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Beclomethasone

Pronounced: BECK-low-METH-ah-sone
Brand names: Beclovent, Beconase AQ Nasal Spray, Beconase Inhalation Aerosol, Qvar Inhalation Aerosol, Vancenase AQ Nasal Spray and Double Strength Nasal Spray, Vancenase Nasal Inhaler and PocketHaler Nasal Inhaler, Vanceril Inhalation Aerosol and Double Strength Inhalation Aerosol, Vanceril Inhaler


Why is this drug prescribed: Beclomethasone is a type of steroid used for respiratory problems. Beclovent and Vanceril are prescribed for the prevention of recurring symptoms of bronchial asthma. Beconase and Vancenase are used to relieve the symptoms of hay fever and to prevent regrowth of nasal polyps following surgical removal.

Most important fact about this drug: Beclomethasone is not a bronchodilator medication (it does not quickly open the airways); and it should not be used for relief of asthma when bronchodilators and other nonsteroid drugs prove effective. Do not expect immediate relief from beclomethasone, and do not take higher doses in an attempt to make it work. It is not intended for rapid relief, but it will help control symptoms when taken routinely.

How should you take this medication: Beclomethasone is prescribed in an oral inhalant or a nasal spray form. Use this medication only as preventive therapy, and take only the dose prescribed. Although some people begin to notice improvement within a day or two, it may take 1 or 2 weeks for the full benefits to appear. If there's no improvement after 3 weeks, let your doctor know. If you are already taking a steroid in tablet form for asthma, you'll need to make a gradual transition to the oral inhalant. During the first week, you'll probably take the usual number of tablets. After that, you'll be instructed to slowly reduce the number of tablets, replacing them with the inhalant. Be sure to take the drug regularly, even if you have no symptoms. Many people will require additional drugs to control asthma symptoms fully, but this drug may allow other drugs to be used in smaller doses. If you are also using a bronchodilator inhalant, take it before inhaling beclomethasone. This will improve the effect of the second drug. Take the two inhalations several minutes apart. Spray the inhalation aerosol into the air twice before you use it for the first time and when you have not used it for more than 7 days. Use it within 6 months. Before you use Vancenase AQ 84 microgram nasal spray, press the pump 6 times or until you see a fine spray. If you don't use it for more than 4 days, reprime the pump by spraying once or until a fine spray appears. To use the inhaler: 1. Remove the cap and hold inhaler upright. 2. Shake the inhaler thoroughly. 3. Take a drink of water to moisten the throat. 4. Breathe out as fully as you comfortably can. Hold the inhaler upright and close your lips around the mouthpiece, keeping your tongue below it. 5. While pressing down on the can, inhale deeply. Hold your breath as long as you can. 6. Take your finger off the can, remove the inhaler, and breathe out gently. 7. Allow at least 1 minute between inhalations. Gargling and rinsing your mouth with water after each dose may help prevent hoarseness and throat irritation. Do not swallow the water after you rinse. Be careful to avoid spraying the medication into your eyes. This medication comes with directions. Read them carefully before using it. --If you miss a dose... Take it as soon as you remember and take the remaining doses for that day at evenly spaced intervals. If it is time for your next dose, skip the one you missed. Never take 2 doses at the same time. --Storage instructions... Store at room temperature in a dry place, away from heat and cold. Do not puncture the container, store it near open flame, or dispose of it in a fire or incinerator.

What side effects may occur: Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication. Side effects may include: Acne, agitation, allergic reactions, breathing problems, bruising, cataracts, chest pain, cold sores, cough, depression, dizziness, dry mouth, ear infections, fever, fluid retention, flu-like symptoms, headache, hives, hoarseness, increased pressure within the eye (glaucoma), itching, joint pain, light-headedness, mental disturbances, moon face, mouth or throat infection, muscle pain, nasal and throat dryness and irritation, nasal burning, nausea, nose infection, nosebleed, pain, pinkeye, "pins and needles" sensation, ringing in the ears, runny nose, skin rash, skin wasting, sneezing, sore mouth or throat, stuffy nose, stunted growth, tearing eyes, unpleasant--or loss of--taste and smell, upset stomach, vomiting, weight gain, wheezing

Why should this drug not be prescribed: Your doctor will prescribe beclomethasone only if your asthma cannot be controlled with bronchodilators and other nonsteroid medications. Beclomethasone is not used for the treatment of non-asthmatic bronchitis, or for intermittent asthma therapy. Do not use beclomethasone nasal products if you've recently had nasal ulcers, nose surgery, or an injury to the nose. It could interfere with the healing process. If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to beclomethasone or other steroid drugs, you should not take this medication. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any drug reactions that you have experienced. Although unlikely, immediate allergic reactions to beclomethasone have been known to occur.

