for your next inhalation. Pull the cartridge out once and push it in once. The disk will turn to the next numbered dose as seen in the indicator window. Do not pierce the blister until just before the inhalation.
  • To clean the inhaler:
    • Brush away the loose powder each day with the brush provided.
    • The inhaler should be replaced every 6 months.

For patients using budesonide powder for inhalation

  • To prime the inhaler:
    • Unscrew the cover of the inhaler and lift it off.
    • Hold the inhaler upright with the brown piece pointing downward. Turn the brown piece of the inhaler in one direction as far as it will go. Then twist it back until it clicks. Repeat this step one more time and the inhaler will be primed.
    • Prime each new inhaler before using it the first time. After it has been primed, it is not necessary to prime it again, even if you put it aside for a long period of time
  • To load the inhaler:
    • Unscrew the cover of the inhaler and lift it off.
    • Hold the inhaler upright with the brown piece pointing downward. Turn the brown piece of the inhaler in one direction as far as it will go. Then twist it back until it clicks.
  • To use the inhaler:
    • Hold the inhaler away from your mouth and breathe out slowly to the end of a normal breath.
    • Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it. Tilt your head slightly back. Do not block the mouthpiece with your teeth or tongue.
    • Breathe in quickly and evenly through your mouth until you have taken a full deep breath.
    • Hold your breath and remove the inhaler from your mouth. Continue holding your breath as long as you can up to 10 seconds before breathing out. This gives the medicine time to settle in your airways and lungs.
    • Hold the inhaler well away from your mouth and breathe out to the end of a normal breath.
    • Replace the cover on the mouthpiece to keep it clean.
  • This inhaler delivers the medicine as a very fine powder. You may not taste, smell, or feel this medicine.
  • This inhaler should not be used with a spacer.
  • When the indicator window begins to show a red mark, there are about 20 doses left. When the red mark covers the window, the inhaler is empty.

For patients using budesonide suspension for inhalation:

  • This medicine is to be used in a power-operated nebulizer equipped with a face mask or mouthpiece. Your doctor will advise you on which nebulizer to use. Make sure you understand how to use the nebulizer. If you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.
  • Any opened ampul should be protected from light. The medicine in an open ampul must be used promptly after the ampul is opened. Ampuls should be used within 2 weeks after the envelope containing them is opened.
  • To prepare the medicine for use in the nebulizer:
    • Remove one ampul from the sheet of five units and shake it gently.
    • Hold the ampul upright. Open it by twisting off the wing.
    • Squeeze the contents of the ampul into the cup of the nebulizer. If you use only half of the contents of an ampul, add enough of the sodium chloride solution provided to dilute the solution.
    • Gently shake the nebulizer. Then attach the face mask to the nebulizer and connect the nebulizer to the air pump.
  • To use the medicine in the nebulizer:
    • This medicine should be inhaled over a period of 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Breathe slowly and evenly, in and out, until no more mist is left in the nebulizer cup.
    • Rinse your mouth when you are finished with the treatment. Wash your face if you used a face mask.
  • To clean the nebulizer:
    • After each treatment, wash the cup of the nebulizer and the mask or mouthpiece in warm water with a mild detergent.
    • Allow the nebulizer parts to dry before putting them back together again.

Dosing

The dose medicines in this class will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For inhalation aerosol:
    • For bronchial asthma:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—
        • For the 42- or 50-mcg-per-metered-spray products—2 puffs (84 to 100 micrograms [mcg]) three or four times a day, or 4 puffs (168 to 200 mcg) two times a day. In severe asthma, your doctor may want you to take a higher dose.
        • For the 84-mcg-per-metered-spray product—2 puffs (168 mcg) two times a day. In severe asthma, your doctor may want you to take a higher dose.
      • Children 6 to 12 years of age—
        • For the 42- or 50-mcg-per-metered-spray products—1 or 2 puffs (42 to 100 mcg) three or four times a day, or 4 puffs (168 to 200 mcg) two times a day.
        • For the 84-mcg-per-metered-spray product—2 puffs (168 mcg) two times a day.
      • Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For capsules for inhalation or powder for inhalation:
    • For bronchial asthma:
      • Adults and teenagers 14 years of age and older—At first, 200 mcg three or four times a day. Then your doctor may reduce the dose, based on your condition.
      • Children 6 to 14 years of age—At first, 100 mcg two to four times a day. Then your doctor may reduce the dose, based on your condition.
      • Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
  • For inhalation aerosol:
    • For bronchial asthma:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—
        • For the 40-mcg-per-metered-spray products—1 to 4 puffs (40 to 160 micrograms [mcg]) two times a day. The higher doses generally are used for patients previously treated with other corticosteroids.
        • For the 50-mcg-per-metered-spray products—1 to 2 puffs (50 to 100 mcg) two times a day if your asthma is mild or 2 to 5 puffs (100 to 250 mcg) two times a day if your asthma is more severe.
        • For the 80-mcg-per-metered-spray products—1 or 2 puffs (80 to 160 mcg) two times a day. The higher dose generally is used for patients previously treated with other corticosteroids.
        • For the 100-mcg-per-metered-spray products—3 to 4 puffs (300 to 400 mcg) two times a day.
      • Children 5 to 11 years of age—1 puff (40 mcg) two times a day.
      • Children up to 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For powder for inhalation:
    • For bronchial asthma:
      • Adults—200 to 800 micrograms (mcg) two times a day. A lower dose of 200 mcg or 400 mcg once daily, either in the morning or in the evening, may sometimes be used for mild to moderate asthma when the symptoms are well controlled. The higher doses generally are used for patients previously treated with other corticosteroids. Then your doctor may increase or decrease the dose, depending on your condition.
      • Children 6 years of age and older—At first, 200 mcg two times a day. Then your doctor may increase the dose to 400 mcg two times a day, depending on your condition. A lower dose of 200 mcg or 400 mcg once daily, either in the morning or in the evening, may sometimes be used for mild to moderate asthma when the symptoms are well controlled.
      • Children up to 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For suspension for inhalation:
    • For bronchial asthma:
      • Adults and children 8 years of age and older—1000 to 2000 micrograms (mcg) mixed with enough sterile sodium chloride solution for inhalation, if necessary, to make 2 to 4 milliliters (mL). This solution is used in a nebulizer for a period of ten to fifteen minutes. The medicine should be used two times a day.
      • Children 12 months to 8 years of age—250 to 500 mcg mixed with enough sterile sodium chloride solution for inhalation, if necessary, to make 2 to 4 mL. This solution is used in a nebulizer for a period of ten to fifteen minutes. The medicine should be used two times a day.
      • Children up to 12 months of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
  • For inhalation aerosol:
    • For bronchial asthma:
      • Adults and children 4 years of age and older—500 micrograms (mcg) (2 puffs) two times a day, morning and evening.
      • Children up to 4 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.
  • For inhalation aerosol:
    • For bronchial asthma:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—At first, 200 micrograms (mcg) (2 puffs) two to four times a day. Then your doctor may reduce the dose, based on your condition. In severe asthma, your doctor may want you to take a higher dose.
      • Children 6 to 12 years of age—At first, 100 to 200 mcg (1 or 2 puffs) three or four times a day. Then your doctor may adjust your dose, based on your condition.
      • Children up to 6 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by the doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

If you miss a dose of this medicine, use it as soon as possible. Then use any remaining doses for that day at regularly spaced times.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

The 84-mcg-per-metered-spray product of beclomethasone should not be stored for longer than 6 months after it has been removed from its moisture-protective pouch. After 6 months, any remaining medicine should be discarded.

Do not puncture, break, or burn the aerosol container, even after it is empty.