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beclomethasone (Inhalation route)

Pronunciation

be-kloe-METH-a-sone

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Beclovent
  • Qvar

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Aerosol Powder
  • Aerosol Liquid
  • Capsule
  • Spray

Therapeutic Class: Anti-Inflammatory

Pharmacologic Class: Adrenal Glucocorticoid

Uses For beclomethasone

Beclomethasone is used to help control symptoms of asthma and improve breathing. It is used when a patient's asthma has not been controlled sufficiently on other asthma medicines, or when a patient's condition is so severe that more than one medicine is needed every day. beclomethasone will not relieve an asthma attack that has already started.

Beclomethasone belongs to the family of medicines known as corticosteroids or steroids (cortisone-like medicines). It works by preventing certain cells in the lungs and breathing passages from releasing substances that cause asthma symptoms.

beclomethasone is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using beclomethasone

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For beclomethasone, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to beclomethasone or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of inhaled beclomethasone in children 5 years of age and older. Safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 5 years of age.

Geriatric

Although appropriate studies on the relationship of age to the effects of inhaled beclomethasone have not been performed in the geriatric population, geriatric-specific problems are not expected to limit the usefulness of inhaled beclomethasone in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have age-related kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving inhaled beclomethasone.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy Category Explanation
All Trimesters C Animal studies have shown an adverse effect and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted and there are no adequate studies in pregnant women.

Breast Feeding

Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking beclomethasone, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using beclomethasone with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

  • Pixantrone

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of beclomethasone. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Asthma attack, acute or
  • Bronchospasm (difficulty with breathing), acute—Should not be used in patients with these conditions.
  • Cataracts or
  • Glaucoma—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
  • Chickenpox (including recent exposure) or
  • Herpes simplex (virus) infection of the eye or
  • Infections (virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite) or
  • Measles or
  • Tuberculosis, active or history of—Inhaled beclomethasone can reduce the body's ability to fight off these infections.
  • Immobilization for long periods of time or
  • Osteoporosis, family history of—Beclomethasone may make your bones weaker and increase the chance of a broken bone after a minor fall or injury.

Proper Use of beclomethasone

Inhaled beclomethasone is used to prevent asthma attacks. It is not used to relieve an asthma attack that has already started. For relief of an asthma attack that has already started, you should use another medicine. If you do not have another medicine to use for an attack or if you have any questions about this, check with your doctor.

Inhaled beclomethasone is used with a special inhaler that comes with patient directions. Read the directions carefully before using beclomethasone. If you do not understand the directions or you are not sure how to use the QVAR® inhaler, ask your doctor to show you what to do. Also, ask your doctor to check regularly how you use the QVAR® inhaler to make sure you are using it properly.

Use beclomethasone only as directed by your doctor. Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than your doctor ordered. Also, do not stop using beclomethasone without telling your doctor. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

In order for beclomethasone to help prevent asthma attacks, it must be used every day in regularly spaced doses, as ordered by your doctor.

Do not stop using beclomethasone or other asthma medicines that your doctor has prescribed for you unless you have discussed this with your doctor.

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.

To use the QVAR® inhaler:

  • Do not use the inhaler for beclomethasone with any other medicine. Do not remove the canister from the actuator.
  • Remove the cap and look at the mouthpiece to make sure it is clean.
  • Before you use an inhaler for the first time, prime it by pointing it away from your face and spraying into the air 2 times. If the inhaler has not been used for 10 days or longer, prime it again.
  • To inhale beclomethasone, breathe out fully, trying to get as much air out of the lungs as possible. Put the mouthpiece fully into your mouth and close your lips around it. Do not block the mouthpiece with your teeth or tongue.
  • While pressing down firmly and fully on the metal canister, breathe in through your mouth as deeply as you can until you have taken a full deep breath.
  • Take the inhaler out of your mouth. Hold your breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out slowly.
  • If you are supposed to use more than one puff, wait 1 to 2 minutes before inhaling the second puff. Repeat these steps for the next puff.
  • Wipe the mouthpiece dry with a cloth or tissue. Do not wash it with water. Put the cap back on right away.
  • Gargle and rinse your mouth with water after each dose.
  • The inhaler has a window that shows the number of doses remaining. This tells you when you are getting low on medicine. The doses counting down from 20 to 0 will show up in red to remind you to refill your prescription. Throw away the inhaler when the count is 0. You may not receive the right amount of medicine.

