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Qvar & Asthma

What You Need To Know About Qvar

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Updated April 23, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Qvar

Qvar

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What is Qvar?

Qvar, beclamethasone dipropionate, is an asthma controller medication. Like other inhaled steroids such as Flovent or Pulmicort, Qvar is considered first-line treatment to control asthma symptoms when you need to use your rescue inhaler more than twice per week. Qvar is prescribed by itself, but your doctor may have you also take a long-acting beta agonist such as Serevent to prevent asthma symptoms such as:

How Does Qvar Work?

Qvar decreases inflammation and hyper-responsiveness. Through its direct action in the lungs, Qvar makes it less likely your lungs will respond to an asthma trigger.

Additionally, Qvar acts directly on a number of the different parts of the immune system involved in the pathophysiology of asthma:

Decreased inflammation, mucus production, and hyperreponsiveness results in a decrease in your asthma symptoms. While your rescue inhaler can be taken on an as needed basis, Qvar needs to be used daily to control your chronic asthma symptoms. Qvar should not be used when you develop acute asthma symptoms as it may make your asthma worse.

How is Qvar Prescribed?

Qvar is presrcibed in a 40 mcg and 80 mcg metered dose inhaler. Each MDI has 100 doses. Again, in order to be effective, Qvar needs to be taken everyday, whether or not you are experiencing symptoms.

Possible Risks & Side Effects of Qvar

While Qvar is normally well tolerated, there is some risk of side effects with Qvar and other inhaled steroids. The side effects of Qvar are similar to the side effects of other inhaled steroids and will generally decrease with time. Many of the side effects of Qvar can also be prevented by following a number of steps. If any of the side effects continue to be bothersome be sure to let your doctor know. If you experience any of the following side effects while taking Qvar, let your doctor know right away:

What You Need To Know About Qvar

Using Qvar correctly is the single most important factor if it is going to improve your asthma symptoms. A large number of asthmatics fail to take their inhaled steroids as prescribed. Using Qvar only when your asthma worsens is not appropriate and not likely to lead good asthma control.

Using Qvar with a spacer increases the amount of medication reaching your lungs and decreases side effects. If you do not want to use a spacer, it is very important to learn how to use an MDI appropriately.

Know When To Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor about your asthma if:

  • Your asthma worsens after taking Qvar
  • Your rescue inhaler no longer relieves your asthma symptoms
  • You use your rescue inhaler more than twice per week
  • Your peak flow is getting worse

Sources:

Pub Med Health. Accessed November 12, 2010 Beclomethasone Oral Inhalation.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed November 12, 2010. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

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