Medically Approved

Advair Diskus and asthma/COPD treatment

Man using an Advair Diskus or HFA asthma inhaler

Optum Perks Author

By Optum Perks Author

Advair Diskus is a prescription drug given to people suffering from asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). It is used to control asthma but should not be used to treat sudden asthma attacks. Advair Diskus should not replace an emergency inhaler. Advair Diskus contains salmeterol, a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA). A trial in the U.S. compared the safety of salmeterol with a placebo used with other therapy methods on asthma patients. The study found that there were more asthma-related deaths among patients that used salmeterol.

This finding means that the use of Advair Diskus increases the risk of rheumatic asthma-related death. Physicians should only prescribe it to a patient if other long-term asthma control drugs are not working or if the asthma is so severe that it requires two control medications. Through tests, the LABA in Advair has also been proved to increase hospitalization of pediatric and adolescent asthma patients.

Asthma and COPD Similarities

Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) are conditions that cause quite similar symptoms. Their symptoms include:

  • Short breath, which is caused by the inability to draw enough air into the lungs
  • Chronic coughing (if the coughing produces sputum, it is a strong indicator of COPD)
  • Wheezing, a sign of blocked airwaves where the air is squeezed through airways. In normal circumstances, it should flow easily.

Also, there are diseases and conditions that can be experienced in addition to the main disease. These are called comorbidities. Comorbidities for both asthma and COPD are also similar, and they include:

  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired mobility
  • Migraine
  • Insomnia
  • Cancer
  • Sinusitis
  • Stomach ulcers

Asthma and COPD Differences

In both asthma and COPD, the airwaves are blocked. The main cause of these symptoms come from a patient not being able to get enough air into the lungs. However, the two conditions are different in some ways including:

  • COPD patients: airways usually become swollen and filled with so much mucus that it is difficult to breathe well. With asthma patients, it is the same, but the blockage of airways is triggered by elements such as dust, cold air, smoke and pollen. COPD patients also have these elements as triggers. The difference is COPD sufferers can have attacks even in the absence of these triggers.
  • A COPD patient has damaged lungs while asthma patients do not have damage to their lungs. They only experience blocked airways.
  • COPD is caused by exposure to cigarette smoke, chemicals and other elements of air pollution while asthma is mainly genetic.

Advair Diskus vs HFA

Advair Diskus and HFA are both approved medications for patients with asthma. Advair Diskus is used for patients above the age of 4 years while HFA is used for patients above the age of 12 years. Advair Diskus has been approved as a medication for COPD patients, but only adult patients can use Advair Diskus for COPD treatment. HFA should never be used to treat COPD.

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Both Advair Diskus and HFA should only be taken in doses of one inhalation per day. Taking more than one inhalation a day is considered an overdose. Taking more Advair Diskus or HFA than prescribed does not cause any more benefits than a normal dose would.

Dealing with Out-of-Pocket Costs

Out-of-pocket costs can be a heavy burden on patients and their families, especially when chronic illnesses such as asthma are concerned. The need for emergency care and the cost of medication for chronic diseases such as asthma and COPD are what make the out-of-pocket costs for these patients so high. Consequently, these costs cause many patients to not adhere fully to their prescribed medication, which increases their chances of hospitalization and even death. The primary way to deal with this out-of-pocket problem is to get health insurance.

For people with chronic diseases, you should look for insurance that has the best provisions for emergency care. The idea behind this is that when one has health coverage, he or she is more likely to take their medication more consistently because they worry less about what it will cost.