"In an article published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, two respiratory specialists claim that doctors are overdiagnosing asthma in children, with inhalers being prescribed needlessly.
According to Asthma UK, 1.1 mill"...
Local Effects Of Inhaled Corticosteroids
In clinical trials, the development of localized infections of the mouth and pharynx with Candida albicans has occurred in subjects treated with FLOVENT DISKUS. When such an infection develops, it should be treated with appropriate local or systemic (i.e., oral) antifungal therapy while treatment with FLOVENT DISKUS continues, but at times therapy with FLOVENT DISKUS may need to be interrupted. Advise the patient to rinse his/her mouth with water without swallowing following inhalation to help reduce the risk of oropharyngeal candidiasis.
Acute Asthma Episodes
FLOVENT DISKUS is not to be regarded as a bronchodilator and is not indicated for rapid relief of bronchospasm. Patients should be instructed to contact their physicians immediately when episodes of asthma that are not responsive to bronchodilators occur during the course of treatment with FLOVENT DISKUS. During such episodes, patients may require therapy with oral corticosteroids.
Persons who are using drugs that suppress the immune system are more susceptible to infections than healthy individuals. Chickenpox and measles, for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in susceptible children or adults using corticosteroids. In such children or adults who have not had these diseases or been properly immunized, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. How the dose, route, and duration of corticosteroid administration affect the risk of developing a disseminated infection is not known. The contribution of the underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If a patient is exposed to chickenpox, prophylaxis with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) may be indicated. If a patient is exposed to measles, prophylaxis with pooled intramuscular immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package inserts for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information.) If chickenpox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered.
Inhaled corticosteroids should be used with caution, if at all, in patients with active or quiescent tuberculosis infections of the respiratory tract; systemic fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections; or ocular herpes simplex.
Transferring Patients From Systemic Corticosteroid Therapy
Particular care is needed for patients who have been transferred from systemically active corticosteroids to inhaled corticosteroids because deaths due to adrenal insufficiency have occurred in patients with asthma during and after transfer from systemic corticosteroids to less systemically available inhaled corticosteroids. After withdrawal from systemic corticosteroids, a number of months are required for recovery of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function.
Patients who have been previously maintained on 20 mg or more of prednisone (or its equivalent) may be most susceptible, particularly when their systemic corticosteroids have been almost completely withdrawn. During this period of HPA suppression, patients may exhibit signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency when exposed to trauma, surgery, or infection (particularly gastroenteritis) or other conditions associated with severe electrolyte loss. Although FLOVENT DISKUS may control asthma symptoms during these episodes, in recommended doses it supplies less than normal physiological amounts of glucocorticoid systemically and does NOT provide the mineralocorticoid activity that is necessary for coping with these emergencies.
During periods of stress or a severe asthma attack, patients who have been withdrawn from systemic corticosteroids should be instructed to resume oral corticosteroids (in large doses) immediately and to contact their physicians for further instruction. These patients should also be instructed to carry a warning card indicating that they may need supplementary systemic corticosteroids during periods of stress or a severe asthma attack.
Patients requiring oral corticosteroids should be weaned slowly from systemic corticosteroid use after transferring to FLOVENT DISKUS. Prednisone reduction can be accomplished by reducing the daily prednisone dose by 2.5 mg on a weekly basis during therapy with FLOVENT DISKUS. Lung function (mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] or morning peak expiratory flow [AM PEF]), beta-agonist use, and asthma symptoms should be carefully monitored during withdrawal of oral corticosteroids. In addition, patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, such as fatigue, lassitude, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and hypotension.
Transfer of patients from systemic corticosteroid therapy to FLOVENT DISKUS may unmask allergic conditions previously suppressed by the systemic corticosteroid therapy (e.g., rhinitis, conjunctivitis, eczema, arthritis, eosinophilic conditions).
During withdrawal from oral corticosteroids, some patients may experience symptoms of systemically active corticosteroid withdrawal (e.g., joint and/or muscular pain, lassitude, depression) despite maintenance or even improvement of respiratory function.
Hypercorticism And Adrenal Suppression
Fluticasone propionate will often help control asthma symptoms with less suppression of HPA function than therapeutically equivalent oral doses of prednisone. Since fluticasone propionate is absorbed into the circulation and can be systemically active at higher doses, the beneficial effects of FLOVENT DISKUS in minimizing HPA dysfunction may be expected only when recommended dosages are not exceeded and individual patients are titrated to the lowest effective dose. A relationship between plasma levels of fluticasone propionate and inhibitory effects on stimulated cortisol production has been shown after 4 weeks of treatment with fluticasone propionate inhalation aerosol. Since individual sensitivity to effects on cortisol production exists, physicians should consider this information when prescribing FLOVENT DISKUS.
