Arformoterol | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

arformoterol, Inhalation solution

All Brands

  • Brovana
SECTION 1 of 5

Highlights for arformoterol

Inhalation solution
1

Arformoterolopens up the airways in your lungs. It’s a type of drug called a long-acting bronchodilator. It’s used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).People with COPD have both bronchitis and emphysema. Arformoterolshouldn’t be used to treat asthma.

2

Arformoterol is available as the brand-name drug Brovana. It’s not available as a generic drug.

3

This medication is available as an inhalation solution that you breathe in through your mouth. You do this using a nebulizer. Don’t swallow or inject the arformoterol solution.

4

The more common side effects of this drug can include chest pain, back pain, diarrhea, or sinusitis (swelling and irritation in the sinus tissues).

5

Arformoterol doesn’t relieve sudden symptoms of COPD. To treat sudden symptoms, always have a rescue inhaler with you. A rescue inhaler contains an inhaled short-acting bronchodilator (such as albuterol). If you don’t have a rescue inhaler, ask your doctor to prescribe one for you.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

FDA warning

This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A black box warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Asthma-related death warning. People with asthma who take long-acting beta agonist (LABA) drugs, such as arformoterol, without other drugs have an increased risk of death from asthma problems. It isn’t known if these drugs increase the risk of death in people with COPD. This drug has been approved to treat COPD only. It shouldn’t be used to treat asthma.

Sudden shortness of breath

This drug doesn’t relieve sudden symptoms of COPD. Always have a short-acting beta agonist rescue inhaler (such as albuterol) with you to treat sudden symptoms. If you don’t have a rescue inhaler, ask your doctor to prescribe one for you.

Emergency care

Call your doctor or get emergency medical care right away if:

  • your breathing problems worsen when you take arformoterol
  • you need to use your rescue inhaler more often than usual
  • your rescue inhaler doesn’t work as well as it did before to relieve your symptoms

In these cases, your COPD may be getting worse and other medications may be needed to treat your symptoms.

Other long-acting beta agonists (LABAs)

While taking this drug, don’t use other medications that contain a LABA for any reason. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if any of your other drugs are LABA medications. Using too much of a LABA medication can cause serious effects. These can include a fast or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, increased blood pressure, or even death.

Drug features

This drug is a prescription drug. It’s available as an inhalation solution that you breathe in through your mouth. You do this using a device called a nebulizer.

This drug is available as the brand-name drug Brovana. It’s not available as a generic drug.

This drug may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

This drug opens up the airways in your lungs.

More Details

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called long-acting beta agonists (LABAs).

More Details

Why it's used

This drug opens up the airways in your lungs. It’s a type of drug called a long-acting bronchodilator. It’s used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with COPD have both bronchitis and emphysema.

This drug shouldn’t be used to treat asthma.

How it works

This drug belongs to a class of drugs called long-acting beta agonists (LABAs). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. They’re often used to treat similar conditions. 

LABA drugs such as this drug help relax the muscles around the airways in your lungs. This helps prevent symptoms such as wheezing, cough, a feeling of tightness in the chest, or shortness of breath.

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SECTION 2 of 5

arformoterol Side Effects

Inhalation solution

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects of arformoterol can include:

  • headache

  • tremor

  • nervousness

  • sinus congestion

  • bronchitis

  • fever

  • vomiting

  • diarrhea

  • increased white blood cells

  • tiredness

  • chest or back pain

  • leg cramps

  • leg swelling

  • low blood potassium, with symptoms such as irregular heartbeat, weakness, or tiredness

  • shortness of breath

  • rash

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Sudden shortness of breath immediately after use of arformoterol

  • Increased blood pressure

  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

  • Serious allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:

    • severe rash
    • hives
    • swelling of the face, mouth, or tongue
    • breathing problems
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Don’t increase your dose of this drug or use the drug more often than your doctor prescribes. Increased doses or use with other LABA drugs can cause heart problems that can lead to death.

This drug hasn’t been reported to cause drowsiness.

Sudden shortness of breath can occur immediately after use of this drug. Call your doctor if this occurs.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
SECTION 3 of 5

arformoterol May Interact with Other Medications

Inhalation solution

Arformoterol can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Cough and cold drugs

When taken together with arformoterol, these drugs can cause adverse effects on the heart.Examples of these drugs include:

  • phenylephrine
  • pseudoephedrine

Depression drugs

When taken with arformoterol, certain drugs used to treat depression can increase some arformoterol side effects. These include abnormal heart rhythms. Your doctor should monitor you carefully when taking arformoterol if you’re also taking depression drugs, or have stopped taking these drugs within the last 2 weeks. Examples of these drugs include:

  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), such as:
    • isocarboxazid
    • phenelzine
    • selegiline
    • tranylcypromine
  • tricyclic antidepressants, such as:
    • amitriptyline
    • clomipramine
    • desipramine
    • doxepin
    • imipramine
    • nortriptyline
    • protriptyline

