What is Qvar (beclomethasone)?

Qvar (beclomethasone) is a corticosteroid used to control 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. 

Qvar is also used to treat asthma in patients who require oral steroid therapy and it may reduce or eliminate the need for oral steroid treatment. Corticosteroids have potent anti-inflammatory actions. 

Common side effects of Qvar include:

Serious side effects of Qvar usually accompany higher doses and may include weak bones and risk of fractures and suppression of the adrenal glands.

No drug interactions have been described with Qvar treatment. 

There does not appear to be an increased risk of malformation in a child born to patients exposed to Qvar during pregnancy

It is unknown if Qvar is secreted in breast milk. Other drugs in this class of medications are secreted into breast milk, but is unknown if the small amounts of Qvar that appear in milk have any effect on the infant. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What are the important side effects of Qvar (beclomethasone)?

Common side effects of include:

  • Mild cough
  • Wheezing due to chemical irritation

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.

Qvar (beclomethasone) side effects list for healthcare professionals

Systemic and local corticosteroid use may result in the following:

  • Candida albicans infection
  • Immunosuppression
  • Hypercorticism and adrenal suppression
    • Growth effects
  • Glaucoma and cataracts

Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

The following reporting rates of common adverse experiences are based upon 4 clinical trials in which 1196 patients (671 female and 525 male adults previously treated with as-needed bronchodilators and/or inhaled corticosteroids) were treated with Qvar (doses of 40, 80, 160, or 320 mcg twice daily) or CFC-BDP (doses of 42, 168, or 336 mcg twice daily) or placebo.

Table 3 below includes all events reported by patients taking Qvar (whether considered drug related or not) that occurred at a rate over 3% for Qvar. In considering these data, difference in average duration of exposure and clinical trial design should be taken into account.

Table 3 Adverse Events Reported by at Least 3% of the Patients for Qvar by Treatment and Daily Dose

Adverse
Events
Placebo
(N=289)
%
Qvar
Total
(N=624)
%
80-160
mcg
(N=233)
%
320
mcg
(N=335)
%
640
mcg
(N=56)
%
Headache91215825
Pharyngitis486527
Upper Resp
Tract
Infection
1197115
Rhinitis96837
Increased
Asthma
Symptoms
183240
Oral Symptoms
Inhalation
Route
23332
Sinitus23330
Pain<12125
Back Pain112<14
Dysphonia2<1104

Other adverse events that occurred in these clinical trials using Qvar with an incidence of 1% to 3% and which occurred at a greater incidence than placebo were nausea, dysmenorrhea, and coughing. Oropharyngeal candidiasis occurred in <1% of patients in both Qvar and placebo treatment groups.

Pediatric Studies

In two 12-week placebo-controlled studies in steroid naive pediatric patients 5 to 12 years of age, no clinically relevant differences were found in the pattern, severity, or frequency of adverse events compared with those reported in adults, with the exception of conditions which are more prevalent in a pediatric population generally.

Postmarketing Experience

In addition to adverse reactions experienced in the clinical trials, the following adverse events have been reported during post-approval use of Qvar. Because they are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Local Effects: Localized infections with Candida albicans have occurred in patients treated with Qvar or other orally inhaled corticosteroids.

Psychiatric and Behavioral Changes: Aggression, depression, sleep disorders, psychomotor hyperactivity, and suicidal ideation have been reported (primarily in children).

What drugs interact with Qvar (beclomethasone)?

No Information Provided

Summary

Qvar (beclomethasone) is a corticosteroid used to control 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. Common side effects of Qvar include mild cough, wheezing due to chemical irritation, oral candidiasis or thrush, hoarseness, easy bruising, pain, and back pain. Serious side effects of Qvar usually accompany higher doses and may include weak bones and a risk of fractures and suppression of the adrenal glands. No drug interactions have been described with Qvar treatment. There does not appear to be an increased risk of malformation in a child born to patients exposed to Qvar during pregnancy. It is unknown if Qvar is secreted in breast milk.

Treatment & Diagnosis

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Medically Reviewed on 4/10/2020
References
FDA Prescribing Information
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