FAQs About COPD

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We’d like to share the answers to some frequently asked questions about COPD. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions about ADVAIR.

ADVAIR DISKUS 250/50 is approved for adults with COPD, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. ADVAIR DISKUS is not for, and should not be used to treat, sudden, severe symptoms of COPD. ADVAIR won't replace a rescue inhaler. You should only take 1 inhalation of ADVAIR twice a day. Higher doses will not provide additional benefits.

Ask your doctor if prescription ADVAIR DISKUS is right for you.

What is COPD?

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) disease. It's a term for a condition in which the airflow into and out of the lungs is reduced. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. Patients may experience symptoms of one of these conditions, which can make it difficult to breathe.

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What is chronic bronchitis?

Chronic bronchitis is increased coughing and mucus production caused by inflammation of the airways. Bronchitis is considered chronic (or long-term) if a person coughs and produces excess mucus most days during three months in a year, for two years in a row.

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What is emphysema?

Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) associated with damage of the air sacs and/or the smallest breathing tubes in the lungs.

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What is a COPD exacerbation?

An exacerbation is when your COPD symptoms (including cough, increased mucus production, and shortness of breath) are worse than usual. This can last for a few days or longer and often requires treatment with antibiotics, oral steroids, and, in some cases, hospitalization.

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How does COPD make it hard to breathe?

The airways in your lungs lose their elasticity (ability to stretch). The walls between air sacs are destroyed. The walls of the airways themselves become thick and swollen, and the airways narrow. Cells in the walls of the airways make more mucus than usual, which blocks the airways. Any of these factors can combine to make it harder to get the air out when exhaling.

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What can be done for COPD, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both?

If you still smoke, the first thing to do is stop. There are also medicines available that can help improve lung function for better breathing in people with COPD, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or both. Talk with your doctor to see if you are doing all you can for your condition.

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Is smoking the main cause of COPD?

Smoking causes at least 75% of COPD cases. Cigarette smoke can cause inflammation and damage to the lungs. It is believed that this inflammation can then lead to COPD. Quitting smoking is the best way to reduce the risk of getting COPD.

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How can people with COPD manage their condition?

Your healthcare provider can help you manage your COPD. Your doctor’s advice and treatment may include quitting smoking, eating right, exercise, vaccines, medicines, and supplemental oxygen.

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Does exercise help people with COPD?

Believe it or not, even a mild to moderate workout routine can improve your health. In fact, physical activity can have many benefits. It improves muscle tone, increases energy level, strengthens the heart, and gives you a more positive outlook. It also helps you to do more with less effort. Your doctor will tell you how much exercise you should do and how much is too much.

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Are there any breathing techniques that can help me?

Talk to your healthcare provider about pursed-lip breathing. Patients with COPD can use a pursed-lip breathing technique to help with shortness of breath. Pursed-lip breathing is a simple way to slow your breathing and make it more effective. This is particularly effective when you are trying to catch your breath after exertion or work.

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Are there diet tips for people with COPD?

It is important for you to eat a healthy diet that provides you with the extra energy you need to breathe. Good nutrition can increase your overall well-being. And since too much sodium can cause you to retain too much fluid, try not to eat too much salt. It’s best to eat fresh, healthy foods, such as leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins.

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What if I am having difficulty paying for my ADVAIR DISKUS?

There are three assistance programs for patients who are having difficulty paying for their prescriptions for ADVAIR. Each one is designed with a different patient in mind.

Bridges to Access is a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) program for low-income patients who do not have any prescription coverage and are not covered under Medicare Part D. There are also other eligibility requirements. If a patient qualifies, he/she may receive GSK medicine at little or no cost. You will need a healthcare worker who helps you with your care to enroll you. Find out more at www.bridgestoaccess.com or call 1-866-728-4368.

GSK Access is a GSK program for people enrolled in a Medicare Part D drug plan. It is for lower income patients who meet the eligibility requirements. The plan provides GSK medicines at no cost after the patient has already spent $600 or more for prescriptions in the year. Find out more at www.gsk-access.com or by calling 1-866-518-4357.

Together Rx Access™ is a discount program sponsored by GSK and other drug companies. It is for lower-income patients who do not have any prescription coverage. If a patient qualifies for the program, he/she may receive 25% to 40% savings on brand-name prescription products. Find out if you are eligible by visiting www.togetherrxaccess.com or calling 1-800-444-4106.

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Important Safety Information for ADVAIR DISKUS® 250/50 (fluticasone propionate 250 mcg and salmeterol 50 mcg inhalation powder)

  • People with asthma who take long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) medicines, such as salmeterol (one of the medicines in ADVAIR DISKUS), have an increased risk of death from asthma problems. It is not known whether fluticasone propionate, the other medicine in ADVAIR DISKUS, reduces the risk of death from asthma problems seen with salmeterol.
    • Call your healthcare provider if breathing problems worsen over time while using ADVAIR DISKUS. You may need different treatment.
    • Get emergency medical care if:
      • breathing problems worsen quickly and
      • you use your rescue inhaler medicine, but it does not relieve your breathing problems.
  • Do not use ADVAIR DISKUS to treat sudden, severe symptoms of asthma or COPD. Always have a rescue inhaler medicine with you to treat sudden symptoms.
  • Do not use ADVAIR DISKUS if you have a severe allergy to milk proteins. Ask your doctor if you are not sure.
  • Do not use ADVAIR DISKUS more often than prescribed. Do not take ADVAIR DISKUS with other medicines that contain long-acting beta2-agonists for any reason. Tell your doctor about medicines you take and about all of your medical conditions.
  • ADVAIR DISKUS can cause serious side effects, including:
    • serious allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical care if you get any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
      • rash
      • hives
      • swelling of the face, mouth, and tongue
      • breathing problems
    • sudden breathing problems immediately after inhaling your medicine
    • effects on heart
      • increased blood pressure
      • a fast and irregular heartbeat
      • chest pain
    • effects on nervous system
      • tremor
      • nervousness
    • reduced adrenal function (may result in loss of energy)
    • changes in blood (sugar, potassium, certain types of white blood cells)
    • weakened immune system and a higher chance of infections. You should avoid exposure to chickenpox and measles, and, if exposed, consult your healthcare provider without delay. Worsening of existing tuberculosis, fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections, or ocular herpes simplex may occur.
    • lower bone mineral density. This may be a problem for people who already have a higher chance of low bone density (osteoporosis).
    • eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts. You should have regular eye exams while using ADVAIR DISKUS.
    • pneumonia. People with COPD have a higher chance of getting pneumonia. ADVAIR DISKUS may increase the chance of getting pneumonia. Call your doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:
      • increase in mucus (sputum) production
      • change in mucus color
      • fever
      • chills
      • increased cough
      • increased breathing problems
    • Common side effects of ADVAIR DISKUS 250/50 for COPD include:
      • thrush in the mouth and throat
      • throat irritation
      • hoarseness and voice changes
      • viral respiratory infections
      • headache
      • muscle and bone pain
    • After each dose, rinse your mouth with water and spit the water out. Do not swallow.

    Complete Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide, for ADVAIR DISKUS

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