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What’s the Difference? Flovent HFA vs Flovent Diskus

by The GoodRx Pharmacist on June 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus can be tough to tell apart, with similar names and the same active ingredient. However, although both types of Flovent inhaler treat asthma, they are available in different strengths and most importantly, are used differently.

What type of medication is Flovent?

Flovent (in both the HFA and Diskus forms) is a corticosteroid.

How does a corticosteroid work for asthma?

When inhaled, corticosteroids decrease inflammation and swelling within the airways.

Is Flovent considered a rescue or maintenance inhaler?
Flovent HFA and Diskus are both maintenance inhalers. Maintenance inhalers help to control your asthma symptoms before they even start. Your asthma is better controlled and you are able to breathe easier when you use your maintenance inhaler(s) properly.

Can I skip my maintenance inhaler dose if my breathing is okay?

NO. Maintenance inhalers need to be used as prescribed on a daily basis even if you do not have trouble breathing that day.

How long will it take for Flovent to begin working?

Flovent (from either type of inhaler) can take 2 weeks or longer before you may notice an improvement of your asthma.

In what strengths are Flovent HFA and Flovent Diskus available?
Flovent HFA is available in 44 mcg, 110mcg, and 220 mcg inhalation strengths. Flovent Diskus is available in 50 mcg, 100 mcg, and 250 mcg inhalation strengths.

What is different about how the medication is delivered with the Flovent HFA versus the Diskus inhaler?
Flovent HFA is an inhalation aerosol, which means that the inhaler uses a propellant or mechanism to help disperse the medication so that the liquid particles make it into your lungs.

Flovent Diskus, on the other hand, is a powder for inhalation and does not use a propellant to get the medication into your lungs. The Diskus inhaler relies on your ability to inhale the powder medication in order for it to be dispersed properly.

What are of the advantages of using Flovent HFA?
Flovent HFA is a more traditional inhaler, which could be a plus if you’re already familiar with how to use one. It can also be used with a spacer if you need or prefer one, where Flovent Diskus cannot.

What are the disadvantages of using Flovent HFA?
Flovent HFA may also have some of the difficulties associated with a traditional inhaler—particularly because it requires hand-breath coordination. This technique can be troublesome for a new asthma patient when trying to use an inhaler.

If you are concerned about using your inhaler correctly, please reference the Flovent HFA website for guidance. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further instructions if it still isn’t clear.

What are the advantages of using Flovent Diskus?
Flovent Diskus doesn’t need to be primed before use, or after a long time between uses. Also, the hand-breath coordination required for traditional inhalers like Flovent HFA isn’t necessary–you don’t have to be able to depress the canister and inhale at the same time with the Diskus, since your breath is doing the work to pull the medication into your lungs, rather than a propellant from the inhaler.

What are the disadvantages of using Flovent Diskus?

Once you take the Flovent Diskus inhaler out of the foil package, you must use it within 6 weeks to 2 months depending on the strength. It can’t be used with a spacer, while Flovent HFA can. If you’re used to a traditional inhaler, using the Diskus may be challenging initially.

If you are concerned about using your inhaler correctly, please reference the Flovent Diskus website for guidance. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further instructions if it still isn’t clear.

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