Asthma Medications and Their Side Effects

by Susan Milar

Generic name: Budesonide
Brand names: Pulmicort, Rhinocort

Side effects: Facial edema, rash, herpes simplex, nervousness, nausea, nasal irritation, dry mouth, hoarseness, wheezing, nasal pain, delayed growth in children

Long term use: Glucose intolerance, psychiatric disturbances, cataracts

Generic name: Beclomethasone
Brand names: Beclovent, Vanceril, Becloforte, Beconaise

Side effects: Irritation of the throat, coughing, hoarseness, candidiasis in the region of the oropharynx or the larynx.

Long term use: Depressed pituitary-adrenal functioning, osteoporosis.


Generic name: Flunisolide
Brand names: Bronalide, Aerobid-M, Nasalide, Rhinalar

Side effects: Nasal burning and stinging, aftertaste, hoarseness, sore throat, cough, wheezing, Candida (yeast) infections, change or loss of sense of smell or taste, nausea, headache, diarrhea, allergic reaction (including rash, hives, itchiness and bronchospasm)

Long term use: Permanent loss of sense of smell and/or taste


Generic name: Fluticasone
Brand names: Flonase or Flovent

Side effects: Dry nose, nose bleeds, candida yeast infections in the mouth, hoarseness, sore throat, serious cortisol suppression, growth suppression in children, eosinophilic pneumonia, eosinophilic vasculitis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, vasculitic rash, worsening pulmonary symptoms, cardiac complications, increased risk of glaucoma


Generic name: Salbutamol or Albutrerol
Brand names: Ventolin, Easyhaler, Diskhaler, Proventil

Side effects: Suspected to be a co-factor in asthma deaths, tremor, inner agitation, heart palpitation, muscle cramps, headaches, premature contractions during pregnancy, psychotic reactions.


Generic name: Salmeterol
Brand name: Serevent

Side effects: Liver dysfunction and damage, increased heart rate, blood pressure, heart beat irregularities, chest pain tremor, nervousness, worsening of bronchospasm (life-threatening), allergic reactions: skin rash, hives, swelling, bronchospasm, and anaphylaxis (life-threatening), worsening of diabetes and lowering of potassium, potentially fatal heart complications.

Generic name: Prednisone, Prednisolone
Brand names: Adasone, Cartancyl, Colisone, Cordrol, Cortan, Dacortin, Dellacort, Delta-Dome, Deltasone, DiAdreson, Econosone, Fernisone, Liquid Pred, Meticorten, Orasone, Panasol, Paracort, Parmenison, Prednicen-M, Prednicot, Predniment, Rectodelt, Sterapred

Side effects: Systemic corticosteroid effects such as hypercorticism and adrenal suppression, Cushing's syndrome with moon face, truncal obesity, acne, psychiatric disorders, menstruation disorders, osteoporosis, muscular atrophy, and other myopathies,hypertension, edema, hyperglycemia, cataracts, glaucoma, aseptic bone necrosis, pancreatitis, delayed wound healing, sleep disturbances, nycturia, nausea; gastrointestinal bleeding, dermatrophy, cerebral pseudotumor, congestive heart failure, convulsions, impaired wound healing

*To discontinue use, prednisolone, or prednisone must be reduced gradually if the therapy lasts longer than one week. Work with the prescribing physician!


Generic name: Theophylline
Brand names: Theo-dur, Respbid, Slo-bid, Theo-24, Theolair, Uniphyl, Slo-phyllin

Side effects: Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, trouble concentrating tachycardia, palpitations, extrasystoles, headaches, tremor, nervousness, excitability, sleep disturbances, gastroesophageal reflux

Long term use: Dangerous complications mostly affect the heart (arrhythmias) and the central nervous system (convulsions) and are frequently lethal.


Generic name: Zileutron
Brand names: Leutrol, Zyflo

Side effects: Changes in liver functioning

Long term use: Liver damage (yellowing of skin or eyes, unusual tiredness, abdominal pain)


Generic name: Zafirlukast
Brand name: Accolate

Side effects: Headache, infections, nausea, diarrhea, numbness, tingling, pain, worsening respiratory symptoms, liver damage (yellowing of skin or eyes, unusual tiredness, abdominal pain); Churg-Strauss syndrome: can be very serious; if dose is reduced watch for the following symptoms: fever, muscle aches, pains and weight loss.

Long term use: Liver damage (yellowing of skin or eyes, unusual tiredness, abdominal pain)


Generic name: Montelukast
Brand name: Singulair

Side effects: Headache, abdominal pain, rash, dyspepsia, dizziness, diarrhea, sinusitis, and ear ache, gastroenteritis, cough, nasal congestion





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