Dosing

The dose of beclomethasone 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 beclomethasone. 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 dosage form (aerosol):
    • For preventing an asthma attack:
      • For patients who have received bronchodilators alone:
        • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—At first, one puff two times a day. Each puff contains 40 or 80 micrograms (mcg) of beclomethasone. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 320 mcg two times a day.
        • Children 5 to 11 years of age—At first, one puff two times a day. Each puff contains 40 mcg of beclomethasone. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 80 mcg two times a day.
        • Children younger than 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
      • For patients who have received inhaled corticosteroids:
        • Adults and children 12 years of age and older—At first, one to two puffs two times a day. Each puff contains 40 or 80 micrograms (mcg) of beclomethasone. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 320 mcg two times a day.
        • Children 5 to 11 years of age—At first, one puff two times a day. Each puff contains 40 mcg of beclomethasone. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 80 mcg two times a day.
        • Children younger than 5 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of beclomethasone, 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.

Storage

Store the canister at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. Do not keep beclomethasone inside a car where it could be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Do not poke holes in the canister or throw it into a fire, even if the canister is empty.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using beclomethasone

If you will be using beclomethasone for a long time, it is very important that your doctor check the progress of you or your child at regular visits. This will allow your doctor to see if the medicine is working properly and to check for any unwanted effects.

beclomethasone may cause fungus infection of the mouth or throat (thrush). Tell your doctor right away if you or your child have white patches in the mouth or throat, or pain when eating or swallowing.

You should not use beclomethasone if your asthma attack has already started. Your doctor will prescribe another medicine (eg, a short-acting inhaler) for you to use in case of an acute asthma attack. Make sure you understand how to use the short-acting inhaler. Talk to your doctor if you need instructions.

Talk with your doctor or get medical care right away if:

  • Your or your child's symptoms do not improve after using beclomethasone for 2 weeks or if they become worse.
  • You or your child have a big decrease in your peak flow when measured as directed by your doctor.

Using too much of beclomethasone for a long period of time can cause problems with your adrenal gland. Talk to your doctor if you or your child have more than one of these symptoms while you are using beclomethasone: darkening of the skin, diarrhea, dizziness, fainting, loss of appetite, mental depression, nausea, skin rash, unusual tiredness or weakness, or weight loss.

Follow your doctor's directions carefully if you are switching from an oral corticosteroid to beclomethasone.

Your doctor may want you to carry a medical identification (ID) card stating that you or your child are using beclomethasone. The card will say that you may need additional medicine during an emergency, a severe asthma attack or other illness, or unusual stress.

beclomethasone may cause paradoxical bronchospasm, which means your breathing or wheezing will get worse. Paradoxical bronchospasm may be life-threatening. Stop using beclomethasone and check with your doctor right away if you or your child are having a cough, difficulty with breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing after using beclomethasone. Use a short acting inhaler right away to treat your symptoms.

If you or your child develop a skin rash, hives, or any allergic reaction to beclomethasone, stop using the medicine and check with your doctor as soon as possible.

beclomethasone may cause children to grow more slowly than usual. Talk to your child's doctor if you have any concerns.

beclomethasone may decrease bone mineral density when used for a long time. Low bone mineral density can cause weak bones or osteoporosis. If you have any questions about this, ask your doctor.

Check with your doctor right away if blurred vision, difficulty in reading, or any other change in vision occurs during or after treatment. Your doctor may want you or your child to have your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor).

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

beclomethasone Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

More common
  • Body aches or pain
  • congestion
  • cough
  • difficulty with breathing
  • dryness or soreness of the throat
  • fever
  • hoarseness
  • runny nose
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • trouble swallowing
  • voice changes
Incidence not known
  • Attack, assault, or force
  • blindness
  • blurred vision
  • changes in behavior
  • chills
  • darkening of the skin
  • decreased vision
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • eye pain
  • fainting
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • lower back or side pain
  • mental depression
  • nausea or vomiting
  • painful or difficult urination
  • skin rash
  • sore mouth or tongue
  • tearing
  • thoughts of killing oneself
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • white patches in the mouth or on the tongue

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

Less common
  • Cramps
  • heavy bleeding
  • pain
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • tightness of the chest

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

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