How to use the Qvar inhaler, Autohaler, and Easi-Breathe
Qvar inhalers are available in three different inhaler devices, each in two strengths, containing either 50 micrograms or 100 micrograms of beclomethasone dipropionate per inhalation.
The "Qvar Aerosol Inhalation" is a normal inhaler device.
The "Qvar Autohaler" and "Qvar Easi-Breathe" inhalers are both breath-actuated. They are very similar to each other, and are ideal for people who have difficulty synchronising the pressing down of the inhaler button and breathing in. Prime the inhaler, either by pulling up a small button or opening the inhaler cap (depending on the device), and the inhaler releases the medicine into the mouth automatically when you breathe in.
The normal dosage of Qvar for asthma, for adults, is usually between 50 micrograms twice daily, to 200 micrograms two times a day. This will depend on the severity of the symptoms. In particularly severe cases, doctors can prescribe higher doses than this. However, it won’t usually be prescribed for children under 12 years old.
Qvar inhalers are CFC-free, and contain a different propellant to most other inhalers – this makes them more effective at delivering the beclomethasone to the lungs than other inhalers. Because of this, the dosage of Qvar is usually lower than the equivalent dosage of other beclomethasone inhalers (such as Clenil Modulite) but it still gives the same effect.
Talk to your doctor or asthma nurse if your symptoms are bad, or get worse in the future. You can discuss with them the best ways of managing the condition. You’re likely to have been shown by your own doctor, asthma nurse, or pharmacist how to use the inhaler correctly, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you are doing it right, as it could make the inhaler less effective if you're not. There is a useful guide at the Asthma UK website showing the best technique for many of the common types of inhalers.
Because some of the powdered medicine from the inhaler can get left behind in the mouth, you should rinse out your mouth or brush your teeth after using the inhaler each time to help avoid infection. If infection occurs a lot, your doctor might recommend a spacer device, which minimises the amount of medicine that stays in the mouth, or a different type of inhaler.
If you are using a high dose of this or any other steroid "preventer" inhaler, you shouldn’t stop using it suddenly without talking to your doctor first, as the rate of sudden withdrawal can make you feel unwell and bring on side effects.
Is Qvar suitable for me?
There are instances with the Qvar inhaler, as with all medicines, where you’ll be advised to use with caution - or it might not be recommended at all. This will apply to women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding, children under 12, people with worsening symptoms of asthma, people who have (or have had) pulmonary tuberculosis, and anyone with an allergy to beclomethasone or any of the inactive ingredients. Make sure you tell the online doctor if you are taking any other medicines, either prescribed by your doctor or purchased from a pharmacy, as it’s important we have all the details of your asthma and general health. The doctor will need all this information to properly assess your needs and make the right recommendation for your treatment.
What are the side effects of Qvar?
There’s always the possibility, like with all medicines, that using the inhaler could cause side effects. Reported side effects have included oral thrush (although this can be minimised by rinsing the mouth after each inhalation, or using a spacer device, as previously mentioned), hoarseness of the voice, and taste disturbances. Side effects that have been less commonly reported include headaches, skin rashes, vertigo, tremors, coughs, nausea, anxiety or depression or behavioural changes (mostly in children), and an unexpected increase in wheezing after using the inhaler. Please note, that if this happens, a fast-acting "reliever" inhaler should be used straight away and medical advice sought.
Because beclomethasone is a steroid, if it is used at high doses over a prolonged period, it may cause steroid-like side effects in the body – you can find more information about this in the leaflet provided with the product.
Before starting any treatment, please read the patient leaflet provided in the pack for all the information you need regarding how to use the product and potential side effects. The leaflets can also be viewed online here.