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What should I know before taking a long-acting beta-agonist bronchodilator?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Long-acting beta-agonists slightly increase the risks of a severe asthma attack, hospitalization, and death from asthma. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes that when these drugs are used correctly, their benefits outweigh their risks.

If you have a seizure disorder, an abnormal heart rhythm, coronary insufficiency, high blood pressure, or thyrotoxicosis, a long-acting beta-agonist may not be a good option for you.

If you have impaired liver function, salmeterol may not be a good option for you.

Long-acting beta-agonists may not be good options for you if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or may be pregnant. It is not known if they are safe for pregnant women.

It is not known if salmeterol and formoterol are safe or effective for children of all ages. Consult the individual drug labels for age limitations for each drug.

If you are breastfeeding, formoterol and salmeterol may not be good options for you. It is not known if these drugs can be passed into breast milk.

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.