Heart rhythm drugs

When taken with arformoterol, certain drugs used to prevent or treat heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) may cause side effects. These effects can include more arrhythmias. Examples of these drugs include:

  • amiodarone
  • dofetilide
  • disopyramide
  • dronedarone
  • flecainide
  • mexiletine
  • procainamide
  • propafenone
  • quinidine
  • sotalol

Respiratory drugs

Bronchodilators are drugs that help open the airways to help you breathe. They’re used to treat symptoms of asthma, COPD, or other lung problems. When used with arformoterol, another bronchodilator, these drugs can increase the side effects of arformoterol. Your doctor should monitor you carefully if you take these drugs with arformoterol. (Note: Arformoterol shouldn’t be used with other LABA drugs.) Examples of bronchodilators include:

  • albuterol
  • ephedrine
  • epinephrine
  • formoterol
  • indacaterol
  • isoproterenol
  • levalbuterol
  • olodaterol
  • pirbuterol
  • salmeterol

Methylxanthines are drugs used to treat asthma or other lung diseases. These drugs can decrease potassium levels in the body. Arformoterol can also lower potassium levels. Using these drugs together can cause dangerously low potassium levels. This can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. If you take these drugs together, your doctor should monitor your potassium blood levels. Examples of methylxanthines include:

  • aminophylline
  • dyphylline
  • theophylline

Water pills (diuretics)

Diuretics are used to remove extra fluid from the body, which can help treat high blood pressure. These drugs can decrease potassium levels in the body. Arformoterol can also lower potassium levels. Using these drugs together can cause dangerously low potassium levels. This can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. If you take these drugs together, your doctor should monitor your potassium blood levels. Examples of diuretics include:

  • loop diuretics, such as:
    • bumetanide
    • ethacrynate
    • furosemide
    • torsemide
  • thiazide diuretics, such as:
    • chlorothiazide
    • chlorthalidone
    • hydrochlorothiazide
    • indapamide
    • metolazone

Other drugs

Beta-blockers Beta-blockers can be used in many ways, such as to treat high blood pressure or to help prevent a second heart attack. When taken along with arformoterol, they can keep arformoterol from working well. Examples of beta-blockers include:

  • acebutolol
  • atenolol
  • betaxolol
  • bisoprolol
  • carvedilol
  • labetalol
  • metoprolol
  • nadolol
  • nebivolol
  • penbutolol
  • pindolol
  • propranolol
  • timolol

Steroids are used to treat inflammation related to many conditions. These include asthma, allergic reactions, or pain. Steroids can decrease potassium levels. Arformoterol can also lower potassium levels. Using these drugs together can cause dangerously low potassium levels. This can lead to abnormal heart rhythms. If you take these drugs together, your doctor should monitor your potassium blood levels. Examples of steroids include:

  • dexamethasone
  • fludrocortisone
  • hydrocortisone
  • methylprednisolone
  • prednisolone
  • prednisone

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.
Drug warnings
People with asthma
People with asthma

This drug shouldn’t be used alone for the treatment of asthma. This type of use raises the risk of death in people with asthma. A long-term controller medication (such as an inhaled corticosteroid) must be used regularly to treat asthma.

People with heart problems or high blood pressure
People with heart problems or high blood pressure

This drug may increase your blood pressure or your heart rate. It may also cause abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Before taking this drug, make sure your doctor knows that you have a heart condition or high blood pressure.

People with seizures
People with seizures

This drug may increase your risk of seizures. Let your doctor know before starting arformoterol if you have a seizure disorder or epilepsy.

People with thyroid problems
People with thyroid problems

This drug may increase thyroid activity. Talk to your doctor about whether taking this drug is safe for you.

People with diabetes
People with diabetes

This drug may increase your blood sugar levels. Before taking this drug, make sure your doctor knows you have diabetes.

People with low potassium levels (hypokalemia)
People with low potassium levels (hypokalemia)

This drug may lower your blood potassium levels even more. If your potassium levels become too low, you may have serious side effects, including abnormal heart rhythms.

People with liver problems
People with liver problems

Your liver gets rid of arformoterol from the body. If your liver isn’t working well, more of the drug may stay in your body, putting you at higher risk of side effects. Your doctor should monitor you carefully if you take arformoterol.

Pregnancy Class Warning
Pregnant women
  1. This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should only be used if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

Drugs such as this drug can interfere with how the uterus contracts during labor and delivery. Your doctor will decide whether you should keep taking this drug while you’re in labor.

Women Who Are Breastfeeding
Women who are breast-feeding

It isn’t known if this drug may pass into breast milk or cause side effects in a child who is breast-fed.

Talk to your doctor if you breast-feed your child. You may need to decide whether to stop breast-feeding or stop taking this medication.

Children
For children

This drug hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

COPD doesn’t typically occur in children.

When to call the doctor
When to call the doctor

Call your doctor right away if:

  • this drug isn’t helping to decrease your symptoms
  • your symptoms become worse even though you’re using this drug as prescribed
  • you need to use your rescue inhaler more often than usual

If these things are true, your COPD may be getting worse and other medications may be needed to treat your symptoms.

