Qvar vs Advair

Listen to the article instead of reading through it.


For patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), certain medications that work to control and prevent the symptoms, such as wheezing and shortness of breath are crucial for managing their condition. Qvar and Advair are two such drugs often prescribed for these respiratory conditions. They each have different mechanisms in treating asthma but both aim to improve lung function and reduce symptoms. Qvar is a corticosteroid inhaler which works by decreasing swelling and inflammation in the airways, thus improving breathing. On the other hand, Advair is a combination product containing fluticasone propionate, a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation; along with salmeterol, a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) that helps relax muscles around the airways to improve breathing.

What is Qvar?

Beclomethasone dipropionate (the generic name for Qvar) was a significant advancement in the line of corticosteroid treatment for asthma, following earlier medications. As an inhalable steroid, Qvar is designed to reduce inflammation and swelling in the airways, thereby preventing asthma attacks before they start. It was first approved by the FDA in 1981. Qvar works by blocking certain cells and chemicals involved in immune responses that can cause or exacerbate inflammation if left unchecked.

On the other hand, Advair contains two active ingredients: fluticasone propionate (a type of corticosteroid) and salmeterol xinafoate (a long-acting beta-agonist). The combination provides both anti-inflammatory action and bronchodilation - effectively reducing swelling while also relaxing muscles around the airways to improve breathing.

Qvar has a targeted influence on inflammatory responses with only minor systemic absorption which results in it having fewer side effects than other steroids that have stronger systemic effects. However, it lacks the added bronchodilatory effect of Advair due to its absence of a long-acting beta agonist component.

What conditions is Qvar approved to treat?

Qvar is approved for the management and prevention of asthma in patients requiring regular treatment with short-acting inhalers:

  • Asthma as a maintenance therapy

  • Prophylactic therapy in mild to moderate persistent asthma Advair, on the other hand, is used to control symptoms of breathing conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD):

  • Chronic bronchitis (a part of COPD)

  • Emphysema (also a part of COPD)

  • Asthma not well controlled by long-term asthma control medications.

How does Qvar help with these illnesses?

Qvar helps to manage chronic asthma by delivering an inhaled corticosteroid, beclomethasone dipropionate, directly to the lungs. This reduces inflammation and swelling in the airways over time, making it easier for individuals with asthma to breathe. It does this by suppressing the body's immune response that triggers inflammation in the airways. Beclomethasone is a type of glucocorticoid, a class of hormones that regulate many processes including inflammation and immune responses.

Advair also helps manage chronic asthma but uses a different approach; it combines two active ingredients: fluticasone propionate (an inhaled corticosteroid like Qvar) and salmeterol xinafoate (a long-acting bronchodilator). The fluticasone propionate works similarly to Qvar’s beclomethasone, reducing inflammation and swelling in the airways while salmeterol helps relax and open up the air passages within lungs for longer periods allowing better airflow.

Both drugs help patients manage their condition by decreasing symptoms such as difficulty breathing or wheezing caused by asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), but Advair has an added benefit of providing prolonged relief due its additional bronchodilator component.

What is Advair?

Advair is a brand name for the combination of fluticasone and salmeterol. Fluticasone is a corticosteroid that reduces inflammation, while salmeterol is a long-acting beta agonist (LABA) that helps to relax muscles in the airways to improve breathing. This dual-action makes Advair particularly effective at managing conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), especially when symptoms are not effectively controlled by using an inhaler with just one type of medication.

Unlike Qvar, which contains only beclomethasone dipropionate (a single corticosteroid), Advair's inclusion of a LABA can provide extended relief from symptoms over 12 hours after use. It also works to prevent bronchospasm in patients who requires this kind of maintenance therapy for COPD or asthma. Approved by the FDA in 2000, it's available as both an inhalation aerosol and dry powder inhaler.

While side effects do exist - such as increased risk of pneumonia in COPD patients or weakened immune system - these are generally less common than those associated with drugs containing serotonin, where sedation or sexual dysfunction might occur.

What conditions is Advair approved to treat?

Advair is a combination medication that has been approved for the treatment of:

  • Asthma in patients aged 12 years and older
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis and/or emphysema. It is important to note that Advair should not be used as a rescue inhaler or for people whose asthma is adequately controlled on low or medium dose inhaled corticosteroids.

How does Advair help with these illnesses?

