Oxeze Turbuhaler

Brand Name:Foradil, Symbicort Turbuhaler (combined with budesonide)

Prescription needed: Yes

What is this drug used for?

Formoterol is used to prevent and treat breathing problems associated with asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. It works by relaxing the muscles in the airways of the lungs, making it easier to breathe.

Is there any reason not to take this drug?

You should not take this drug if you are allergic to formoterol. Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had:

  • diabetes
  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure
  • hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) that is not well controlled
  • low amounts of potassium in the body
  • sensitivity to inhaled lactose (this is different from lactose intolerance)

Always disclose your full medical history with the medical team that is taking care of you, in order for them to provide you with the safest and most effective care.

What about possible side effects?

The following side effects are related to formoterol only. If you have the combination product Symbicort, please see budesonide to get information on other possible side effects.

This medication is usually well tolerated but you should be aware of some potential side effects. The following list of more common side effects can be quite bothersome, but unless they are severe, you should continue taking formoterol as prescribed. Contact your doctor or pharmacist to get advice on how to manage these side effects

  • throat irritation
  • headache
  • heart palpitation
  • tremors

Less common side effects include:

  • feeling anxious or restless
  • difficulty sleeping
  • taste disturbance
  • dizziness
  • increase in blood sugar (important for diabetics – when you start to use formoterol, test your blood sugar more often)
  • decrease in blood potassium
  • chest pain
  • muscle cramps

Other less common but potentially serious side effects include:

  • severe skin rash, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hives all over the body or near the face and throat – signs of an allergic reaction - stop taking formoterol and get emergency medical help immediately
  • increased difficulty breathing – consult with your doctor as soon as possible

This is not a complete list of side effects. If you are concerned about these or other unusual symptoms while taking this medication, ask your doctor and/or pharmacist for more information and advice.

What if I am taking other drugs?

Always provide your doctor with a list of all other drugs you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and herbal/natural products) as they may interact with and/or may change the safety or effectiveness of either drug. Tell your doctor specifically if you are taking any of these drugs as he/she may need to make changes or monitor you more closely:

  • Medications in the classes of amphetamines, epinephrine, phenylephrine, or pseudoephedrine - may increase the risk of side effects . Many nonprescription products contain these medications (e.g., diet pills and medications for colds). Talk to your doctor or pharmacist
  • Beta blockers (e.g. metoprolol, timolol, propranolol, labetalol, carvedilol, nadolol, pindolol, sotalol) - may reduce the effects of formoterol.
  • Theophylline, prednisone, methylprednisolone, dexamethasone, furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide – may increase risk of having low blood potassium
  • Salbutamol (brand name Ventolin), salmetrol, Advair, fenoterol, terbutaline – contains drugs similar to formoterol - increased risk of side effects
  • Ma huang, ephedra, certain types of ginseng, caffeine – may increase risks of having tremors, difficulty sleeping, racing heart
  • amiodarone, quinidine, disopyramide, sotalol, propafenone, procainamide, thioridazine, haloperidol - may increase your chances of having heart rhythm problems
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) e.g. phenelzine (brand name Nardil), tranylcypromine (brand name Parnate), moclobemide (brand name Manerix, generics available) isocarboxazid (available in the U.S.A. under the brand name Marplan) – risk of a serious rise in blood pressure – be aware of this while taking an MAOI or until 14 days after stopping an MAOI

Your doctor may need to make changes or monitor you more closely. If in doubt ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your list of medications.

Other information:

Special Instructions

Formoterol-only products (Oxeze, Foradil) are often prescribed to use together with other drugs called inhaled corticosteroids such as beclomethasone (e.g. Qvar), budesonide (e.g. Pulmicort) or fluticasone (e.g. Flovent) and are not meant to replace treatment with these drugs. You must continue treatment with these drugs as prescribed.

If you find that formoterol is not helping your breathing condition as well as it did before, or you find that you need more puffs than before, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

Formoterol may not work for you if you are not using the puffer device properly. Check with your pharmacist to see if you are using the puffer correctly.

It is important to inform your doctor or dentist that you are using formoterol if you have any planned surgery that requires use of anesthetics.

Children: Lower dose necessary. Not recommended for children under 6 years of age.

Seniors: May be more sensitive to side effects. More likely to have a heart condition and/or diabetes.

Pregnant women: Safe for use in pregnancy in normal doses.

Women who are nursing: Safe for use during breastfeeding.

People who drive or operate machinery: Should not do so until they know how this drug affects them personally; may cause dizziness and unsteady hands.

Alcohol: If you drink, always drink in moderation.

Overdose: An excessive dose of formoterol may cause significant heart problems. If you have taken a large overdose and/or notice any unusual symptoms, see a doctor.

Stopping the drug: This medication is used to prevent and treat breathing problems. Do not stop taking it without talking to your doctor as your symptoms may return.

If you miss a dose: Take it as soon as you remember, then continue taking as directed by your prescription. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose.

Storage conditions: Closed container; cool, dry location away from excess moisture (not in the bathroom) and light; always out of reach of children. Follow safety recommendations on the container.

Dietary precautions: No specific recommendations.