Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties.
It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults.
There’s currently no cure, but there are simple treatments that can help keep the symptoms under control so it doesn’t have a big impact on your life.
The main symptoms of asthma are:
wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
a tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around it
The symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse. This is known as an asthma attack.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
Your GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Asthma self-assessment tool
Asthma is usually treated by using an inhaler, a small device that lets you breathe in medicines.
The main types are:
reliever inhalers – used when needed to quickly relieve asthma symptoms for a short time
preventer inhalers – used every day to prevent asthma symptoms occurring
Some people also need to take tablets.
Causes and triggers
Asthma is caused by swelling (inflammation) of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.
It may occur randomly or after exposure to a trigger. Common asthma triggers include:
allergies – to house dust mites, animal fur or pollen, for example
smoke, pollution and cold air
infections like colds or flu
Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.
Although asthma can normally be kept under control, it’s still a serious condition that can cause a number of problems.
This is why it’s so important to follow your treatment plan and not ignore your symptoms if they’re getting worse.
Badly controlled asthma can cause problems such as:
feeling tired all the time
underperformance at or absence from work or school
stress, anxiety or depression
disruption of your work and leisure because of unplanned visits to your GP or hospital
lung infections (pneumonia)
delays in growth or puberty in children
There’s also a risk of severe asthma attacks, which can be life-threatening.
What is Flixotide?
Flixotide Evohaler contains the drug Fluticasone propionate which belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids (often just called steroids). A very small dose of steroid is needed when it is inhaled. This is because it is inhaled straight to your lungs.
Flixotide works by reducing swelling and irritation in the lungs. They have what is called an ‘anti-inflammatory action’.
Flixotide helps to prevent asthma attacks in people who need regular treatment. This is why they are sometimes called ‘preventers’. They need to be used regularly, every day.
Flixotide will not help treat sudden asthma attacks where you feel breathless.
• A different medicine is used for treating sudden attacks (called a ‘reliever’).
• If you have more than one medicine, be careful not to confuse them.
How to use Flixotide?
Flixotide comes in three different strengths.
The medicine in Flixotide should be inhaled using a special kind of inhaler called an Evohaler.
• Make sure that you have one and can use it properly.
• Some people find it difficult to release a puff of medicine just after they start to
breathe in. The Aerochamber (sold in our asthma section) device helps to overcome this problem.
• It takes a few days for this medicine to work and it is very important that you use it regularly.
Adults and Children over 16 years of age
• The usual starting dose is 100 micrograms twice a day.
Moderate to severe asthma
• The usual starting dose is 250 to 500 micrograms twice a day.
• The most taken should be 1000 micrograms twice a day.
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets
If you notice any of the following serious side effects, stop using this medicine
and talk to your doctor straight away. You may need urgent medical treatment.
• allergic reactions (may affect up to 1 in 100 people) – the signs include skin
rashes, redness, itching or weals like nettle rash or hives
• severe allergic reactions (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people) – the signs include
swelling of your face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat which may cause difficulty in
swallowing or breathing, itchy rash, feeling faint and light headed and collapse
• your breathing or wheezing gets worse straight after using your inhaler
Page 6 of 8
Other side effects include:
Very common (may affect more than 1 in 10 people)
• thrush in the mouth and throat
Common (may affect up to 1 in 10 people)
• sore tongue or throat
• hoarseness of voice
Problems with your mouth and throat can be reduced by doing certain things straight
after inhaling your dose. These are brushing your teeth, rinsing your mouth or
gargling with water and spitting it out. Tell your doctor if you have these problems
with your mouth or throat, but do not stop treatment unless you are told to.
The following side effects have also been reported in patients with Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):
• Pneumonia and bronchitis (lung infection). Tell your doctor if you notice any of
the following symptoms: increased sputum production, change in sputum
colour, fever, chills, increased cough, increased breathing problems
Rare (may affect up to 1 in 1,000 people)
• thrush (candidiasis) in the oesophagus
Very rare (may affect up to 1 in 10,000 people)
• sleeping problems or feeling worried, over-excited and irritable. These effects are
more likely to occur in children
• joint pains
• level of sugar (glucose) in your blood may be increased
• the way steroids are produced by your body may be affected when using Flixotide.
This is more likely to happen if you use high doses for a long period of time. This
– children and young people to grow more slowly
– something called ‘Cushing’s syndrome’. This happens when you have too
much steroid in your body and it can cause thinning of your bones and eye
problems (such as cataracts and glaucoma which is high pressure in the eye)
Your doctor will help stop this happening by making sure you use the lowest dose
of steroid which controls your symptoms.
Although the frequency is not known, the following side effects may also occur:
• depression, feeling restless or nervous. These effects are more likely to occur in
• Blurred vision