Advair, known for its dual-action treatment of asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), works in two ways. It contains a corticosteroid component, fluticasone propionate, which reduces inflammation in the lungs, and a long-acting beta agonist (LABA) called salmeterol. Salmeterol opens the airways by relaxing smooth muscles lining them to make breathing easier. This combined effect makes Advair particularly effective at controlling symptoms and preventing exacerbations.

Unlike Qvar, which only contains a corticosteroid (beclomethasone), Advair's LABA component adds an additional dimension of treatment that can be beneficial for those with moderate to severe asthma or COPD who are not adequately controlled on a single-agent therapy like Qvar. However, it is important to note that LABAs such as salmeterol should always be used alongside an asthma controller medication like an inhaled steroid due to potential risks when used alone.

How effective are both Qvar and Advair?

Both Qvar (beclomethasone) and Advair (a combination of fluticasone and salmeterol) are widely used in the management of asthma, with FDA approvals granted only a few years apart. The way they act on the body is similar yet distinct due to their different components; hence, they may be prescribed under varying circumstances. A study conducted in 2010 directly compared the effectiveness of beclomethasone and fluticasone/salmeterol in controlling mild-to-moderate persistent asthma. Both medications demonstrated comparable efficacy in managing symptoms as well as promising safety profiles.

A review published in 2006 focused on the use of beclomethasone for treating asthma and found that it can significantly improve lung function from just one week after starting treatment. It also showed favorable tolerability compared to many other corticosteroids, including a lower risk of systemic side effects when appropriately administered via inhalation. Furthermore, this medication has been around longer than most other inhalable steroids giving it an established history.

A contrasting meta-analysis from 2014 indicated that combination therapy with drugs like Advair seems more effective at preventing severe flare-ups requiring oral steroid use than single-ingredient inhalers such as Qvar alone. Nevertheless, these dual-therapy medications are often considered second-line treatments – typically prescribed after low-dose corticosteroid monotherapy or for individuals who continue experiencing frequent exacerbations despite mono-treatment adherence. However, because Advair contains both a long-acting bronchodilator along with an anti-inflammatory steroid component, it could be particularly useful for patients whose symptoms remain poorly controlled by singular mode therapies.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Qvar typically prescribed?

Inhaled dosages of Qvar range from 40-320 mcg/day for adults and adolescents over the age of 12. It is often recommended to start with a lower dose and gradually increase if symptoms do not improve. For children aged 5-11, the starting dosage should be 40 mcg/day which can be increased up to a maximum of 80 mcg/day if necessary. Similarly, Advair comes in different strengths ranging from fluticasone propionate (100,250)mcg/salmeterol(50)mcg per inhalation for adults and adolescents above twelve years old; whereas children between four to eleven get fluticasone propionate(100)/salmeterol(50)mcg per inhalation as maintenance therapy for asthma treatment. Dosage adjustments are based on individual patient response but should not exceed prescribed amounts.

At what dose is Advair typically prescribed?

Advair treatment for asthma is generally started with one inhalation of Advair Diskus 100/50 (fluticasone propionate 100 mcg and salmeterol 50 mcg) twice a day. The dose can then be increased to two inhalations of Advair Diskus 250/50 or higher, depending on the severity of symptoms. These doses are spaced approximately 12 hours apart. Maximum daily dose is two inhalations of Advair Diskus 500/50 in the morning and evening. If there's no sufficient response to initial dosage after a few weeks, it may be necessary to reassess the patient’s condition and therapy regimen.

What are the most common side effects for Qvar?

Potential side effects of Qvar may include:

  • Headache
  • Throat irritation or pain
  • Hoarseness and voice changes
  • Cough
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach
  • Signs of a common cold such as sneezing, sore throat, and stuffy or runny nose

On the other hand, Advair's possible side effects encompass:

  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis)
  • Sore throat (pharyngitis)
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Headache -Dizziness

It is important to note that while both medicines are used for treating asthma and COPD conditions, their potential side effects can vary due to their different active ingredients.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Qvar?

Although both Qvar and Advair are used to manage asthma, they can sometimes cause unwanted side effects. In rare cases, these might include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • White patches in the mouth or on the tongue (which could indicate a fungal infection)
  • Vision problems like blurred vision
  • An unusually fast heartbeat or palpitations
  • Feeling nervous or anxious; tremors
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Severe respiratory issues: increased wheezing and shortness of breath immediately after using the inhaler
  • High blood sugar - symptoms may include frequent urination, increased thirst and hunger

In addition to these common side effects shared by both medications, Advair can also potentially cause more serious complications including pneumonia in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). If you experience any unusual symptoms while using either Qvar or Advair it's important to seek medical help promptly.

