Asthma is a condition that affects the airways in the lungs and can cause wheezing, a cough, and breathlessness.
It can affect anyone at any point in their life, however, it is more prolific in children.
Common symptoms indicating asthma include:
- a frequent cough, accompanied by sneezing and sniffles, particularly in case of a viral infection of the respiratory tract;
- shortness of breath;
- whistling sound when exhaling or breathing;
- sleep disorders owing to the shortness of breath;
- chest pain and clenching.
Asthma is caused by swelling in the airways.
There are a number of things which could increase the risk of developing asthma, like:
- having allergies to house-dust mites, pollen, and mold;
- being exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb or early life;
- having certain illnesses as a child;
- being brought up in a house where there is a pet, particularly a cat;
- exposure to allergens (from foods in the mother’s diet) during pregnancy.
Asthma symptoms commonly occur in response to a trigger, such as:
- infections, such as – colds and flu;
- animal fur or feathers;
- dust mites;
- mold or damp;
- tobacco smoke;
- heat and humidity;
- cold air;
- sudden changes in temperature;
- emotional stress;
- medicines, especially – anti-inflammatory painkillers (aspirin or ibuprofen).
There is currently no cure for asthma, however, treatment can help control the symptoms.
Here is a comparison between Qvar and Albuterol, two asthma inhalers:
Qvar (active ingredient – beclomethasone) is an inhaled steroid that is used to treat the underlying inflammation which occurs in most cases of asthma.
Beclomethasone belongs to the family of medications called inhaled corticosteroids.
Albuterol sulfate is sold under the trade names – ProAir RespiClick, ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA, and Proventil HFA.
It is regarded as a quick relief solution to asthma problem and is classified as a short-acting beta-2 agonist.
Qvar is used to prevent and control symptoms caused by asthma.
It is a “PREVENTER” medicine which must be used every day even if you have no symptoms.
Albuterol is used to relieve bronchospasm in children and adults with asthma.
Also, this medicine may be used to treat or improve muscle paralysis in sufferers with a condition which causes paralysis attacks.
Mechanism of Action
Qvar prevents asthma attacks by decreasing inflammation in the lungs.
Albuterol reverses the symptoms of an acute asthma attack by dilating constricted airways.
The effects last 3 to 6 hours.
Possible side effects of Qvar include:
- white fungus on the inside of your mouth;
- nose, sinus, or throat inflammation;
- infection of the nose, throat, sinuses, and airways;
- lower bone density;
- Churg-Strauss syndrome;
- persistent cough;
- brittle bones;
- back pain;
- elevated levels of cortisol;
- painful menstrual periods;
- reduced ability of the body to produce its own steroids;
- trouble hoarseness or speaking.
Possible side effects of albuterol include:
- chest pain;
- swelling of the face, lips, eyes, throat, tongue, hands, ankles, feet, or lower legs;
- shaking of a part of the body;
- worsened breathing;
- difficulty swallowing;
- fast or irregular heartbeat;
- back pain;
- irritation in the throat.
The usual recommended dosage for Qvar is 40 to 160 mcg inhaled PO q12hr based on disease severity.
The usual recommended dosage for albuterol is 2 inhalations every 4 to 6 hours.
Note – before using any of the products containing albuterol, you have to prime the inhaler.
Warnings & Precautions
Do not use this inhaler:
- if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering;
- after the expiry date on the canister;
- to treat an acute asthma attack;
- if you are allergic to any of the other ingredients of this inhaler.
More importantly, this medicine may cause weak bones with long-term use.
To make sure that this inhaler is safe for you, tell your healthcare professional if you have:
- congestive heart failure;
- overactive thyroid;
- high blood pressure;
- low levels of potassium in your blood;
- heart disease;
- a seizure disorder;
- a heart rhythm disorder.
Qvar may interact in a negative way with the following medications:
- Symbicort (a medication used in the management of asthma);
Albuterol may interact in a negative way with the following medications:
- trimipramine (Surmontil);
- propranolol (Inderal);
- Epinephrine (Primatene Mist);
- selegiline (Emsam);
- nadolol (Corgard);
- phenelzine (Nardil);
- metoprolol (Toprol XL);
- isocarboxazid (Marplan);
- labetalol (Normodyne);
- protriptyline (Vivactil);
- Digoxin (Lanoxin);
- nortriptyline (Pamelor);
- levalbuterol (Xopenex);
- imipramine (Tofranil);
- metaproterenol (Alupent);
- doxepin (Sinequan);
- desipramine (Norpramin);
- clomipramine (Anafranil);
- amoxapine (Asendin);
- amitriptyline (Elavil).
You can usually drink alcohol while using a steroid inhaler.
Is It Safe During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding?
It’s unclear what effect these steroid inhalers have on nursing babies, so talk to your doctor before using these drugs if you’re breastfeeding.
There isn’t enough data to know what effect these steroid inhalers may have on a pregnant woman’s unborn child.
Qvar vs Albuterol – Differences
Qvar (beclomethasone) is a medication that belongs to a family of drugs known as corticosteroids that help to reduce inflammatory responses in the human body which cause asthma attacks.
It is usually prescribed as a maintenance medication to be taken on a daily basis to help prevent asthma flare-ups. Do not use it to treat an asthma attack.
Albuterol (trade names – Ventolin HFA, ProAir RespiClick, ProAir HFA, and Proventil HFA) is a bronchodilator which relaxes muscles in the airways and increases air flow to the lungs.
It is considered a drug of choice for reversal of acute bronchospasm and is the most commonly prescribed inhaled beta-2 agonist.
According to a 2016 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial that involved 5- to 18-year-old suferrers with mild persistent asthma, linear growth was measured in 2 groups – one group receiving albuterol and the other group receiving beclomethasone plus albuterol.
The linear growth was 1.1 cm less in both groups and there was no significant difference seen in the albuterol + beclomethasone group versus the beclomethasone only group.
In conclusion, inhaled steroids that control the underlying inflammation of asthma (like – beclomethasone) are taken every day, whereas albuterol is used to treat the immediate symptoms of asthma as needed.