|Type of medicine||Long-acting beta2 agonist bronchodilator|
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
|Also called||Salmeterol xinafoate
Seretide® (salmeterol combined with fluticasone)
|Available as||Accuhaler, evohaler, and diskhaler|
Salmeterol is used to treat asthma and other lung-related problems.
Salmeterol is a bronchodilator which means that it works by opening up the air passages in the lungs so that air can flow into the lungs more freely. This helps to control the symptoms of asthma and COPD, such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
If you have asthma, salmeterol will be used alongside a regular inhaled corticosteroid treatment (also called 'steroid' or 'preventer' inhalers). Some salmeterol inhalers already contain a corticosteroid.
Salmeterol takes longer than some other bronchodilator inhalers to have an effect. This means that this inhaler is not suitable for the relief of an acute asthma attack.
Before using salmeterol
Before using salmeterol make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland).
- If you have heart problems.
- If you have hypertension (high blood pressure).
- If you have diabetes.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to use salmeterol
- Before beginning treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet to make sure you understand how to use your inhaler.
- Use salmeterol exactly as directed by your doctor. Use the inhaler regularly, but do not use it more often than you have been told to. It is usually used twice each day unless you have been told otherwise by your doctor.
- If you forget a dose, use the inhaler as soon as you remember and then carry on as before.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Salmeterol does not work quickly enough to relieve an asthma attack that has already started. If you have asthma, your doctor will prescribe another inhaler for you to use if you get an attack. Make sure that you keep it with you all the time.
- If you use a corticosteroid (preventer) inhaler you should continue to use it even if salmeterol improves your symptoms.
- If you do not feel that salmeterol is helping your breathing or if you feel it is making it worse, return to your doctor for advice.
- Keep your regular doctor's appointments so your progress can be monitored. Your doctor or nurse may also want to check your technique to make sure you know how to use your inhaler correctly.
- Do not smoke. Smoking causes severe irritation and damage to the lungs. It will make your condition worse and will reduce the beneficial effects of your medication.
- If at any time you do not feel you are getting the same benefit as with a previous dose, or if your breathing gets worse, speak with your doctor or clinic as soon as possible.
- Do not stop using salmeterol without speaking with your doctor first.
- If you have diabetes you must check your blood glucose levels regularly as this preparation can affect the levels of sugar in your blood.
- Keep your inhaler clean and free from any dust or particles which you could choke on.
- If you are having any treatment like an operation or dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with your other medicines.
Can salmeterol cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Possible side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Feeling sick||Eat little and often. Stick to simple foods|
|Dizziness||Make sure your reactions are normal before driving or operating machinery|
|Feeling shaky, nervousness, muscle cramps or pain, rash, and palpitations||If troublesome, speak with your doctor or clinic|
Important: if your breathing deteriorates speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store salmeterol
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 59th Edition (March 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Serevent® Evohaler,; Manufacturer's PIL, Serevent® Evohaler, Allen & Hanburys Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Serevent® Accuhaler; Manufacturer's PIL, Serevent® Accuhaler, Allen & Hanburys Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated January 2010.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Serevent® Diskhaler; Manufacturer's PIL, Serevent® Diskhaler, Allen & Hanburys Ltd, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated July 2010.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 20/08/2010||Document ID: 3396 Version: 22||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.