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How to Prevent Advair Side Effects

Friday 10 May 2024
7 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Side Effects of Advair

II. Take Advair as Prescribed

III. Rinse Your Mouth After Taking a Dose

IV. Prioritize Routine Eye Exams

V. Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels

VI. Keep A Rescue Inhaler on Hand

VII. Let Your Doctor Know of All Medications You’re Taking

VIII. Provide Your Doctor with a Detailed Medical History

IX. Conclusion

For decades, Advair has been a trusted medication for many patients with asthma and COPD. By combining an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting bronchodilator, Advair helps improve lung function, reduce airway inflammation, and prevent asthma attacks and COPD flare-ups. [1] However, as with any medication, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects of Advair.

In this article, we'll provide an overview of potential Advair side effects and tips to help prevent or minimize them. 

Side Effects of Advair

If you are using Advair to manage COPD or asthma, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that may arise. These side effects depend on whether you are using Advair to treat COPD or asthma.

If you take Advair for asthma, common side effects may include:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Throat irritation
  • Hoarseness and voice changes
  • Oral thrush
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting [1]

If you take Advair for COPD, common Advair Diskus side effects may include:

  • Oral thrush
  • Throat irritation
  • Hoarseness and voice changes
  • Viral respiratory infections
  • Headache
  • Muscle and bone pain [1]

Take Advair as Prescribed

It is critical to take Advair exactly as your doctor instructed. Advair contains two medications: fluticasone propionate and salmeterol. When too much of either medication builds up in your system, it can lead to harmful side effects. [1]

  • Fluticasone is an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) that reduces inflammation in the lungs. Inhaling too much may result in symptoms of hypercorticism, where there is an excess of the hormone cortisol. [1] This can cause weight gain, weak muscles, stretch marks, facial rounding, and fat deposits around the neck. [2]
  • Salmeterol is a long-acting bronchodilator (LABA) that relaxes airway muscles for easier breathing. Taking too much salmeterol can lead to serious cardiovascular effects like seizures, chest pain, blood pressure changes, headaches, muscle cramps, dry mouth, and irregular heart rhythms. If any of these occur, contact your doctor right away. Treatment typically involves stopping Advair use and monitoring your heart. [1]

Rinse Your Mouth After Taking a Dose

woman rinsing her mouth with water

It's important to rinse your mouth after using Advair to prevent oral candidiasis. [1] Advair contains fluticasone, an inhaled corticosteroid that can reduce inflammation in the lungs. However, it does this by dampening your immune system, which can increase the risk of infections such as oral candidiasis. [3]

Oral candidiasis, also known as oral thrush, is a fungal infection that occurs when the fungus Candida albicans overgrows in the mouth. [4] This can lead to various uncomfortable symptoms such as:

  • White patches in the mouth.
  • Red or sore mouth or throat.
  • Cotton-like feeling in the mouth.
  • Loss of taste.
  • Pain while eating or swallowing.
  • Cracking at the corners of the mouth. [4]

To prevent oral thrush, it is important to rinse your mouth out with water and spit after each Advair dose. This will remove any leftover medication particles in your mouth. [1] If you develop thrush during Advair treatment, your doctor can prescribe an antifungal medication to clear the infection. [4]

Prioritize Routine Eye Exams

It is essential to prioritize routine eye exams if you are taking Advair. Advair contains the medication fluticasone propionate, an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) that can unfortunately lead to glaucoma with long-term use. [1]

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging the optic nerve in your eye. The symptoms tend to develop slowly, and you may not notice them. The only way to detect glaucoma is through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This is why getting regular eye exams is critical if you are using Advair. [5]

Detecting glaucoma early is key to preserving your vision. With early treatment, it may be possible to control glaucoma and prevent blindness. So, even if your eyes feel fine, don't skip your routine eye exams. [5]

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels

If you have diabetes, it's important to keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels when using Advair. Advair contains the drug salmeterol, which belongs to a class of drugs called beta-agonists. Beta-agonists can cause blood sugar levels to rise. [1]

Usually, the effects of Advair on blood glucose are mild and temporary. However, taking a higher dose than prescribed may lead to more significant hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). [1]

To stay safe, check your blood sugar levels regularly as directed by your doctor while using Advair. You may need an adjustment in your diabetes medication dosage to keep your blood sugar controlled. [1] Don't hesitate to let your healthcare provider know if you're experiencing frequent high blood sugar readings while taking Advair.

Keep A Rescue Inhaler on Hand

woman using a rescue inhaler

If you are using Advair to help control your COPD or asthma symptoms, it’s critical to keep a rescue inhaler on hand in case of emergencies. [6]

Advair is a long-term maintenance medication, meaning it works over time to reduce symptoms. It does not provide quick relief during sudden asthma attacks or COPD flare-ups. For acute symptoms, you need a fast-acting rescue inhaler. [6]

You should also have a rescue inhaler in case you experience a rare reaction called paradoxical bronchospasm. [1] This occurs when the airways constrict unexpectedly after using an inhaled medication like Advair. [7] It can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing [7]

If this happens after you take your Advair dose, use your rescue inhaler right away and contact your doctor. They may need to switch you to a different long-term control medication. [1]

Let Your Doctor Know of All Medications You’re Taking

When starting Advair, it is essential to inform your doctor about all medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and vitamins. This allows your doctor to check for any potential drug interactions and make dosage adjustments as needed.

Advair can interact with certain medications, including:

  • Cytochrome P4503A4 inhibitors: Advair is broken down in the body by cytochrome P4503A4. If you take medications that block this enzyme, it can increase the amount of Advair in your body which can increase the side effects of Advair.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): The salmeterol in Advair can affect your heart rate and blood pressure. Taking MAOIs or TCAs with Advair may intensify these effects. Your doctor will monitor you closely if you take these medications together.
  • Beta-blockers: Salmeterol works by stimulating beta receptors, while beta-blockers block them. Using these medications together can reduce the benefits of salmeterol. Patients with asthma should avoid beta-blockers altogether, as they can trigger severe breathing problems.
  • Loop or thiazide diuretics: These medications deplete potassium, while salmeterol may worsen low potassium. [1]

Provide Your Doctor with a Detailed Medical History

Before starting Advair, talk to your doctor about your medical history. This will help reduce the risk of Advair side effects.

Let your doctor know if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Heart problems: Advair may increase your risk of high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeat. Your doctor will want to monitor you closely, especially when you first start using Advair.
  • Diabetes: If you have diabetes, it is crucial to let your doctor know. Advair can increase blood sugar levels, and your doctor may want to monitor them closely to ensure they remain within a healthy range.
  • Low potassium levels or thyroid issues: These conditions can interact with Advair, and your doctor may need to run extra blood tests to check your levels.
  • A history of seizures or epilepsy: Individuals with a history of seizures or epilepsy should inform their doctor before starting Advair. While rare, Advair has the potential to trigger seizures in some individuals.
  • Liver issues: The liver plays a vital role in processing medications, and liver problems can affect how Advair interacts with your body. Your doctor will consider this when determining the appropriate course of treatment.
  • Are currently taking systemic steroids: If you are currently taking systemic steroids, it is important to let your doctor know. Transitioning from systemic to oral steroids can have implications on adrenal function. As a result, your doctor will gradually taper you off systemic steroids before starting Advair to ensure a smooth transition. [1]


When used correctly, Advair can be an effective treatment in improving lung function. It is crucial to recognize that improper usage may result in undesired side effects of Advair. As with any medication, it is vital to stay informed about the possible side effects of Advair and promptly communicate with your healthcare provider if you encounter any concerning symptoms.

The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.