Because of the possibility of significant systemic absorption of inhaled corticosteroids in sensitive patients, patients treated with FLOVENT DISKUS should be observed carefully for any evidence of systemic corticosteroid effects. Particular care should be taken in observing patients postoperatively or during periods of stress for evidence of inadequate adrenal response.
It is possible that systemic corticosteroid effects such as hypercorticism and adrenal suppression (including adrenal crisis) may appear in a small number of patients who are sensitive to these effects. If such effects occur, FLOVENT DISKUS should be reduced slowly, consistent with accepted procedures for reducing systemic corticosteroids, and other treatments for management of asthma symptoms should be considered.
Immediate Hypersensitivity Reactions
Immediate hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., urticaria, angioedema, rash, bronchospasm, hypotension), including anaphylaxis, may occur after administration of FLOVENT DISKUS. There have been reports of anaphylactic reactions in patients with severe milk protein allergy after inhalation of powder products containing lactose; therefore, patients with severe milk protein allergy should not use FLOVENT DISKUS [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].
Reduction In Bone Mineral Density
Decreases in bone mineral density (BMD) have been observed with long-term administration of products containing inhaled corticosteroids. The clinical significance of small changes in BMD with regard to long-term consequences such as fracture is unknown. Patients with major risk factors for decreased bone mineral content, such as prolonged immobilization, family history of osteoporosis, postmenopausal status, tobacco use, advanced age, poor nutrition, or chronic use of drugs that can reduce bone mass (e.g., anticonvulsants, oral corticosteroids) should be monitored and treated with established standards of care.
A 2-year trial in 160 subjects (females aged 18 to 40 years, males 18 to 50) with asthma receiving CFC-propelled fluticasone propionate inhalation aerosol 88 or 440 mcg twice daily demonstrated no statistically significant changes in BMD at any time point (24, 52, 76, and 104 weeks of double-blind treatment) as assessed by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry at lumbar regions L1 through L4.
Effect On Growth
Orally inhaled corticosteroids may cause a reduction in growth velocity when administered to pediatric patients. Monitor the growth of pediatric patients receiving FLOVENT DISKUS routinely (e.g., via stadiometry). To minimize the systemic effects of orally inhaled corticosteroids, including FLOVENT DISKUS, titrate each patient's dosage to the lowest dosage that effectively controls his/her symptoms [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, Use in Specific Populations].
Glaucoma And Cataracts
Glaucoma, increased intraocular pressure, and cataracts have been reported in patients following the long-term administration of inhaled corticosteroids, including fluticasone propionate. Therefore, close monitoring is warranted in patients with a change in vision or with a history of increased intraocular pressure, glaucoma, and/or cataracts.
As with other inhaled medicines, bronchospasm may occur with an immediate increase in wheezing after dosing. If bronchospasm occurs following dosing with FLOVENT DISKUS, it should be treated immediately with an inhaled, short-acting bronchodilator; FLOVENT DISKUS should be discontinued immediately; and alternative therapy should be instituted.
Drug Interactions With Strong Cytochrome P450 3A4 Inhibitors
The use of strong cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir, atazanavir, clarithromycin, indinavir, itraconazole, nefazodone, nelfinavir, saquinavir, ketoconazole, telithromycin) with FLOVENT DISKUS is not recommended because increased systemic corticosteroid adverse effects may occur [see DRUG INTERACTIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Eosinophilic Conditions And Churg-Strauss Syndrome
In rare cases, patients on inhaled fluticasone propionate may present with systemic eosinophilic conditions. Some of these patients have clinical features of vasculitis consistent with Churg-Strauss syndrome, a condition that is often treated with systemic corticosteroid therapy. These events usually, but not always, have been associated with the reduction and/or withdrawal of oral corticosteroid therapy following the introduction of fluticasone propionate. Cases of serious eosinophilic conditions have also been reported with other inhaled corticosteroids in this clinical setting. Physicians should be alert to eosinophilia, vasculitic rash, worsening pulmonary symptoms, cardiac complications, and/or neuropathy presenting in their patients. A causal relationship between fluticasone propionate and these underlying conditions has not been established.
Patient Counseling Information
Advise the patient to read the FDA-approved patient labeling (Patient Information and Instructions for Use).
Inform patients that localized infections with Candida albicans occurred in the mouth and pharynx in some patients. If oropharyngeal candidiasis develops, treat it with appropriate local or systemic (i.e., oral) antifungal therapy while still continuing therapy with FLOVENT DISKUS, but at times therapy with FLOVENT DISKUS may need to be temporarily interrupted under close medical supervision. Rinsing the mouth with water without swallowing after inhalation is advised to help reduce the risk of thrush.
Status Asthmaticus and Acute Asthma Symptoms
Inform patients that FLOVENT DISKUS is not a bronchodilator and is not intended for use as rescue medicine for acute asthma exacerbations. Advise patients to treat acute asthma symptoms with an inhaled, short-acting beta2-agonist such as albuterol. Instruct patients to contact their physicians immediately if there is deterioration of their asthma.
