Formoterol is used to treat asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).
Formoterol is used together with long-term asthma controllers such as corticosteroids. This medicine helps treat your asthma or chest illnesses by relaxing the airways in your lungs, relieving chest tightness, wheezing and cough so that you can breathe more easily.
Formoterol is also used to prevent asthma brought on by exercise.
Use Formoterol exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not use more or less than instructed by your doctor.
Formoterol is available as different types of devices, such as a turbuhaler or a capsule inhaler. It is also available as a nebulising solution, to be used with a machine known as a nebuliser.
Make sure you know how to use the specific device or machine you have been given. If you have problems or do not understand the instructions, ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you how to use it.
Always rinse your mouth and throat after using your inhaler.
If you are using Formoterol to relieve asthma brought on by exercise, use your inhaler 15 minutes before you start exercising.
Formoterol must be used regularly for it to be effective. Continue using Formoterol even when you feel better. Do not stop using it unless instructed by your doctor.
If you miss a dose of Formoterol, use it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the usual time. Formoterol should not be taken more often than every 12 hours.
DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.
If you often forget to use your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
Do not use Formoterol alone to treat asthma. It should be used with long-term asthma controllers such as corticosteroids.
Inform your doctor if you have:
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- thyroid problems
- pheochromocytoma (a tumour of the adrenal gland)
- low levels of potassium in your blood
Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you also have diabetes, be sure to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly because Formoterol may cause your blood sugar to rise.
If you are using a nebuliser mask, make sure that it fits well on your face. Do not allow the nebulising solution to enter your eyes. If the solution gets into your eyes, flush with clean water immediately. See a doctor quickly if there is pain, discomfort, blurred or abnormal vision after the solution or mist enters your eyes.
This medicine may cause any of the following side effects: nervousness, shaky hands, headache, nausea, sore throat and dry mouth.
It may also cause a yellowish coating on your tongue and the inside of your mouth. This is a fungal infection known as oral thrush. Rinse your mouth with water after you use Formoterol inhalation to minimise this problem.
You may feel that your heart beats faster and more forcefully, causing a "pounding" sensation in your chest. Make sure you inform your doctor but do not stop taking Formoterol unless told to do so.
If you develop wheezing after inhalation stop the medicine and alert your doctor immediately.
Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Inform your doctor if you are taking any of these medicines:
- other asthma medicines e.g. theophylline
- heart medicines e.g. digoxin, quinidine, metoprolol
- diuretics (water pill) e.g. furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide
- antidepressants e.g. amitriptyline
- antihistamines e.g. terfenadine
- antibiotics e.g. erythromycin
This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Formoterol.
Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
Try to limit your intake of caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee, tea and certain soft drinks. This is because caffeine can increase some of the side effects of Formoterol.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.