Manufactured by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, Seretide is a highly effective preventer inhaler available in two forms, or two different devices. While Seretide evohaler is a conventional canister inhaler, accuhaler version relies on dry powder instead. Both versions rely on fluticasone and salmeterol as active ingredient and both are classified as preventer medicines.
What’s on this page?
This branded asthma medicine is both highly efficient and very popular within the UK where it is used by countless of asthmatics to successfully manage their condition and prevent the exacerbation of symptoms leading to an asthma attack.
Asthma treatment and management in the UK
According to statistical research conducted by the NHS, there are more than 5.5 million diagnosed asthmatics within the United Kingdom alone. This condition is a long-term, chronic respiratory illness that is usually manifested at a rather young age. While a significant percentage of asthmatics manage to simply “outgrow” the condition, some continue struggling with the symptoms throughout their adult life. The tell-tale signs and symptoms of asthma are well known – coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and occasional feeling of tightness and pressure in the chest.
While these symptoms might affect asthmatics early in the morning or in the late evening in moderate intensity, what makes asthma a dangerous health condition is the acute exacerbation of symptoms known as asthma attack. Attack are seldom “random”, instead, they are usually caused by the exposure to so-called triggers – different stimuli that can be surprisingly varied, ranging from the usual allergens such as dust and mould, to exercise, cold air, or sub-optimal levels of moisture in the environment.
Types of asthma treatments
There are two major types of asthma medicines – preventer and reliever medicines. The former class of pharmaceutical compounds, where Seretide belongs too, decrease the chances of symptoms occurring and exacerbating by easing the inflammation of the bronchi that causes them. In comparison, the latter type is used when an asthma attack occurs in order to quickly mitigate the symptoms and allow the breathing to continue as usual.
Preventer treatments are designed for everyday use in the dose prescribed by the doctor issuing the prescription. They aim to reduce the signs of inflammatory processes within the airways, leading to subsequent relaxation of muscle tissue lining them. This, in turn, contributes to the further widening of the bronchi, effectively eliminating the dangers of asthma attack occurring.
The active ingredients of Seretide, fluticasone and salmeterol achieve this in somewhat different ways. Fluticasone is classified as a corticosteroid which means that it works by limiting the activity of the immune system when a trigger is encountered. While the root causes of asthma are not known as of yet, there are many facts that seem to prove the thesis that the symptoms are directly linked to abnormally heightened responsiveness of the immune system. Not only do inflammatory processes lead to the already mentioned narrowing of the bronchi, but they also contribute to the production of excess phlegm and mucus which in turn further obstruct the airways. This is exactly what fluticasone was designed to prevent.
On the other hand, salmeterol is a long acting beta-2 agonist, meaning that it directly affects the muscle tissue lining the trachea and bronchi by stimulating specialized receptors within the body. This process will soothe tension of the muscles and contribute to the further widening of the airways, facilitating easier breathing. It is important to note that this differs slightly from the mechanism of action of short-acting, conventional beta-2 agonists which are conventionally used in reliever medicines. As opposed to their short-term effects, salmeterol can keep the airways open for as long as 12 hours.
How is Seretide used?
The precise and detailed instructions regarding the use of Seretide in asthma treatment and management will be provided to you over the course of the consultations with a doctor, necessary for issuing a prescription needed to buy this medicine. Additional data can be found in the official patient information leaflet – you can find one within every pack of Seretide. By precisely following these guidelines, you can minimize the risk of side effects while also ensuring maximum success of the treatment.
How is Seretide evohaler used?
Depending on the exact nature and severity of your condition, the starting dose will be either one or two puffs twice daily. For those affected by especially severe sub-type of asthma, the dose might be as high as four puffs twice per day.
Seretide evohaler is rather easy to use:
- Take off the protective covering and ensure there is no debris or other impurities on the device
- Shake the inhaler for a couple of seconds
- Exhale deeply
- Place the mouthpiece between teeth and press your lips around it so it is stable
- Breathe in deeply and steadily while simultaneously pressing the canister down in order to release the medicine
- Hold your breath for around 10 seconds (or as close to 10 seconds as possible)
- If your dose includes more than one puff, wait at least one minute before repeating the process
- After taking the prescribed dose, rinse your mouth with water in order to minimize the risk of sore throat (a common side effect)
How is Seretide accuhaler used?
The accuhaler version of Seretide is also simple to use. The starting dose will usually be smaller as compared to the evohaler version, commonly one administration, twice daily. If the condition is well-controlled and symptoms aren’t as prominent, the doctor might recommend reducing the dose to one puff per day.
The use of the device is just as simple:
- Slide the outer casing until the mouthpiece is visible
- Press the lever and you should hear a click
- Exhale deeply
- Position the mouthpiece between your limps
- Take a deep and steady breath through the device
- Hold your breath for 10 seconds (if possible)
- Slowly breathe out
- Close the outer case
- Rinse your mouth with water to prevent irritation of the throat
No matter which version are you using, it is important never to exceed the prescribed dose. To ensure maximum efficiency of the treatment, you must follow the doctor’s instructions precisely. If you feel that some changes should be made to your treatment, discuss it with a medical professional and never introduce changes by yourself.
Likewise, if you missed a dose, do not take a double one next time to compensate – simply continue with your usual treatment.
Is Seretide safe for me? What are the contraindications and side effects?
Every prescription medicine comes with potential side effects, but not everyone will experience them, naturally. In addition, if you disclose all the relevant data to your doctor, it should be easy to conclude whether this treatment is suitable for you.
The most common side effects of Seretide include muscle cramps and palpitations, while those rarer might include rash, increased heart rate, dizziness, insomnia and decreased levels of potassium in the blood. Swollen joints and chest pain are considered to be very rare.
It is important to note that if you notice symptoms similar to allergic reaction or worsening of asthma symptoms, you should contact the emergency services immediately.
Who can use Seretide?
This preventer asthma medicine should not be used in asthmatics who are also affected with some of the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Irregular heartbeat
- Hyperthyroidism (increased activity of the thyroid gland)
- High blood pressure
- Low blood potassium levels
In addition, if you’re lactose intolerant, this medicine might also cause some problems for you, so be sure to mention this to your doctor.
Finally, Seretide can adversely interact with some other medicines, including:
- Anti-fungal medicines
- Medicines for viral infections
- Other corticosteroids