|Seretide Evohaler should not be used to treat acute asthma symptoms for which a fast and short acting bronchodilator is required. Patients should be advised to have their medicinal product to be used for relief in an acute asthma attack available at all times.Patients should not be initiated on Seretide during an exacerbation, or if they have significantly worsening or acutely deteriorating asthma.Serious asthma-related adverse events and exacerbations may occur during treatment with Seretide. Patients should be asked to continue treatment but to seek medical advice if asthma symptoms remain uncontrolled or worsen after initiation on Seretide. Increasing use of short-acting bronchodilators to relieve asthma symptoms indicates deterioration of asthma control and patients should be reviewed by a physician.Sudden and progressive deterioration in control of asthma is potentially life-threatening and the patient should undergo urgent medical assessment. Consideration should be given to increasing corticosteroid therapy. Once asthma symptoms are controlled, consideration may be given to gradually reducing the dose of Seretide. Regular review of patients as treatment is stepped down is important. The lowest effective dose of Seretide should be used (see section 4.2).Treatment with Seretide should not be stopped abruptly.As with all inhaled medication containing corticosteroids, Seretide should be administered with caution in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis.Rarely, Seretide may cause cardiac arrhythmias e.g. supraventricular tachycardia, extrasystoles and atrial fibrillation, and a mild transient reduction in serum potassium at high therapeutic doses. Therefore Seretide should be used with caution in patients with severe cardiovascular disorders, heart rhythm abnormalities, diabetes mellitus, thyrotoxicosis, uncorrected hypokalaemia or patients predisposed to low levels of serum potassium.There have been very rare reports of increases in blood glucose levels (See section 4.8) and this should be considered when prescribing to patients with a history of diabetes mellitus.As with other inhalation therapy paradoxical bronchospasm may occur with an immediate increase in wheezing after dosing. Seretide Evohaler should be discontinued immediately, the patient assessed and alternative therapy instituted if necessary.Systemic effects may occur with any inhaled corticosteroid, particularly at high doses prescribed for long periods. These effects are much less likely to occur than with oral corticosteroids. Possible systemic effects include Cushing's syndrome, Cushingoid features, adrenal suppression, decrease in bone mineral density, cataract and glaucoma and more rarely, a range of psychological or behavioural effects including psychomotor hyperactivity, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression or aggression (particularly in children). It is important, therefore, that the patient is reviewed regularly and the dose of inhaled corticosteroid is reduced to the lowest dose at which effective control of asthma is maintained.Prolonged treatment of patients with high doses of inhaled corticosteroids may result in adrenal suppression and acute adrenal crisis. Very rare cases of adrenal suppression and acute adrenal crisis have also been described with doses of fluticasone propionate between 500 and less than 1000 micrograms. Situations, which could potentially trigger acute adrenal crisis, include trauma, surgery, infection or any rapid reduction in dosage. Presenting symptoms are typically vague and may include anorexia, abdominal pain, weight loss, tiredness, headache, nausea, vomiting, hypotension, decreased level of consciousness, hypoglycaemia, and seizures. Additional systemic corticosteroid cover should be considered during periods of stress or elective surgery.Systemic absorption of salmeterol and fluticasone propionate is largely through the lungs. As the use of a spacer device with a metered dose inhaler may increase drug delivery to the lungs it should be noted that this could potentially lead to an increase in the risk of systemic adverse effects. Single dose pharmacokinetic data have demonstrated that the systemic exposure to salmeterol and fluticasone propionate may be increased as much as two-fold when the AeroChamber Plus spacer device is used with Seretide inhaler as compared with the Volumatic spacer device.The benefits of inhaled fluticasone propionate therapy should minimise the need for oral steroids, but patients transferring from oral steroids may remain at risk of impaired adrenal reserve for a considerable time. Patients who have required high dose emergency corticosteroid therapy in the past may also be at risk. This possibility of residual impairment should always be borne in mind in emergency and elective situations likely to produce stress, and appropriate corticosteroid treatment must be considered. The extent of the adrenal impairment may require specialist advice before elective procedures.Ritonavir can greatly increase the concentration of fluticasone propionate in plasma. Therefore, concomitant use should be avoided, unless the potential benefit to the patient outweighs the risk of systemic corticosteroid side-effects. There is also an increased risk of systemic side effects when combining fluticasone propionate with other potent CYP3A inhibitors (see section 4.5). There was an increased reporting of lower respiratory tract infections (particularly pneumonia and bronchitis) in a 3 year study in patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) receiving Seretide compared with placebo (see section 4.8). In a 3 year COPD study, older patients, patients with a lower body mass index (<25kg/m2) and patients with very severe disease (FEV1<30% predicted) were at greatest risk of developing pneumonia regardless of treatment. Physicians should remain vigilant for the possible development of pneumonia and other lower respiratory tract infections in patients with COPD as the clinical features of such infections and exacerbation frequently overlap. If a patient with severe COPD has experienced pneumonia the treatment with Seretide should be re-evaluated.Data from a large clinical trial (the Salmeterol Multi-Center Asthma Research Trial, SMART) suggested African-American patients were at increased risk of serious respiratory-related events or deaths when using salmeterol compared with placebo (see section 5.1). It is not known if this was due to pharmacogenetic or other factors. Patients of black African or Afro-Caribbean ancestry should therefore be asked to continue treatment but to seek medical advice if asthma symptoms remained uncontrolled or worsen whilst using Seretide.Concomitant use of systemic ketoconazole significantly increases systemic exposure to salmeterol. This may lead to an increase in the incidence of systemic effects (e.g. prolongation in the QTc interval and palpitations). Concomitant treatment with ketoconazole or other potent CYP3A4 inhibitors should therefore be avoided unless the benefits outweigh the potentially increased risk of systemic side effects of salmeterol treatment (see section 4.5).|
Paediatric populationChildren and adolescents <16years taking high doses of fluticasone propionate (typically ≥ 1000 micrograms/day) may be at particular risk of systemic effects. Systemic effects may occur, particularly at high doses prescribed for long periods. Possible systemic effects include Cushing's syndrome, Cushingoid features, adrenal suppression, acute adrenal crisis and growth retardation in children and adolescents and more rarely, a range of psychological or behavioural effects including psychomotor hyperactivity, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression or aggression. It is recommended that the height of children receiving prolonged treatment with inhaled corticosteroid is regularly monitored. The dose of inhaled corticosteroid should be reduced to the lowest dose at which effective control of asthma is maintained.