In an effort to compete with the popular asthma medication Advair, Teva Pharmaceuticals announced their simultaneous release of the dry powder inhaler AirDuo RespiClick, and its authorized generic fluticasone/salmeterol. Although manufacturers don’t typically release both the brand and the generic simultaneously, this is big news, as fluticasone/salmeterol is the first and only combination inhaler!
AirDuo and its authorized generic are both indicated for the treatment of asthma in patients 12 years of age and older. Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways becomes inflamed, narrow, swollen, and filled with mucus. Signs and symptoms of asthma can include wheezing, shortness of breath, cough and chest tightness. Asthma is considered a reversible airway disease meaning that the problems can generally be solved with treatment.
Both of these inhalers are considered maintenance or controller inhalers, so they must be used consistently to help your breathing and prevent asthma flare-ups.
What is an authorized generic?
According to the FDA, an authorized generic “is most commonly used to describe an approved brand-name drug that is marketed as a generic product, without the brand name on its label.”
An authorized generic is the exact same drug as the branded product, yet in most cases, the generic is significantly cheaper than the brand product. In this case, generic fluticasone/salmeterol is the exact same as AirDuo RespiClick.
Why were the brand and the generic released simultaneously?
Teva Pharmaceuticals released both the brand and the generic at the same time to address the need for more affordable asthma treatment options in the United States.
In a press release, Teva discussed their decision to release both Airduo RespiClick and its authorized generic. The President and CEO of Global Specialty Medicines at Teva Discussed that their “intent is to meet the needs of patients, providers, and payers in the U.S. seeking greater access to lower-cost asthma inhaler technology, while also allowing Teva to compete in the highly competitive asthma combination controller market.”
How should you use a drug powder inhaler?
AirDuo RespiClick and fluticasone/salmeterol will be available as a dry powder inhaler in strengths of 55 mcg/14 mcg, 113 mcg/14 mcg, and 232 mcg/14 mcg. Regardless of your strength, you should be taking one inhalation twice daily.
Dry powder inhalers are different from typical inhalers that require hand-breath coordination, like aerosol inhalers. When using a dry powder inhaler, it is important to breathe in quickly and deeply through your mouth to deliver the dose of medicine to your lungs.
Make sure that you rinse your mouth with water, and spit, after using these inhalers to prevent thrush, a fungal infection in the mouth. AirDuo and its authorized generic must be disposed of 30 days after removal from the foil pouch, and should not be used with a spacer or holding chamber device.
The most common side effects include headache, cough, thrush, back pain or the common cold.
Are there any other medications similar to AurDuo RespiClick and fluticasone/salmeterol?
Yes. Advair Diskus, Advair HFA, Dulera, and Symbicort are examples of other similar controller inhalers. These medications can be very expensive, especially since they are not available as a generic yet.
If you are currently using any of these inhalers and would like to switch to AirDuo RespiClick or its authorized generic, be sure to speak with your doctor.