Formoterol belongs to the family of prescription-only medicines known as beta 2-agonists. It is used to help prevent the symptoms of asthma and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depending on the brand used, and is available in both dry-powder inhalers (DPIs) and pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs). more...
Formoterol is a long-acting beta-adrenoceptor agonist (LABA), which is usually prescribed as a replacement to a short acting beta-2 adrenoceptor agonist, such as salbutamol, and a corticosteroid, such as beclometasone. The primary noticable difference of formoterol to salbutamol is that the duration is action lasts approximately 12 hours in comparison with 4-6 hours of salbutamol.
When used regularly every day as presecribed, inhaled formoterol decreases the number and severity of asthma attacks. However, it is not for use for relieving an asthma attack that has already started.
Inhaled formoterol works like other beta 2-agonists, causing bronchodilatation by relaxing the smooth muscle in the airway so as to treat the exacerbation of asthma. The long duration of formoterol action occurs by the formoterol molecules initially diffusing into the plasma membrane of the lung cells, and then slowly being released back outside the cell where they can come into contact with the beta-2 adrenoceptors. Formoterol has been demonstrated to have a faster onset of action than salmeterol as a result of a lower lipophilicity, and has also been demonstrated to be more potent - a 12 µg dose of formoterol has been demonstrated to be equivalent to a 50 µg dose of salmeterol.
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