Warn patients who are on immunosuppressant doses of corticosteroids to avoid exposure to chickenpox or measles and, if exposed, to consult their physicians without delay. Inform patients of potential worsening of existing tuberculosis; fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections; or ocular herpes simplex.
Hypercorticism and Adrenal Suppression
Advise patients that FLOVENT DISKUS may cause systemic corticosteroid effects of hypercorticism and adrenal suppression. Additionally, inform patients that deaths due to adrenal insufficiency have occurred during and after transfer from systemic corticosteroids. Patients should taper slowly from systemic corticosteroids if transferring to FLOVENT DISKUS.
Immediate Hypersensitivity Reactions
Advise patients that immediate hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., urticaria, angioedema, rash, bronchospasm, hypotension), including anaphylaxis, may occur after administration of FLOVENT DISKUS. Patients should discontinue FLOVENT DISKUS if such reactions occur. There have been reports of anaphylactic reactions in patients with severe milk protein allergy after inhalation of powder products containing lactose; therefore, patients with severe milk protein allergy should not take FLOVENT DISKUS.
Reduction in Bone Mineral Density
Advise patients who are at an increased risk for decreased BMD that the use of corticosteroids may pose an additional risk.
Reduced Growth Velocity
Inform patients that orally inhaled corticosteroids, including FLOVENT DISKUS, may cause a reduction in growth velocity when administered to pediatric patients. Physicians should closely follow the growth of children and adolescents taking corticosteroids by any route.
Long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids may increase the risk of some eye problems (cataracts or glaucoma); consider regular eye examinations.
Use Daily for Best Effect
Patients should use FLOVENT DISKUS at regular intervals as directed. Individual patients will experience a variable time to onset and degree of symptom relief and the full benefit may not be achieved until treatment has been administered for 1 to 2 weeks or longer. Patients should not increase the prescribed dosage but should contact their physicians if symptoms do not improve or if the condition worsens. Instruct patients not to stop use of FLOVENT DISKUS abruptly. Patients should contact their physicians immediately if they discontinue use of FLOVENT DISKUS.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Fluticasone propionate demonstrated no tumorigenic potential in mice at oral doses up to 1.000 mcg/kg (approximately 2 and 10 times the MRHDID for adults and children aged 4 to 11 years, respectively, on a mg/m basis) for 78 weeks or in rats at inhalation doses up to 57 mcg/kg (approximately 0.2 times and approximately equivalent to the MRHDID for adults and children aged 4 to 11 years, respectively, on a mg/m basis) for 104 weeks.
Fluticasone propionate did not induce gene mutation in prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells in vitro. No significant clastogenic effect was seen in cultured human peripheral lymphocytes in vitro or in the in vivo mouse micronucleus test.
No evidence of impairment of fertility was observed in male and female rats at subcutaneous doses up to 50 mcg/kg (approximately 0.2 times the MRHDID for adults on a mg/m basis). Prostate weight was significantly reduced.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C. There are no adequate and well-controlled trials with FLOVENT DISKUS in pregnant women. Corticosteroids have been shown to be teratogenic in laboratory animals when administered systemically at relatively low dosage levels. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, FLOVENT DISKUS should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. Women should be advised to contact their physicians if they become pregnant while taking FLOVENT DISKUS.
Mice and rats at fluticasone propionate doses approximately 0.1 and 0.4 times, respectively, the maximum recommended human daily inhalation dose (MRHDID) for adults (on a mg/m basis at maternal subcutaneous doses of 45 and 100 mcg/kg/day, respectively) showed fetal toxicity characteristic of potent corticosteroid compounds, including embryonic growth retardation, omphalocele, cleft palate, and retarded cranial ossification. No teratogenicity was seen in rats at doses up to 0.3 times the MRHDID (on a mcg/m basis at maternal inhaled doses up to 68.7 mg/kg/day).
In rabbits, fetal weight reduction and cleft palate were observed at a fluticasone propionate dose approximately 0.03 times the MRHDID for adults (on a mg/m basis at a maternal subcutaneous dose of 4 mcg/kg/day). However, no teratogenic effects were reported atfluticasone propionate doses up to approximately 2 times the MRHDID for adults (on a mg/m basis at a maternal oral dose up to 300 mcg/kg/day). No fluticasone propionate was detected in the plasma in this study, consistent with the established low bioavailability following oral administration [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].
Fluticasone propionate crossed the placenta following subcutaneous administration to mice and rats and oral administration to rabbits.