What are the most common side effects for Advair?

The potential side effects of Advair can include:

  • Hoarseness and voice changes
  • Throat irritation or sore throat
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting, upset stomach
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Fungal infections in the mouth or throat (thrush)
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Muscle pain, bone pain, back pain
  • Tremors, nervousness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rash or hives

Are there any potential serious side effects for Advair?

While Advair is generally well-tolerated, it can cause serious side effects in some cases. Such symptoms may include:

  • Allergic reactions such as skin rash, hives, or itching; swelling of the face, lips or tongue
  • Breathing problems after using your inhaler
  • Changes in vision
  • Chest pain or irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling faint or lightheadedness
  • High blood pressure – this can cause headaches, mood changes and blurred vision
  • Infections like fever, chills, coughing up mucus

If you experience any of these adverse reactions while using Advair, stop taking it immediately and consult with a healthcare professional.

Contraindications for Qvar and Advair?

Both Qvar and Advair, like most other inhaled corticosteroids and bronchodilators for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may worsen symptoms in some individuals. If you notice your breathing worsening, have increased wheezing or shortness of breath, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Qvar nor Advair should be taken if you are taking certain types of medications such as beta-blockers used for conditions like high blood pressure or heart disease. Always disclose to your physician which medications you are on; beta-blockers can interfere with the effectiveness of these respiratory treatments and could potentially lead to serious health complications.

Furthermore, they shouldn't be used if an individual has a severe milk protein allergy due to their formulation. It is absolutely vital to inform your healthcare provider about any allergies before starting these medications.

How much do Qvar and Advair cost?

For the brand-name versions of these asthma/COPD medications:

  • The price for one Qvar Redihaler (40 mcg) averages around $220, which works out to approximately $7.30/day given that it's typically used twice a day.
  • The cost of one Advair Diskus (100/50 mcg) is about $390, working out to roughly $13/day based on using it twice daily.

Thus if you use either inhaler at their standard doses, the brand-name Advair will be more expensive on a per-day basis. However, remember that cost should not be your sole consideration in determining which of these drugs is appropriate for you - effectiveness and side effects are also crucial factors.

As for generic options:

  • Generic Qvar (beclomethasone dipropionate), while available internationally, is currently not marketed in the United States; hence pricing comparable to other domestic generics cannot be provided.
  • As with Qvar’s generic version, fluticasone/salmeterol – the generic equivalent of Advair – has recently been approved by FDA but market availability can vary significantly so check with local pharmacies for cost information.

Popularity of Qvar and Advair

Beclomethasone dipropionate, commonly known by the brand name Qvar, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 3.2 million people in the US in 2020. Beclomethasone accounted for roughly 8% of corticosteroid inhaler prescriptions in the US that year. It's a preferred treatment option due to its anti-inflammatory effects which can help control and prevent asthma symptoms. The use of beclomethasone has remained relatively consistent over recent years.

Fluticasone/salmeterol, sold under brand names such as Advair, was prescribed to approximately 6.5 million people in the USA during the same year. Fluticasone/salmeterol accounts for just under 25% of combination long-acting beta agonist (LABA) and corticosteroid inhaler prescriptions, and around 16% of overall respiratory prescriptions used for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma management. The prevalence of fluticasone/salmeterol has seen a slight decrease over the last decade due to competition from newer drugs within this class.


Both Qvar (beclomethasone) and Advair (fluticasone/salmeterol) are prescribed to manage symptoms in patients with asthma, and both have strong evidence supporting their effectiveness. The medications can serve complementary roles but should not be used simultaneously without careful consideration from a physician due to potential interactions. Both act as corticosteroids to reduce inflammation; however, Advair also includes salmeterol, a long-acting bronchodilator which helps open the airways.

Qvar is often considered first-line treatment for persistent asthma when rescue inhalers alone aren't enough. On the other hand, if someone has moderate-to-severe persistent asthma or isn’t responding well to low-dose inhaled corticosteroids alone like Qvar, dual therapy with Advair may be recommended.

Both drugs come in generic forms providing cost savings especially for those paying out-of-pocket. They may take some time before full effects become noticeable so patience during early stages of treatment is important.

Side effect profiles between both drugs are similar given they're both corticosteroids; however, there might be additional side effects related to the long-acting bronchodilator found in Advair such as increased heart rate or palpitations. Patients must monitor their breathing closely upon starting either drug and seek immediate medical attention if respiratory symptoms worsen significantly.