QVAR

QVAR- beclomethasone dipropionate aerosol, metered
A-S Medication Solutions

1 INDICATIONS AND USAGE

QVAR® is indicated in the maintenance treatment of asthma as prophylactic therapy in patients 5 years of age and older.

Important Limitations of Use:

  • QVAR is NOT indicated for the relief of acute bronchospasm.

2 DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

2.1 Administration Information

Administer QVAR by the orally inhaled route in patients 5 years of age and older. QVAR does not require shaking prior to use. After inhalation, the patient should rinse his/her mouth with water without swallowing to help reduce the risk of oropharyngeal candidiasis.

Use of QVAR with a spacer device in children less than 5 years of age is not recommended. [see Use in Specific Populations (8.4)]

Patients should be instructed on the proper use of their inhaler. Consistent dose delivery is achieved, whether using the 40 or 80 mcg strengths, due to proportionality of the 2 products (i.e., 2 actuations of 40 mcg strength should provide a dose comparable to 1 actuation of the 80 mcg strength).

Priming: Patients should prime QVAR by actuating into the air twice before using for the first time or if QVAR has not been used for over 10 days. Avoid spraying in the eyes or face when priming QVAR.

Dose Counter: QVAR has a dose counter attached to the actuator. When the patient receives the inhaler, a black dot will appear in the viewing window until it has been primed 2 times, at which point the total number of actuations will be displayed. The dose counter will count down each time a spray is released. The dose-counter window displays the number of sprays left in the inhaler in units of two (e.g., 120, 118, 116, etc). When the dose counter reaches 20, the color of the numbers will change to red to remind the patient to contact their pharmacist for a refill of medication or consult their physician for a prescription refill. When the dose counter reaches 0, the background will change to solid red.

Discard QVAR inhaler when the dose counter displays 0 or after the expiration date on the product, whichever comes first.

2.2 Recommended Dosage

Adults and Adolescents 12 years of age and older

The starting dosage is based on previous asthma therapy and disease severity, including consideration of the patients’ current control of asthma symptoms and risk of future exacerbation. The recommended starting dosage for patients 12 years of age and older who are not on an inhaled corticosteroid is 40 to 80 mcg twice daily, approximately 12 hours apart. For patients switching to QVAR from another inhaled corticosteroid product, select the appropriate starting dosage strength of QVAR based on the strength of the previous inhaled corticosteroid product and disease severity: 40, 80, 160 or 320 mcg twice daily. For patients who do not respond adequately to the initial dosage after 2 weeks of therapy, increasing the dosage may provide additional asthma control. The maximum recommended dosage for patients 12 years of age and older is 320 mcg twice daily.

Pediatric Patients 5 to 11 years

The starting dosage is based on previous asthma therapy and disease severity, including consideration of the patients’ current control of asthma symptoms and risk of future exacerbation. The recommended starting dosage for patients aged 5 to 11 years of age is 40 mcg twice daily, approximately 12 hours apart. For patients who do not respond adequately to QVAR 40 mcg after 2 weeks of therapy, increasing the dosage to QVAR 80 mcg twice daily may provide additional asthma control. The maximum recommended dosage for patients 5 to 11 years of age is 80 mcg twice daily.

General Dosing Recommendations

The onset and degree of symptom relief will vary in individual patients. Improvement in asthma symptoms can occur within 24 hours of the beginning of treatment and should be expected within the first or second week, but maximum benefit should not be expected until 3 to 4 weeks of therapy. Improvement in pulmonary function is usually apparent within 1 to 4 weeks after the start of therapy.

If a dosage regimen of QVAR fails to provide adequate control of asthma, the therapeutic regimen should be re-evaluated and additional therapeutic options (e.g., replacing the current strength of QVAR with a higher strength, or adding additional controller therapies) should be considered.

As with any inhaled corticosteroid, physicians are advised to titrate the dose of QVAR downward over time to the lowest level that maintains proper asthma control. This is particularly important in children since a controlled study has shown that QVAR has the potential to affect growth in children.

3 DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

Inhalation Aerosol: QVAR is a pressurized, metered-dose aerosol with a dose counter intended for oral inhalation containing beclomethasone dipropionate in the following 2 strengths:

QVAR 40 mcg is supplied in an aluminum canister with a beige plastic actuator with a dose counter and a gray dust cap. Each actuation delivers 50 mcg of beclomethasone dipropionate from the valve and 40 mcg from the actuator. QVAR 40 mcg is available as a 120-inhalation/8.7 g canister.

QVAR 80 mcg is supplied in an aluminum canister with a dark mauve plastic actuator with a dose counter and a gray dust cap. Each actuation delivers 100 mcg of beclomethasone dipropionate from the valve and 80 mcg from the actuator. QVAR 80 mcg is available as a 120-inhalation/8.7 g canister.

4 CONTRAINDICATIONS

4.1 Status Asthmaticus

QVAR is contraindicated in the primary treatment of status asthmaticus or other acute episodes of asthma where intensive measures are required.

4.2 Hypersensitivity

QVAR is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to beclomethasone dipropionate or any of the ingredients in QVAR [see Warnings and Precautions (5.6)].

5 WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

5.1 Local Effects

Localized infections with Candida albicans have occurred in the mouth and pharynx in some patients receiving QVAR. If oropharyngeal candidiasis develops, it should be treated with appropriate local or systemic (i.e., oral) antifungal therapy while still continuing with QVAR therapy, but at times therapy with QVAR may need to be temporarily interrupted under close medical supervision. Rinsing the mouth with water without swallowing after inhalation is advised.

5.2 Deterioration of Asthma and Acute Episodes

QVAR 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 beta-2 agonist, not QVAR, should be used to relieve acute symptoms such as shortness of breath. Instruct patients to contact their physician immediately if episodes of asthma that are not responsive to bronchodilators occur during the course of treatment with QVAR. During such episodes, patients may require therapy with oral corticosteroids.

5.3 Transferring Patients from Systemic Corticosteroid Therapy

Particular care is needed in patients who are transferred from systemically active corticosteroids to QVAR 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 infections (particularly gastroenteritis) or other conditions with severe electrolyte loss. Although QVAR may provide control of asthmatic symptoms during these episodes, in recommended doses it supplies less than normal physiological amounts of glucocorticoid systemically and does NOT provide the mineralocorticoid that is necessary for coping with these emergencies.

During periods of stress or a severe asthmatic attack, patients who have been withdrawn from systemic corticosteroids should be instructed to resume oral corticosteroids (in large doses) immediately and to contact their physician for further instruction. These patients should also be instructed to carry a warning card indicating that they may need supplementary systemic steroids during periods of stress or a severe asthma attack.

Patients requiring oral or other systemic corticosteroids should be weaned slowly from oral or other systemic corticosteroid use after transferring to QVAR. Lung function (FEV1 or PEF), beta-agonist use, and asthma symptoms should be carefully monitored during withdrawal of oral or other 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 QVAR 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.

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