Experience with oral corticosteroids since their introduction in pharmacologic, as opposed to physiologic, doses suggests that rodents are more prone to teratogenic effects from corticosteroids than humans. In addition, because there is a natural increase in corticosteroid production during pregnancy, most women will require a lower exogenous corticosteroid dose and many will not need corticosteroid treatment during pregnancy.
Hypoadrenalism may occur in infants born of mothers receiving corticosteroids during pregnancy. Such infants should be carefully monitored.
It is not known whether fluticasone propionate is excreted in human breast milk. However, other corticosteroids have been detected in human milk. Subcutaneous administration to lactating rats of tritiated fluticasone propionate at a dose approximately 0.04 times the MRHDID for adults on a mg/m basis resulted in measurable radioactivity in milk.
Since there are no data from controlled trials on the use of FLOVENT DISKUS by nursing mothers, caution should be exercised when FLOVENT DISKUS is administered to a nursing woman.
The safety and effectiveness of FLOVENT DISKUS in children aged 4 years and older have been established [see ADVERSE REACTIONS, CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY, Clinical Studies]. The safety and effectiveness of FLOVENT DISKUS in children younger than 4 years have not been established.
Effects on Growth
Orally inhaled corticosteroids may cause a reduction in growth velocity when administered to pediatric patients. A reduction of growth velocity in children or teenagers may occur as a result of poorly controlled asthma or from use of corticosteroids, including inhaled corticosteroids. The effects of long-term treatment of children and adolescents with inhaled corticosteroids, including fluticasone propionate, on final adult height are not known.
Controlled clinical trials have shown that inhaled corticosteroids may cause a reduction in growth in pediatric patients. In these trials, the mean reduction in growth velocity was approximately 1 cm/year (range: 0.3 to 1.8 cm/year) and appeared to depend upon dose and duration of exposure. This effect was observed in the absence of laboratory evidence of HPA axis suppression, suggesting that growth velocity is a more sensitive indicator of systemic corticosteroid exposure in pediatric patients than some commonly used tests of HPA axis function. The long-term effects of this reduction in growth velocity associated with orally inhaled corticosteroids, including the impact on final adult height, are unknown. The potential for “catch-up” growth following discontinuation of treatment with orally inhaled corticosteroids has not been adequately studied. The effects on growth velocity of treatment with orally inhaled corticosteroids for over 1 year, including the impact on final adult height, are unknown. The growth of children and adolescents receiving orally inhaled corticosteroids, including FLOVENT DISKUS, should be monitored routinely (e.g., via stadiometry). The potential growth effects of prolonged treatment should be weighed against the clinical benefits obtained and the risks associated with alternative therapies. To minimize the systemic effects of orally inhaled corticosteroids, including FLOVENT DISKUS, each patient should be titrated to the lowest dose that effectively controls his/her symptoms.
A 52-week placebo-controlled trial to assess the potential growth effects of fluticasone propionate inhalation powder (FLOVENT ROTADISK) at 50 and 100 mcg twice daily was conducted in the US in 325 prepubescent children (244 males and 81 females) aged 4 to 11 years. The mean growth velocities at 52 weeks observed in the intent-to-treat population were 6.32 cm/year in the placebo group (n = 76), 6.07 cm/year in the 50-mcg group (n = 98), and 5.66 cm/year in the 100-mcg group (n = 89). An imbalance in the proportion of children entering puberty between groups and a higher dropout rate in the placebo group due to poorly controlled asthma may be confounding factors in interpreting these data. A separate subset analysis of children who remained prepubertal during the trial revealed growth rates at 52 weeks of 6.10 cm/year in the placebo group (n = 57), 5.91 cm/year in the 50-mcg group (n = 74), and 5.67 cm/year in the 100-mcg group (n = 79). In children aged 8.5 years, the mean age of children in this trial, the range for expected growth velocity is: boys - 3rd percentile = 3.8 cm/year, 50th percentile = 5.4 cm/year, and 97th percentile = 7.0 cm/year; girls - 3rd percentile = 4.2 cm/year, 50th percentile = 5.7 cm/year, and 97th percentile = 7.3 cm/year. The clinical relevance of these growth data is not certain.
Safety data have been collected on 280 subjects (FLOVENT DISKUS n = 83, FLOVENT ROTADISK n = 197) aged 65 years and older and 33 subjects (FLOVENT DISKUS n = 14, FLOVENT ROTADISK n = 19) aged 75 years and older who have been treated with fluticasone propionate inhalation powder in US and non-US clinical trials. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger subjects, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Formal pharmacokinetic studies using FLOVENT DISKUS have not been conducted in patients with hepatic impairment. Since fluticasone propionate is predominantly cleared by hepatic metabolism, impairment of liver function may lead to accumulation of fluticasone propionate in plasma. Therefore, patients with hepatic disease should be closely monitored.
Formal pharmacokinetic studies using FLOVENT DISKUS have not been conducted in patients with renal impairment.This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/29/2014
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