A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.
Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD are both conditions that affect the lungs, asthma often starts in childhood whereas COPD is something you develop later in life, both conditions can be hereditary but COPD is more often caused by smoking or inhaling toxic fumes. Both conditions are characterised by inflamed airways which causes breathlessness and wheezing as you struggle to get enough air into your lungs. There are a range of medicines that can treat both conditions from steroids to reliever inhalers to lifestyle changes, but one medicine these conditions share is a preventer inhaler which works by decreasing the swelling in the airways so that they remain more open and you can get air into your lungs more easily.
What is Seretide?
Seretide contains two active ingredients with different functions, salmeterol and fluticasone propionate.
Salmeterol works as a bronchodilator – this means that it helps to keep your airways open.
Fluticasone propionate is a corticosteroid, it is used to reduce swelling, inflammation and irritation in the airways.
When is Seretide used?
Seretide is used to keep the airways open and reduce irritation and inflammation in the airways. These properties are useful when treating:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Seretide is a long term preventative inhaler that can be used by children (aged 4 and over) and adults. It is used to help prevent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing.
How do you use Seretide?
Seretide is available in two types of inhaler:
- An Evohaler (aerosol inhaler);
- An Accuhaler (which works with powder and capsules).
To use the Evohaler:
- Remove the cap from the inhaler and check that it is clean;
- Shake the inhaler 4 to 5 times;
- Breathe out as far as is comfortable;
- Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and form a seal with your lips;
- As you start to breathe in press down on the top of the inhaler and keep breathing in;
- Remove the inhaler and hold your breath for 3 seconds or as long as is comfortable;
- Repeat if required;
- Replace the cap firmly once you are finished;
- Wash your mouth out with water or brush your teeth after taking your inhaler to help prevent thrush;
- This inhaler can also be used with a spacer – which gives you the ability to take the puff of medication in over several breaths – this is useful if you struggle to press the inhaler and breathe in at the same time or you struggle to breathe deeply enough to get the medicine into your airways properly.
To use the Accuhaler:
- Open the inhaler by holding the outer case in one hand and putting the thumb of your other hand on the thumb grip, push away from you with your thumb until you hear a click;
- Slide the lever away from you as far as it will go until you hear a click, this loads the powder ready for you to inhale, only do this once to release the correct amount of medicine;
- Hold the Accuhaler flat and breathe out away from the inhaler;
- Place the mouthpiece in your mouth and breathe in deeply;
- Remove the inhaler and hold your breath for ten seconds or as long as is comfortable;
- Breathe out slowly;
- Close the inhaler by sliding the thumb grip towards you until you hear a click – this will also reset the lever;
- When you are finished rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth to help prevent thrush;
If you are unsure how to use your inhaler check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist as they will be able to help.
What dosages are there?
As with all medication, you should follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist when it comes to how much you should take, how often and for how long.
Seretide comes in 3 different doses in each type of inhaler.
For the Accuhaler:
As a rule, these would treat mild, moderate and severe asthma from the lowest dose to the highest. Only the strongest dose of 50/500 is used to treat COPD.
For asthma in adults and children 12 and over the dose would be
- 50/100 – one inhalation twice a day;
- 50/250 – one inhalation twice a day;
- 50/500 - one inhalation twice a day.
Children aged 4 – 12 years:
- 50/100 – one inhalation twice a day.
- For adults with COPD:
- 50/500 – one inhalation twice a day.
For the Evohaler the doses are:
For asthma in adults and children 12 or over the dose would be:
- 25/50 – two puffs twice a day;
- 25/125 - two puffs twice a day;
- 25/250 – two puffs twice a day.
Children aged 4 – 12 years:
- 25/50 – two puffs twice a days.
A few important points:
- Take the Evohaler morning and night;
- Both the Accuhaler and Evolhaler should be taken at the same time(s) every day;
- Continue taking your medicine until your doctor tells you to stop as these are long-term medicines;
- Do not change the dose without talking to your doctor;
- Do not use these inhalers if you are suffering from an attack of coughing or wheezing, these are preventative inhalers and will not work in those circumstances, you should have a reliever inhaler for those incidences.
- If you forget to take your inhaler, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for your next dose. In this case, simply skip the missed dose, never take a double dose to make up for a missed dose;
What are the side effects of Seretide?
As with all medicines, Seretide comes with a warning of some side effects, although not everyone who takes Seretide will experience them.
The most serious side effects are an allergic reaction – which affects less than 1 in 100 people and pneumonia in COPD sufferers which affects up to 1 person in 10.
Signs of an allergic reaction:
- Rapid heartbeat;
- Sudden onset of wheezing, coughing or breathlessness;
- Swelling around the face, mouth, tongue eyes or throat;
- Severe itching with a rash or hives.
Signs of pneumonia:
- An increase in mucus or changes in mucus colour;
- Fever or chills;
- Increase coughing or breathing difficulties.
Very common side effects, affecting more than 1 in 10 people include:
- Getting more colds.
Common side effects, affecting up to 1 in 10 people include:
- Muscle paint;
- Swollen joints;
- Muscle cramps;
- Sore tongue;
- Swollen throat.
Patients with COPD may also experience the following common side effects:
- Inflammation of the sinuses;
- Bruising and fractures;
- A reduction in the amount of potassium in the blood causing cramps, uneven heartbeat and muscle weakness.
Uncommon side effects, affecting less than 1 in 100 people include:
- Chest pain;
- Very fast heartbeat;
- Feeling shaky;
- An increased amount of sugar in the blood;
- Disturbed sleep;
- Feeling worried;
- Skin rashes.
Rare side effects, affecting less than 1 in 100 people include:
- Breathing difficulties or wheezing;
- Changes in behaviour – being overactive or irritable – especially in children;
- Fungal infection in the oesophagus;
- Uneven heartbeat.
Rare side effects related to long term steroid use:
- Thinning of the bones;
- Weight gain;
- Rounded face;
- Slow growth in children and adolescents.
When shouldn’t you use Seretide?
Do not take Seretide if any of the following apply to you:
You are allergic to salmeterol, fluticasone propionate or any of the other ingredients listed on the packet.
Take special care with Seretide if you have any of the following:
- Diabetes mellitus;
- Heart disease;
- Overactive thyroid gland;
- Low potassium in your blood;
- High blood pressure.
Does Seretide interact with other medications?
Always tell your doctor about any other medication you are taking or have recently taken, including herbal remedies and supplements. Some medicines can interact with each other making them less effective or causing your more problems.
With Seretide take special care with the following:
- Beta-blockers like atenolol, propranolol and sotalol used for high blood pressure and heart conditions;
- Corticosteroids – you may be at increased risk of issues with your adrenal gland;
- Xanthine medicines used to treat asthma;
- Medicines to treat infections like ketoconazole and itraconazole;
- Some HIV medicines;
- Other bronchodilators like Salbutamol.
Where can you buy Seretide?
You can buy Seretide from any reputable pharmacy, as long as the shop has a pharmacist present you will be able to get your medication. As this is a long term medication you are likely to need it on an ongoing basis so it’s worth finding a convenient pharmacy to buy it from every time.
Can I get Seretide without a prescription?
No, you cannot get Seretide without a prescription, it is a prescription-only medication so you will need to consult with a doctor before you can get it. The doctor will ensure that your condition is suitable for this treatment as coughing and wheezing can have many causes.
The doctor will also advise you about what dose to take and for how long, ensuring you are monitored properly throughout the treatment to make sure it is working and is indeed right for you, as different medicines affect different people in different ways.
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