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New Inhaler Approved by FDA for Treatment of COPD

  • June 12, 2013
  • RPh on the Go

The FDA announced on May 10 that it has approved the Breo Ellipta inhaler, which contains a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) vilanterol in combination with fluticasone furoate, for use in adults with COPD. This product is marketed by Glaxxo Smith Kline and Theravance, and offers an alternative to other variations of inhaler treatment on the market for those living with COPD.

Breo Ellipta is not approved for treatment of asthma, or to be used as a rescue inhaler. LABA can increase the chances of pneumonia or even cause death in the case of those with asthma. It remains unknown if these risks are present for those with COPD as well. The use of this medication can also worsen infections, cause eye disorders, and lead to increased bone density loss. Pharmacists must be aware of these potential dangers, and cover them extensively with patients that have been prescribed a Breo Ellipta inhaler for their treatment of COPD. The most common side effects that pharmacists should be aware of are oral candida (thrush) and upper respiratory infections. These minor side effects are also something that pharmacies should be aware of when patients fill a prescription for Breo Ellipta.

These inhalers are available in a standard 30 day use package, or a 14 day institutional pack. This medication should not be used in treatment for severe COPD, and discussing the severity of a patient’s symptoms is something that should be done by a pharmacist to ensure that Breo Ellipta will not cause adverse effects while the patient is on the medication. Staff may wish to conduct an overview or provide additional time with a customer that has questions regarding the side effects of Breo Ellipta. While questions may be numerous, addressing client concerns in regards to possible allergic reactions, worsening symptoms, or potentially lethal side effects is crucial.

Breo Ellipta is Glaxo Smith Kline’s follow up to Advair, and will be released in the third quarter of 2013. The alternative to Breo Ellipta is AstraZeneca’s twice-daily Symbicort, and Breo Ellipta offers patients an option for convenience with its once-daily dosage option, fitting into a patient’s often busy schedule. Breo Ellipta’s approval for long term use offers patients with COPD a long term medication to maintain their condition and keep it from worsening. This additional treatment option means that clients with COPD are offered greater flexibility in their treatment options, and an improved quality of life while managing their COPD.

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