Use of QVAR with a spacer device in children less than 5 years of age is not recommended. In vitro dose characterization studies were performed with QVAR 40 mcg/actuation with the OptiChamber and AeroChamber Plus ® spacer utilizing inspiratory flows representative of children under 5 years old. These studies indicated that the amount of medication delivered through the spacing device decreased rapidly with increasing wait times of 5 to 10 seconds as shown in Table 2. If QVAR is used with a spacer device, it is important to inhale immediately.
Unfamiliarity with these newer inhalers has been the source of some recently reported errors. A patient discharged from the hospital on Spiriva HandiHaler was readmitted 3 days later after taking 3 Spiriva capsules by mouth each day. He was unaware that the capsule was to be placed in the device so its contents could be inhaled. A color-blind patient was unable to tell if the indicator window on a Tudorza Pressair inhaler was red or green. The window turns green when the inhaler is loaded with a dose and ready to use, and red when the dose has been completely inhaled. Errors have happened to healthcare providers, too. In the pharmacy, an order for Incruse Ellipta was mistaken as “Increase Ellipta,” and the pharmacist dispensed Breo Ellipta, the only “Ellipta” inhaler with which he was familiar.
The aim of this article is to bring less well recognised adverse effects of inhaled corticosteroids to the attention of prescribers. Whilst inhaled steroids have a more favourable side effect profile than systemic steroids, they are not free from adverse effects. The dose of inhaled steroids used should be carefully monitored, and kept at the lowest dose necessary to maintain adequate control of the patient’s disease process. Be particularly aware of the cumulative effect of co-prescribing various dose forms of corticosteroids (inhaled, intranasal, oral and topical preparations).