Also call your doctor right away if you become pregnant while taking this drug.

Allergies
Allergies

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • rash
  • hives
  • swelling of your face, lips, mouth, tongue, and throat
  • trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take arformoterol (Dosage)

Inhalation solution

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Brand: Brovana

Form: inhalation solution
Strengths: 15 mcg/2 mL solution
Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older):
  • Arformoterol solution is to be inhaled using a nebulizer. Don’t swallow or inject the solution.
  • Inhale one 15 mcg/2 mL-vial every 12 hours (morning and evening). One ready-to-use vial is one dose.
  • Don’t use more than 2 ready-to-use vials per day. (The total maximum daily dose is 30 mcg.)
Child dosage (ages 0-17 years):

This medication hasn’t been studied in children. It shouldn’t be used in people younger than 18 years.

COPD doesn’t typically occur in children.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

When you use an inhaled beta agonist on a regular basis, your body may become used to the drug. This can occur as early as 6 weeks after starting treatment. When this happens, the drug may not work as well. This means that over time, this drug may work less well to keep your airways open.

Tell your doctor if you’re using more doses than usual of a rescue inhaler (a short-acting beta agonist) while you’re taking this drug. Your COPD may be getting worse. Other medications may be needed to treat your COPD symptoms.

This drug comes with risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you stop taking the drug suddenly or don’t take it at all

Your COPD symptoms won’t improve. You may need to go to the hospital to treat your COPD. Don’t stop using this drug unless your doctor tells you to stop. Stopping this drug suddenly can make your COPD symptoms worse.

If you miss doses or don’t take the drug on schedule

Your medication may not work as well or may stop working completely.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • chest pain
  • high or low blood pressure
  • a fast or pounding heartbeat
  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • nervousness
  • headache
  • tremor
  • dry mouth
  • muscle cramps
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • trouble sleeping

An overdose can even lead to a heart attack or death. If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room.

What to do if you miss a dose

If you miss a dose of this drug, just skip that dose. Take your next dose at your usual time. Don’t take 2 doses at one time. This could result in dangerous side effects. These can include a fast or pounding heartbeat, abnormal heart rhythms, or nervousness.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your COPD symptoms should be better controlled. Your shortness of breath, wheezing, or cough should improve, and you should have fewer episodes of trouble breathing.

This drug is used for long-term treatment.

Store this drug carefully

  • Keep this drug in a refrigerator at temperatures from 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Or, for up to 6 weeks (42 days), it can be stored at room temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • If this drug is stored at room temperature, it should be thrown away after 6 weeks, or after the expiration date, if that is sooner. In the space provided on each package, write the date it was opened and how long it can be stored at room temperature.
  • Store this drug in the protective foil pouch. Protect it from light.
  • Don’t open the sealed pouch containing this drug until you’re ready to use a dose. Once the ready-to-use vial is opened, it should be used right away. After opening the pouch, take out only the vial you’re going to use. Keep the other unopened vials in the pouch.
  • If you store this drug in the refrigerator, it doesn’t have to be warmed to room temperature before use. It can be used right after you take it out of the refrigerator.
  • Don’t use this drug after the expiration date on the foil pouch and ready-to-use vial.
  • This drug should be colorless. If it isn’t colorless, don’t use it. Dispose of it.

Prescription is refillable

You shouldn’t need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Self-management

  • A nebulizer with a face mask or mouth piece will be needed to use this drug. This device will allow you to inhale the arformoterol.
  • Your doctor or nurse will show you how to prepare the inhalation solution in the nebulizer. They will also show you how to use the nebulizer to inhale this drug.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor you throughout treatment with this drug. They will check how well your lungs are working using a pulmonary function test. This test will help make sure the drug is working. During this test, you'll blow into a large tube attached to a machine called a spirometer. The spirometer measures how much air your lungs can hold. It also measures how fast you can blow the air out of your lungs.

You and your doctor should also monitor certain health issues. This can help make sure you stay safe while you take this drug. Blood tests will be used to check your:

  • Blood potassium levels. This drug may cause low potassium levels. Low potassium levels may lead to heart problems, so it’s important to monitor your potassium levels.
  • Blood glucose levels. This drug may increase your blood sugar (hyperglycemia). If you have diabetes and monitor your blood sugar level, you may see increases in your blood sugar level.
  • Liver function. If your liver isn’t working well, more of this drug may stay in your body for a longer time. This puts you at risk for increased side effects. Your doctor will check how well your liver is working and make sure this drug is safe for you to take.

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug

Also, your pharmacy may not stock nebulizers or nebulizer supplies. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead.

Hidden costs

A nebulizer with a face mask or mouth piece will be needed to inhale this medication. The nebulizer may be rented or purchased. The nebulizer comes with tubing that must be changed, so nebulizer supplies may also be an additional cost.

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug or nebulizers. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are There Any Alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

SECTION 5 of 5

How Much Does arformoterol Cost?

Inhalation solution

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for arformoterol on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on October 1, 2015

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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