beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler (Qvar)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

What is beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler, and how does it work?

  • Beclomethasone is a synthetic steroid drug of the glucocorticoid family. The naturally-occurring glucocorticoid (cortisol or hydrocortisone) is produced in the adrenal glands. Glucocorticoid steroids have potent anti-inflammatory actions. When used as an inhaler, the medication goes directly into the lungs, and very little finds its way into the rest of the body. Therefore, in comparison with glucocorticoids that are taken orally, beclomethasone has fewer side effects.

What brand names are available for beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler?

  • Qvar is the brand name available for beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler in the US.
  • Vanceril and Beclovent are discontinued brand names for beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler in the US.

Is beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler available as a generic drug?

  • No

Do I need a prescription for beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler?

  • Yes

What are the uses for beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler?

  • Beclomethasone is used for the control of bronchial asthma in patients who require continuous treatment for asthma. Such patients may include those with frequent asthma episodes that require medications to dilate the airways in the lung or those with asthma episodes at night.
  • Beclomethasone is also used for the treatment of asthma in patients who require oral steroid therapy and it may reduce or eliminate the need for oral steroid treatment.

What are the side effects of beclomethasone dipropionate inhaler treatment?

Common side effects of include:

Other side effects include:

Other less common side effects included:

Using an inhaled bronchodilator (for example, albuterol or Ventolin) prior to the beclomethasone may minimize the side effects of mild cough or wheezing caused by the drug.

A spacer device that can be attached to the inhaler and washing out the mouth with water following each use of Qvar reduces the amount of Qvar in the mouth and throat and reduces the risk of thrush and hoarseness.

Higher doses of inhaled beclomethasone (more than 1000 mcg/day) may result in more absorption into the body. This may decrease bone formation and increase bone breakdown (resorption), resulting in weak bones and a risk of fractures. Even higher doses (more than 1500 mcg/day in adults and 400 mcg/day in children) may suppress the adrenal glands and impair their ability to make natural glucocorticoid. Patients with such suppression (which can be identified by testing) need increased amounts of glucocorticoid orally or by the intravenous route during periods of high physical stress since higher amounts of glucocorticoids are needed by the body to fight physical stress.

Patients receiving beclomethasone may develop easy bruising if enough beclomethasone is absorbed into the body from the lungs.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/11/2017

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