Flunisolide Inhalation : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions & More

Why is this medication prescribed?
Flunisolide oral inhalation is used to prevent shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing caused by asthma in adults and children 6 years of age and older. It belongs to a class of medications called corticosteroids. Flunisolide works by decreasing swelling and irritation in the airways to make breathing easier.

How should this medicine be used?
Flunisolide comes as a spray to inhale by mouth. It is usually inhaled twice a day. Try to use flunisolide at around the same time every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any parts you do not understand. Use flunisolide exactly as directed. Do not use more or less, or use it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Talk to your doctor about how you should use your other oral and inhaled asthma medications during your treatment with flunisolide inhalation. If you are using any other inhaled medications, ask your doctor if you should inhale these medications for a certain amount of time before and after inhaling flunisolide inhalation. If you were taking an oral steroid such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), or prednisone (Rayos), your doctor may want to gradually decrease your steroid dose starting at least one week after you start using flunisolide inhalation.

Flunisolide inhalation helps prevent asthma attacks (sudden episodes of shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing) but will not stop an asthma attack that has already started. Do not use flunisolide inhalation during an asthma attack. Your doctor will prescribe a short-acting inhaler to use during asthma attacks.

Your doctor will likely prescribe an average inhalation dose of flunisolide. Your doctor may increase it if your symptoms have not improved after at least 4 weeks and then may decrease your dose when your symptoms are controlled.

Flunisolide inhalation controls asthma but does not cure it. It may take 2 to 4 weeks or more before you feel the full benefit of the medicine. Keep using flunisolide inhalation even if you feel fine. Do not stop using flunisolide inhalation without consulting your doctor.

Tell your doctor if your asthma worsens during your treatment. Call your doctor if you have an asthma attack that doesn’t stop when you use your quick-acting asthma medicine, or if you need to use more quick-acting medicine than usual.

Each canister of flunisolid spray is designed to deliver 60 or 120 puffs, depending on its size. After the number of puffs indicated on the label have been used, subsequent puffs may not contain the correct amount of medicine. You should also keep track of the number of puffs you use each day so you know the exact number of sprays left in your inhaler. Throw away the canister after you have used the number of puffs indicated on the label, even if it still contains some liquid and continues to deliver a spray when pressed. If your inhaler falls off, do not use the number on the counter to predict the number of puffs left in your inhaler.

Before using your flunisolide aerosol inhaler for the first time, read the written instructions that come with it. Look at the diagrams carefully and make sure you recognize all the parts of the inhaler. Ask your doctor, pharmacist, or respiratory therapist to show you how to use it.

Do not use your flunisolide inhaler while it is near an open flame or source of heat. The inhaler can explode if exposed to very high temperatures.

To use the aerosol inhaler, follow these steps. Do not use the inhaler with any additional spacers.:

  1. Make sure the inhaler is at room temperature.
  2. If you are using the inhaler for the first time or if you have not used the inhaler in more than 14 days, prime it by releasing 2 test sprays into the air, away from your face. Be careful not to spray the medicine in your eyes or face.
  3. Place the bottom of the gray spacer at the base of your thumb and index finger in the container. Check to make sure the canister is positioned on the purple actuator.
  4. Hold the canister between your thumb and forefinger and shake the inhaler.
  5. Inhale and exhale through your mouth.
  6. After exhaling, place the mouthpiece in your mouth and close your lips around it.
  7. Breathe deeply and slowly through your mouth. At the same time, firmly press the center of the dose indicator on the top of the container with your index finger. Remove your index finger as soon as you release the spray.
  8. When you have breathed in fully for at least 3 seconds, remove the inhaler from your mouth and close your mouth.
  9. Try to hold your breath for about 10 seconds, then breathe out gently and then breathe normally.
  10. If your doctor has told you to take more than one inhalation per treatment, repeat steps 4 through 9.
  11. Push the actuator back to the straight position.
  12. Rinse your mouth with water and spit out the water. Do not swallow the water.

Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

Before using flunisolide inhalation,

  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to flunisolide, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in flunisolide inhalation. Ask your pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
  • Tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: oral steroids such as dexamethasone, methylprednisolone (Medrol), and prednisone (Rayos), and seizure medications. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you closely for side effects. Many other medications can also interact with flunisolide inhalation, so be sure to tell your doctor about all the medications you are taking, even those that do not appear on this list.
  • Do not use flunisolide during an asthma attack. Your doctor will prescribe a short-acting inhaler to use during asthma attacks. Call your doctor if you have an asthma attack that does not stop when you use quick-acting asthma medicine, or if you need to use more quick-acting medicine than usual.
  • Tell your doctor if you have been on bed rest or cannot move for a long time, or if you or someone in your family has or has ever had osteoporosis (a condition in which the bones become thin and weak and break easily) . Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had tuberculosis (TB: a type of lung infection), cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye), or glaucoma (an eye disease). Also tell your doctor if you have any type of untreated infection anywhere in your body or a herpes eye infection (a type of infection that causes a sore on the eyelid or on the surface of the eye).
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using flunisolide, call your doctor.
  • If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using flunisolide inhalation.
  • If you have other medical conditions, such as asthma, arthritis, or eczema (a skin disease), they can get worse when the dose of oral steroids is reduced. Tell your doctor if this happens or if you experience any of the following symptoms during this time: extreme tiredness, muscle weakness, or pain; sudden pain in your stomach, lower body, or legs; loss of appetite; weightloss; stomachache; vomiting diarrhea; dizziness; Fainting; depression; irritability; and darkening of the skin. Your body may be less able to handle stress such as surgery, illness, a severe asthma attack, or injury during this time. Call your doctor right away if you get sick and make sure all healthcare providers who treat you know that you recently replaced your oral steroid with flunisolide inhalation. Carry a card or wear a medical identification bracelet to inform emergency personnel that you may need to be treated with steroids in an emergency.
  • Tell your doctor if you have never had chickenpox or measles and have not been vaccinated against these infections. Stay away from sick people, especially those with chickenpox or measles. If you are exposed to one of these infections or if you have symptoms of one of these infections, call your doctor immediately. You may need treatment to protect yourself from these infections.
  • You should know that inhaling flunisolide sometimes causes wheezing and shortness of breath immediately after inhaling it. If this happens, use your fast-acting (rescue) asthma medicine right away and call your doctor. Do not use flunisolide inhalation again unless your doctor tells you to.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.

What should I do if I forget a dose?
Skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not use a double dose to make up for a missed one.

What side effects can this medication cause?

Flunisolide inhalation may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • painful white patches in the mouth or throat
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • swelling of nose, throat, and sinuses
  • cough
  • nose bleeds
  • pain during urination

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms or those in the SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:

  • hives
  • rash
  • itching
  • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • hoarseness
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • chest pain or tightness
  • vision problems
  • fever, aches, or chills

Inhaling flunisolide can make children grow more slowly. Your child’s doctor will watch your child’s growth carefully while your child is using flunisolide inhalation. Talk to your child’s doctor about the risks of giving this medicine to your child.

In rare cases, people who used flunisolide inhalation for a long time developed glaucoma or cataracts. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using flunisolide inhalation and how often to examine your eyes during treatment.

Inhaling flunisolide can increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medicine.

Inhaling flunisolide may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while using this medicine.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor can submit a report online to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Store your flunisolide inhaler out of the reach of children, at room temperature, and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Do not store the inhaler near a heat source or an open flame. Protect the inhaler from freezing and direct sunlight. Do not puncture the aerosol container and do not dispose of in an incinerator or fire.

Unnecessary medications must be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and others cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medicine down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medications is through a drug take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage / recycling department to find out about take-back programs in your community. Check out the FDA drug safe disposal website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.

It is important to keep all medicines out of the sight and reach of children, as many containers (such as those containing weekly pills and those for eye drops, creams, patches and inhalers) are not child-resistant and small children can easily open them. To protect young children from poisoning, always close the safety caps and immediately place the medicine in a safe place, one that is upright and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org

What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.

Don’t let anyone use your medicine. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important that you keep a written list of all the prescription and over-the-counter (over-the-counter) medications you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should take this list with you every time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to take with you in case of emergencies.

Brand Names

  • AeroBid® Inhaler System
  • Aerospan® HFA

Disclaimer: We have made every effort to ensure that all information is factually accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a licensed health care professional’s choice of knowledge and expertise. You should always consult your doctor or other health care professional before taking any medication. The information given here is subject to change and it has not been used to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or adverse effects. The lack of warning or other information for any drug does not indicate that the combination of medicine or medication is safe, effective or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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