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Serevent (salmeterol) Evohaler / Accuhaler

What is the Serevent Evohaler / Accuhaler?

Serevent (salmeterol) is prescribed for people whose asthma has not been controlled well enough on a reliever inhaler on its own, or a combination of a reliever and a preventer inhaler. It can be used to prevent symptoms of asthma that are brought on by exercise. It is also prescribed for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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How does the Serevent Evohaler / Accuhaler work?

Each Serevent "Evohaler" or "Accuhaler" contains salmeterol, which works by relaxing the muscles in the lungs to make it easier to breathe, and is classed as a long-acting bronchodilator. It is not prescribed on its own, but is used alongside other inhalers or tablets for asthma. There is a recognised step-wise approach to the treatment of asthma.

Referred to as either an "Evohaler" or "Accuhaler" instead of "inhaler", these are part of the brand name, and reflect the fact that they are free from CFC propellants and are inhaled in different ways.

Salmeterol does not start working very quickly, but it lasts for a long time (around 12 hours), so it is not suitable to relieve the immediate symptoms of asthma – you should also have been prescribed a "reliever" inhaler for this. Salmeterol is usually prescribed at the same time as other inhalers (usually a "reliever" and a "preventer" inhaler) and is intended to be used every day.

How to use the Serevent Evohaler / Accuhaler

The Serevent Evohaler contains 25 micrograms of salmeterol xinafoate per inhalation. The Serevent Accuhaler contains 50 micrograms of salmeterol xinafoate per inhalation.

The normal dosage for asthma, for adults and children over 12 years, is 50 micrograms twice a day, but the doctor can either increase this to 100 micrograms twice daily, or reduce it to 25 micrograms twice daily, according to the severity of your symptoms.

If your asthma symptoms are currently quite bad, or should you find they worsen in the future, discuss it with your doctor or asthma nurse. If you feel that your asthma isn’t very well controlled, it would be worth your while talking to your doctor about better ways of managing the condition.

You might also want to double-check that you’re using your inhaler in the correct way. A medical expert such as your doctor, pharmacist or asthma nurse should have shown you how to do this before. However, it is always a good idea to make sure you are doing it right, as, if you're not, the inhaler may not be working as effectively as possible for you. There is a useful guide at the Asthma UK website, which highlights the best technique for the most common types of inhalers.

What are the side effects of the Serevent Evohaler / Accuhaler?

Salmetrol is similar to all medicines, in that it can cause side effects.

Common side effects associated with this medicine include feeling shaky or nervous, headaches, muscle cramps, and palpitations. Meanwhile, less commonly reported side effects include insomnia, dizziness, skin rashes, nausea, heart rhythm disturbances and lowered potassium levels.

You may also discover an unexpected increase in wheezing after using the inhaler. If you do find this happens, use a fast-acting "reliever" inhaler immediately and seek the advice of a medical professional.

Be sure to check the leaflet provided in the pack before starting this treatment – it’s here where you’ll find the full list of potential side effects and any other important information that you need to be aware of.

The leaflets can also be viewed online here:

Is Serevent suitable for me?

In certain situations, the use of Serevent will be advised with caution - or may not be recommended at all. This may be the case for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, children and people of black African or Afro-Caribbean ancestry (studies have shown a greater chance of side effects). It may also apply to people who notice that their asthma is getting worse, people who have heart disease (such as angina, heart failure, or heart rhythm problems), hypokalaemia (low potassium levels), thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism), diabetes, and anyone with an allergy to salmeterol or any of the inactive ingredients.

It’s important that you inform the doctor of any other medicines you’re taking, whether they’ve been prescribed by your doctor or purchased from a pharmacy. Medicines the doctor should be made aware of include "beta blockers", such as propranolol, ketoconazole and theophylline or aminophylline.

While in your consultation, please make sure you give the doctor a clear picture of your asthma and health in general, so that your individual needs can be assessed and the right treatment advised.