5:30 AM - 8:00 PM (M-F)
7:00 AM - 3:30 PM (S/S)

The Popular Asthma Medication Flovent has been Discontinued. Should You Worry?

written by Debra Blaine, MD - Apr 29, 2024

Photo Credit: by
Photo Credit: by

Springtime is when lots of us are eager to get outside. We want to go to barbecues, watch our kids play sports, go on long walks, and enjoy the wonder of new buds blossoming all around us. But if you have asthma, those beautiful flowers and the smell of freshly mowed grass may instead send you into an episode of shortness of breath and leave you gasping for air.

So, what to do now that the popular asthma treatment, Flovent, is being discontinued?

GlaxoSmithKlein, or GSK, is the company that manufactured Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus for asthma treatment and it has discontinued its production. The brand will be replaced with an exact biochemical equivalent, marketed under its generic name, fluticasone.

What does that mean for you?

• Since some wholesalers and pharmacies still have the branded Flovent in their inventory, that will remain available to patients until the supplies run out. Eventually, it will be replaced by the generic.

• It is important to know that Flovent has not been “recalled.” That means you should have no worries about the medicine you still have in your house. It is perfectly safe to use.

• Generally speaking, generic drugs cost less than brands, and the hope is that this will translate into more money in your wallet. However, if you rely on insurance to pay for your prescriptions, you may have some hurdles to overcome. Generic inhaled steroids, like Flovent, are often not on the formulary of many insurance companies and may have to be authorized by your healthcare professional.

Check with your pharmacy or insurance company to see what is covered so that you can ask your physicians if any of those alternatives are recommended for you or your family.

• Numerous other brands of inhaled fluticasone are still available, and most of these can be purchased from CanadaOnlinePharmacy if you have a prescription from your doctor.

Why did GSK discontinue its brand of Flovent?

For a medication to be covered under Medicaid, the manufacturer must agree to provide rebates to the US federal government in exchange for being on their formulary. This is called the Medicare Rebate Act. However, these rebates were previously capped so that even if the price went up, the rebate owed stayed constant. This cap was removed as of January 1, 2024, under the Inflation Reduction Act. If prices of their drugs increase faster than the rate of inflation, those pharmaceutical companies will soon be required to pay higher rebates to Medicare and Medicaid. Flovent falls into this category.

Which medicines are affected?

• This change includes both the metered dose inhaler, Flovent HFA, and the powdered preparation, Flovent Diskus. The active ingredient in both is fluticasone, a steroid that acts to decrease inflammation in the airways of your lungs.

• These medicines are for both children and adults—and sometimes even for our pets.

• GSK is producing an exact generic equivalent which has already been approved by the FDA as an authorized generic drug under its biochemical name, fluticasone. It will have the same effectiveness as Flovent. However, you might have some challenges finding it for a few months until it’s been widely distributed.

What should you do?

Discuss your asthma medication with your doctor. They are most likely aware of the situation and will have a strategy in mind so you will not have an interruption in your treatment.

Flovent, like most inhaled corticosteroids, is also used in the management of other airway illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. So this advice applies if you’re one of those patients as well.

There are several inhaled corticosteroids available that can give you comparable relief from your symptoms. Some of these include:

• Beclomethasone (Qvar RediHaler)

• Budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler)

• Ciclesonide (Alvesco)

• Mometasone (Asmanex Twisthaler, Asmanex HFA)

These medicines act on your lungs in much the same way as fluticasone.

In addition, CPO currently carries a generic equivalent to Flovent, called Apotex fluticasone, in 125mcg and 250mcg dosages. A 50mcg inhaler is expected soon.

Other considerations:

• Keep track of your asthma symptoms if your doctor has changed your medication. Let them know how you’re responding, especially if you need to use your rescue inhaler more frequently.

While steroids suppress the immune system’s inflammatory response, rescue inhalers work more swiftly to relax the smooth muscle around the airways.

• Monitor your children. Sometimes kids would rather keep playing outside than tell you they’re not feeling well, and if they’re involved in their game, they may not even notice right away. If they’re breathing hard, can’t catch their breath, or are unable to keep up with their friends, talk to them about their symptoms and give the pediatrician a call right away. If their difficulty is severe, get them into a hospital or urgent care facility as soon as possible.

• If you have an older relative who has breathing challenges and perhaps does not navigate health information as well as you do, take some time to sit with them and go through their medicines. If they use any inhalers, even if it’s only sporadically, make an appointment with their doctor to discuss their treatment and accompany them to that appointment if you can.

• Dogs and cats can experience many of the same symptoms as we humans do. Although they can’t tell us with words, we can see they’re in distress if they’re panting, have low energy, loss of appetite, or if they start coughing or wheezing. Their gums may appear pale from not getting enough oxygen.

If you see your pet exhibiting these or other unusual signs, or if their behavior has changed, call your vet immediately.

CPO carries a variety of veterinary medications, including inhalers, and is an excellent resource for the maintenance treatment of your furry family.

The Good News

Fortunately, there are several alternatives to Flovent on the market that are equally effective for most people, and the active ingredient, fluticasone, is already available as a generic. You will need a new prescription from your doctor, so make an appointment early to discuss your treatment. That way you’ll be prepared when the flowers are in full bloom next month.



Leave your comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.

Enter Code:
not case-sensitive

Canadian Pharmacy Online provides information and news on a variety of health-related topics. The details we provide are not meant to indicate proper treatment, medical advice, or diagnosis. While we stand behind our research and writing, our content is not intended to be a substitute for individual medical attention from your physician or veterinarian. Use the information provided to increase your health-related awareness and always bring your questions or concerns to your doctor or vet for a proper diagnosis. Never delay seeking the proper medical attention because of something you may have read on this website or any other health-related blog.
Prescriptions Dispensed from Canada are Dispensed by: Candrug Pharmacy, ID#18985 604-543-8711. Pharmacy Manager: Carol Hou. This pharmacy is duly licensed in the province of British Columbia, Canada by the College of Pharmacists of BC. If you have any questions or concerns you can contact the college at: 200-1765 West 8th Ave Vancouver, BC V6J 5C6 Canada. All prices are in US dollars.
© Copyright 2006 - 2024 Canada Pharmacy Online. All Rights Reserved.