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Formoterol Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to formoterol: inhalation aerosol powder, inhalation capsule, inhalation solution

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by formoterol. In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking formoterol:

More common:
  • Body aches or pain
  • chills
  • cold or flu-like symptoms
  • cough or hoarseness
  • difficulty with breathing
  • ear congestion
  • fever
  • headache
  • loss of voice
  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • sore throat
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common:
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • cough-producing mucous
  • dry throat
  • labored breathing
  • pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones
  • shortness of breath
  • tender, swollen glands in the neck
  • tightness in the chest
  • trauma
  • trouble with swallowing
  • voice changes
  • Convulsions
  • decreased urine
  • dry mouth
  • fainting
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • increased thirst
  • loss of appetite
  • noisy breathing
Incidence not known:
  • Blurred vision
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • hives
  • itching
  • large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • skin rash
  • sweating

If any of the following symptoms of overdose occur while taking formoterol, get emergency help immediately:

Symptoms of overdose:
  • Arm, back, or jaw pain
  • chest tightness or heaviness
  • general feeling or discomfort or illness
  • increased hunger
  • increased urination
  • muscle pain
  • muscle spasm or jerking of all extremities
  • nausea
  • no blood pressure or pulse
  • numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or lips
  • palpitations or pounding in the ears
  • pounding or racing heartbeat or pulse
  • sleeplessness
  • slow heartbeat
  • stopping of heart
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • unconsciousness
  • vomiting

Minor Side Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur with formoterol may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common:
  • Agitation
  • back pain
  • increased mucous in the throat and lungs
  • leg cramps
  • muscle cramps
  • redness of the skin
  • restlessness
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
  • trouble sleeping

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to formoterol: inhalation capsule, inhalation solution


Cardiovascular side effects have included angina, hypertension or hypotension, tachycardia, palpitations and arrhythmias. Post marketing reports have included atrial fibrillation, ventricular extrasystoles, tachyarrhythmia and prolonged QT interval on electrocardiogram.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have included rash (1.1%).[Ref]


Endocrine side effects have included hyperglycemia.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included dry mouth and nausea.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects have included hypokalemia and metabolic acidosis.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have included muscle cramps.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have included nervousness, headache, tremor, dizziness, and insomnia.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have included bronchitis (4.6%), chest infection (2.7%), dyspnea (2.1%), dysphonia (1%) and tonsillitis (1.2%). Post marketing reports have included cough.[Ref]


General side effects have included fatigue and malaise.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have included anaphylactic reactions, urticaria, angioedema, rash, and bronchospasm. Postmarketing reports have included angioedema (presenting as face, lip, tongue, eye, pharyngeal, or mouth edema) and severe hypotension.


1. "Product Information. Foradil (formoterol)" Novartis Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ.

Not all side effects for formoterol may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.