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Salmeterol (inhalation)

Generic Name: salmeterol (inhalation) (sal MEE ter all)
Brand Name: Serevent Diskus, Serevent

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Oct 3, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is salmeterol inhalation?

Salmeterol inhalation is a bronchodilator that is used to prevent asthma attacks or exercise-induced bronchospasm.

Salmeterol inhalation is also used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Salmeterol inhalation may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Do not use salmeterol inhalation to treat an asthma attack that has already begun.

Salmeterol may increase the risk of asthma-related death. Use only the prescribed dose of this medication, and do not use it for longer than your doctor recommends. Follow all patient instructions for safe use. Talk with your doctor about your individual risks and benefits of using salmeterol inhalation.

If you use salmeterol inhalation for asthma, you must use it together with an inhaled steroid medicine for long-term asthma control. Seek medical attention if you think any of your asthma medications are not working as well as usual.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use salmeterol if you are allergic to salmeterol or to milk proteins.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It may not be safe to breastfeed while using this medicine. Ask your doctor about any risk.

Salmeterol can increase the risk of asthma-related hospitalization in children and teenagers. It is very important that children using salmeterol inhalation for asthma use it together with another long-term asthma control medication.

Do not give this medication to a child younger than 4 years old.

How should I use salmeterol inhalation?

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Salmeterol may increase the risk of asthma-related death. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Salmeterol is not a rescue medicine for asthma attacks. Use only fast-acting inhalation medicine for an attack. Seek medical attention if your breathing problems get worse quickly, or if you think your asthma medications are not working as well.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

If you use salmeterol inhalation for asthma, you must use it together with an inhaled steroid medicine for long-term asthma control. Use all asthma medications as directed. Your dose needs may change due to surgery, illness, stress, or a recent asthma attack. Do not change your dose or dosing schedule without your doctor's advice.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 7 days.

Do not stop using salmeterol inhalation without first talking to your doctor. Your asthma symptoms may get worse after you stop using the medication.

If you also use a steroid medication, you should not stop using it suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.

Store at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and sunlight.

Do not try to clean or take apart the Diskus device. Throw it away 6 weeks after you have taken it out of the foil pouch, or if the dose indicator shows a zero, whichever comes first. Each Diskus device contains 60 doses.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose and use your next dose at the regular time. Do not use two doses at one time.

Get your prescription refilled before you run out of medicine completely.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using salmeterol inhalation?

Do not exhale or blow into the Diskus device. Do not take the device apart or allow it to get wet.

Do not use a second form of salmeterol (such as Advair) or similar inhaled bronchodilator unless your doctor tells you to. This includes formoterol (Perforomist, Symbicort, Bevespi, Dulera), arformoterol (Brovana), indacaterol (Arcapta), olodaterol (Striverdi, Stiolto Respimat), or vilanterol (Anoro Ellipta, Breo Ellipta, Trelegy Ellipta).

Salmeterol inhalation side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • worsening asthma symptoms, or other breathing problems after using salmeterol;

  • severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears;

  • chest pain, fast or irregular heartbeats;

  • tremors, nervousness;

  • high blood sugar--increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor; or

  • low potassium level--leg cramps, constipation, irregular heartbeats, fluttering in your chest, increased thirst or urination, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness or limp feeling.

Common side effects may include:

  • headache;

  • flu symptoms;

  • joint or muscle pain;

  • throat irritation, cough; or

  • stuffy or runny nose.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect salmeterol inhalation?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines. Many drugs can affect salmeterol, especially:

This list is not complete and many other drugs may affect salmeterol. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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