Special warnings about this medication: When steroid drugs are taken by mouth they substitute for and decrease the body's normal ability to make its own steroids as well as its ability to respond to stress. There is a risk of causing a serious condition called "adrenal insufficiency" when people change from steroid tablets taken by mouth to aerosol beclomethasone. Although the aerosol may provide adequate control of asthma during the changeover period, it does not provide the normal amount of steroid the body needs during acute stress situations, such as injury, surgery, and infection--particularly stomach flu. If you are being transferred from steroid tablets to beclomethasone and you experience a period of stress or a severe asthma attack, contact your doctor immediately. He may prescribe additional treatment with steroid tablets. You should also carry a warning card indicating that you may need steroid tablets during such incidents. As you continue taking beclomethasone, your doctor may conduct periodic tests to measure your adrenal function. Transfer from steroid tablet therapy to beclomethasone aerosol may reactivate allergic conditions that were previously suppressed by the steroid tablet therapy, such as runny nose, inflamed eyelids, and eczema. Some people also experience withdrawal side effects when they switch from tablets to aerosol. Potential symptoms include joint or muscle pain, weakness, and depression. Inform your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. High doses of steroids can suppress your immune system. When beclomethasone is used nasally, your chances of developing nose and throat infections increase. Also take extra care to avoid exposure to measles or chickenpox if you have never had them or never had shots. These infections can be serious or even fatal if your immune system is below par. If you are exposed, seek medical advice immediately. Symptoms such as mental disturbances, increased bruising, weight gain, facial swelling (moon face), acne, menstrual irregularities, increased pressure in the eyes, and cataracts may occur with steroids. If you experience any of these symptoms, notify your doctor immediately. If you've ever had cataracts or increased eye pressure, your doctor will monitor you closely if you have any problems with your vision. Long-term use of steroids can slow down growth in children. If your child seems to be growing more slowly than normal, call your doctor. If bronchodilator medications seem less effective after you start taking beclomethasone, be sure to tell your doctor. Do not abruptly stop using beclomethasone on your own. If you have tuberculosis, a herpes infection of the eye, or any untreated infection, your doctor may not want you to use an inhaled steroid.

Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding: The effects of beclomethasone in pregnancy have not been adequately studied. If you are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy, let your doctor know. Steroids do appear in breast milk and could harm your baby. Your doctor may want you to avoid breastfeeding while you are using beclomethasone.

Recommended dosage: ADULTS: Beclomethasone Oral Inhalant The usual recommended dose for adults and children 12 years of age and over is 2 inhalations taken 3 to 4 times a day. Four inhalations taken twice daily have been shown to be effective in some people. If you have severe asthma, your doctor may advise you to start with 12 to 16 inhalations a day. Daily intake should not exceed 20 inhalations. For the double-strength inhalation aerosol, the usual dose is 2 inhalations twice a day. If your asthma is severe, your doctor may have you start with 6 to 8 inhalations a day. The maximum daily dosage is 10 inhalations. For Qvar, a CFC-free form of the drug, the recommended starting dose is 40 to 80 micrograms twice daily if you've been using bronchodilators alone, and 40 to 160 micrograms if you've been using other inhaled steroid products. Take no more than 320 micrograms twice a day. Beclomethasone Nasal Inhalation For adults and children 12 years of age and over, the dosage of Vancenase PocketHaler is 1 inhalation in each nostril 2 to 4 times a day. A 3-times-daily schedule is often sufficient. Beclomethasone Nasal Spray For adults and children 12 years of age and older, the usual dosage is 1 or 2 inhalations in each nostril 2 to 4 times a day, depending on the brand. For the double strength nasal spray, the dosage is 1 or 2 inhalations in each nostril once a day. The usual dosage of Vancenase AQ 84 micrograms for adults and children 6 years and over is 1 or 2 inhalations in each nostril once a day. CHILDREN: Beclomethasone Oral Inhalant Children 6 to 12 years of age: The usual recommended dose is 1 or 2 inhalations 3 or 4 times a day. Four inhalations twice daily have been effective for some children. Daily intake should not exceed 10 inhalations. For the double-strength inhalation aerosol, the usual dose is 2 inhalations twice daily, with a maximum of 5 inhalations a day. For the Qvar brand, the recommended starting dose for children 5 to 11 is 40 micrograms twice daily. The highest recommended dose is 80 micrograms twice daily. Beclomethasone Nasal Inhalation Children 6 to 12 years of age: The usual dose of Vancenase PocketHaler is 1 inhalation 3 times a day. Beclomethasone Nasal Spray Children 6 to 12 years of age: The usual dosage is 1 inhalation in each nostril 2 or 3 times daily. Some children may need 2 inhalations. The dosage for the double strength nasal spray is 1 or 2 inhalations in each nostril once a day. Beclomethasone should not be given to children under the age of 6 unless advised by your doctor.

Overdosage: Any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. The main risk in an overdose of beclomethasone is adrenal insufficiency. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.









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