DULERA should not be initiated in patients during rapidly deteriorating or potentially life-threatening episodes of asthma. DULERA has not been studied in patients with acutely deteriorating asthma. The initiation of DULERA in this setting is not appropriate.
Increasing use of inhaled, short-acting beta2 -agonists is a marker of deteriorating asthma. In this situation, the patient requires immediate re-evaluation with reassessment of the treatment regimen, giving special consideration to the possible need for replacing the current strength of DULERA with a higher strength, adding additional inhaled corticosteroid, or initiating systemic corticosteroids. Patients should not use more than 2 inhalations twice daily (morning and evening) of DULERA.
DULERA is not indicated for the relief of acute symptoms, i.e., as rescue therapy for the treatment of acute episodes of bronchospasm. An inhaled, short-acting beta2 -agonist, not DULERA, should be used to relieve acute symptoms such as shortness of breath.
When beginning treatment with DULERA, patients who have been taking oral or inhaled, short-acting beta2 -agonists on a regular basis (e.g., 4 times a day) should be instructed to discontinue the regular use of these drugs.
As with other inhaled drugs containing beta2 -adrenergic agents, DULERA should not be used more often than recommended, at higher doses than recommended, or in conjunction with other medications containing long-acting beta2 -agonists, as an overdose may result. Clinically significant cardiovascular effects and fatalities have been reported in association with excessive use of inhaled sympathomimetic drugs. Patients using DULERA should not use an additional long-acting beta2 -agonist (e.g., salmeterol, formoterol fumarate, arformoterol tartrate) for any reason, including prevention of exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB) or the treatment of asthma.
In clinical trials, the development of localized infections of the mouth and pharynx with Candida albicans have occurred in patients treated with DULERA. If oropharyngeal candidiasis develops, it should be treated with appropriate local or systemic (i.e., oral) antifungal therapy while remaining on treatment with DULERA therapy, but at times therapy with DULERA may need to be interrupted. Advise patients to rinse the mouth after inhalation of DULERA.
Persons who are using drugs that suppress the immune system are more susceptible to infections than healthy individuals.
Chickenpox and measles, for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in susceptible children or adults using corticosteroids. In such children or adults who have not had these diseases or who are not properly immunized, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. How the dose, route, and duration of corticosteroid administration affect the risk of developing a disseminated infection is not known. The contribution of the underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If exposed to chickenpox, prophylaxis with varicella zoster immune globulin (VZIG) or pooled intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) may be indicated. If exposed to measles, prophylaxis with pooled intramuscular immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package inserts for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information.) If chickenpox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered.
DULERA should be used with caution, if at all, in patients with active or quiescent tuberculosis infection of the respiratory tract, untreated systemic fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections; or ocular herpes simplex.
Particular care is needed for patients who are transferred from systemically active corticosteroids to DULERA because deaths due to adrenal insufficiency have occurred in asthmatic patients during and after transfer from systemic corticosteroids to less systemically available inhaled corticosteroids. After withdrawal from systemic corticosteroids, a number of months are required for recovery of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function.
Patients who have been previously maintained on 20 mg or more per day of prednisone (or its equivalent) may be most susceptible, particularly when their systemic corticosteroids have been almost completely withdrawn. During this period of HPA suppression, patients may exhibit signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency when exposed to trauma, surgery, or infection (particularly gastroenteritis) or other conditions associated with severe electrolyte loss. Although DULERA may improve control of asthma symptoms during these episodes, in recommended doses it supplies less than normal physiological amounts of corticosteroid systemically and does NOT provide the mineralocorticoid activity necessary for coping with these emergencies.
During periods of stress or severe asthma attack, patients who have been withdrawn from systemic corticosteroids should be instructed to resume oral corticosteroids (in large doses) immediately and to contact their physicians for further instruction. These patients should also be instructed to carry a medical identification card indicating that they may need supplementary systemic corticosteroids during periods of stress or severe asthma attack.
Patients requiring systemic corticosteroids should be weaned slowly from systemic corticosteroid use after transferring to DULERA. Lung function (FEV1 or PEF), beta-agonist use, and asthma symptoms should be carefully monitored during withdrawal of systemic corticosteroids. In addition to monitoring asthma signs and symptoms, patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency such as fatigue, lassitude, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and hypotension.
Transfer of patients from systemic corticosteroid therapy to DULERA may unmask allergic conditions previously suppressed by the systemic corticosteroid therapy, e.g., rhinitis, conjunctivitis, eczema, arthritis, and eosinophilic conditions.
During withdrawal from oral corticosteroids, some patients may experience symptoms of systemically active corticosteroid withdrawal, e.g., joint and/or muscular pain, lassitude, and depression, despite maintenance or even improvement of respiratory function.
Mometasone furoate, a component of DULERA, will often help control asthma symptoms with less suppression of HPA function than therapeutically equivalent oral doses of prednisone. Since mometasone furoate is absorbed into the circulation and can be systemically active at higher doses, the beneficial effects of DULERA in minimizing HPA dysfunction may be expected only when recommended dosages are not exceeded and individual patients are titrated to the lowest effective dose.
Because of the possibility of systemic absorption of inhaled corticosteroids, patients treated with DULERA should be observed carefully for any evidence of systemic corticosteroid effects. Particular care should be taken in observing patients postoperatively or during periods of stress for evidence of inadequate adrenal response.
It is possible that systemic corticosteroid effects such as hypercorticism and adrenal suppression (including adrenal crisis) may appear in a small number of patients, particularly when mometasone furoate is administered at higher than recommended doses over prolonged periods of time. If such effects occur, the dosage of DULERA should be reduced slowly, consistent with accepted procedures for reducing systemic corticosteroids and for management of asthma symptoms.
Caution should be exercised when considering the coadministration of DULERA with ketoconazole, and other known strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (e.g., ritonavir, atazanavir, clarithromycin, indinavir, itraconazole, nefazodone, nelfinavir, saquinavir, telithromycin) because adverse effects related to increased systemic exposure to mometasone furoate may occur [see Drug Interactions (7.1) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].
DULERA may produce inhalation induced bronchospasm with an immediate increase in wheezing after dosing that may be life-threatening. If inhalation induced bronchospasm occurs, it should be treated immediately with an inhaled, short-acting bronchodilator. DULERA should be discontinued immediately and alternative therapy instituted.
Immediate hypersensitivity reactions may occur after administration of DULERA, as demonstrated by cases of urticaria, flushing, allergic dermatitis, and bronchospasm.
Excessive beta-adrenergic stimulation has been associated with seizures, angina, hypertension or hypotension, tachycardia with rates up to 200 beats/min, arrhythmias, nervousness, headache, tremor, palpitation, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, malaise, and insomnia. Therefore, DULERA should be used with caution in patients with cardiovascular disorders, especially coronary insufficiency, cardiac arrhythmias, and hypertension.
Formoterol fumarate, a component of DULERA, can produce a clinically significant cardiovascular effect in some patients as measured by pulse rate, blood pressure, and/or symptoms. Although such effects are uncommon after administration of DULERA at recommended doses, if they occur, the drug may need to be discontinued. In addition, beta-agonists have been reported to produce ECG changes, such as flattening of the T wave, prolongation of the QTc interval, and ST segment depression. The clinical significance of these findings is unknown. Fatalities have been reported in association with excessive use of inhaled sympathomimetic drugs.
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