Beclomethasone dipropionate

Some of the views expressed in the following notes on newly approved products should be regarded as preliminary, as there may have been limited published data at the time of publication, and little experience in Australia of their safety or efficacy. However, the Editorial Executive Committee believes that comments made in good faith at an early stage may still be of value. Before new drugs are prescribed, the Committee believes it is important that more detailed information is obtained from the manufacturer's approved product information, a drug information centre or some other appropriate source.

Qvar (3M Pharmaceuticals)

inhaler and autohaler delivering 50 microgram or 100 microgram per inhalation

Approved indication: asthma prophylaxis

Australian Medicines Handbook Section 19.2

This new formulation delivers beclomethasone dipropionate using a propellant which does not contain chlorofluorocarbons. In addition, the beclomethasone is in solution rather than in suspension. As a result, this formulation produces much smaller droplets than the particles produced by conventional inhalers. This results in a bigger dose being deposited in the lungs.

Lower doses of this formulation are needed to produce the same effects as a conventional inhaler. A patient currently inhaling a total daily dose of400 microgram of beclomethasone will probably need only 200 microgram of the new formulation. As the delivery devices only provide half the dose per inhalation as that delivered by conventional puffers, a patient will take the same number of puffs as they currently do with inhalers delivering 100 microgram per inhalation.