Foradil is a bronchodilator that relaxes airway muscles to improve breathing. It is used to treat reversible obstructive airways disease, and obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Foradil is classified as a long-acting Beta-Agonist (LABA) and is used long-term, twice-a-day to control and prevent symptoms of asthma in patients as early as five years old.

Although Foradil gives immediate relief to asthma sufferers, it does not treat the underlying inflammation, creating the risk of a life threatening condition. Foradil has been thought to increase the risk of a serious asthma episode that could cause death. In one study, it was found that patients who inhaled Foradil were 3.5 times more likely to die from an asthma attack. It is thought that while these drugs do relieve asthma symptoms, their use can also lead to bronchial inflammation—which can lead to death.

One medical professor at Stanford’s School of Medicine, Shelley Salpeter, stated that approximately 4,000 of 5,000 asthma deaths could be caused by LABAs. Most of these deaths would likely occur in young adults taking the medication.

In 2005, the FDA added a black box warning to Foradil to warn about these asthma-related deaths that could be a side effect of these drugs.

Serious side effects may include:

  • Chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeats, tremors, headache, or restless feeling
  • Seizure (convulsions)
  • Wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medication
  • Increased thirst or hunger, urinating more than usual
  • Worsening asthma symptoms

Less serious Foradil side effects may include:

  • Dizziness, anxiety, headache
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Back pain, muscle cramps
  • Sore throat, dry mouth, cough, stuffy nose
  • Skin rash, itching
  • Changes in your voice
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