Advair is a drug produced by GlaxoSmithKline and is prescribed to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
It is estimated that nearly 49 million people suffer from a lung condition for which Advair is prescribed. From 2004 to 2005, 17 million prescriptions were written for Advair or similar medications.
Advair is used to prevent, not cure asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough caused by bronchoconstriction and inflammation of airways. It also relaxes irritated and restricted airways in patients with COPD.
The active ingredient in Advair, salmeterol, has been linked to serious side effects such as death and serious injuries.
One study conducted in 1996 compared the effects of the medicine versus a placebo. Of the 13,179 people using the drug, 13 suffered from fatal asthma attacks brought on by the medication itself. In comparison, of the 13,179 people taking the placebo, only three people died. The study also revealed that the risk of suffering fatal asthma attacks from the drug was higher in the African American population.
A black box warning has been placed on Advair—the FDA’s highest warning—informing patients of rare but significant risk of suffering fatal asthma attacks while taking the drug.
Side effects may include:
- Mild Muscle or Bone Pain
- Throat Irritation
More serious side effects may include:
- Severe allergic reactions (such as rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue and unusual hoarseness)
- Behavior changes
- Blurred vision or other vision changes
- Burning, numbness, or tingling
- Chest pain
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Severe muscle weakness, cramps, or spasms
- Severe or persistent bone pain
- Severe or persistent dizziness, headache, nervousness, or tremor
- Signs of infection (such as fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat, ear pain, increased mucus production or change in mucus color)
- Swelling or tightness in the throat
- Symptoms of high blood sugar (such as confusion, increased thirst, urination, or hunger, and unusual weakness or drowsiness)
- Trouble sleeping
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Vaginal odor or discharge
- Weight gain
- White patches or sores on the tongue or mouth
- Worsening of asthma symptoms (such as chest tightness, coughing, increased wheezing, shortness of breath)