Arnuity Ellipta: What is it and How is it Used?
Asthma is an incredibly common condition, affecting about one out of every 13 people, or approximately 25 million Americans. The condition is so common, in fact, that it is the leading chronic disease among children and has consistently been on the rise since the 1980s across all genders, races, and age groups. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why asthma rates have been increasing steadily for decades, but it may go hand in hand with the increasing incidence of allergies in the United States.
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 7.7 percent of adults and 8.4 percent of children in the United States have asthma. Although some people have mild forms of asthma and don’t often experience asthma attacks, the condition can be serious and even deadly when it presents in a severe form.
More than 11.4 million people had one or more asthma episodes or attacks in 2017, so identifying both preventative and rescue treatment options is critical. Some patients are able to manage their asthma through the use of over the counter medications, while others need prescriptions like Arnuity Ellipta to help prevent asthma attacks and a rescue inhaler to use in the event that an attack does occur.
People with serious or life-threatening asthma are more likely to rely on emergency or rescue inhalers for help during an attack, but other inhalers exist with the goal of preventatively keeping the airways open and avoiding an attack. Arnuity Ellipta is a preventative inhaler that can help people with asthma manage their condition and minimize an attack.
What is Arnuity Ellipta?
Arnuity Ellipta is a prescription medication that is used for the prevention of asthma attacks. The medication was first approved for the treatment of asthma by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2014, when it became available by prescription. Arnuity Ellipta is approved for the once-daily maintenance treatment of asthma in patients ages five and older.
Arnuity Ellipta and its active ingredient, fluticasone, belong to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. Corticosteroids are used to treat many different types of inflammation, and fluticasone specifically is used to treat inflammation in the airways and nasal passages. Many people use fluticasone propionate for the treatment of allergy symptoms, while fluticasone furoate, the active ingredient in Arnuity Ellipta, is used for the prevention of asthma symptoms. Corticosteroids help reduce inflammation in the nasal passages and airways, which makes breathing easier during an asthma attack or the onset of allergy symptoms.
What Conditions is Arnuity Ellipta Used to Treat?
Arnuity Ellipta is used to prevent symptoms of asthma in those who suffer from the condition on a regular basis. Asthma is a chronic disease that causes the air passages to narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma often causes inflammation in the airways, which furthers the narrowing, and excess mucus production is also likely to occur. Some people experience only mild asthma on an infrequent basis, while others have a severe, life-threatening form of the condition that impacts their daily lives.
The severity of asthma can also fluctuate over time. Asthma is commonly diagnosed through a physical exam, lung function tests, and a chest or sinus x-ray performed on individuals who may be experiencing the condition. Asthma attacks can be triggered by many different irritants, including pollen, extreme weather changes, chemicals, dust mites, exercise, smoke, and stress, and the triggers that cause an asthma attack are different for each person. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness, and it can cause a medical emergency.
How Does Arnuity Ellipta Work?
Arnuity Ellipta is an inhaled corticosteroid medicine that can help to prevent symptoms of asthma. Inhaled corticosteroids like Arnuity Ellipta reduce inflammation in the airways, making it easier to breathe. People with asthma often have inflammation in their airways, which can make the airway narrower and more sensitive than normal, making breathing a challenge. It is not known exactly how corticosteroids like Arnuity Ellipta work to prevent asthma besides reducing inflammation, but the medication offers a preventative option for people suffering from the condition.
How is Arnuity Ellipta Used?
Arnuity Ellipta is a preventative medicine that is designed for asthma control with a daily dose from an inhaler. The oral corticosteroid inhaler is for daily, long-term use, and is not intended for use as a rescue medication during an asthma attack, as it will not work quickly enough to provide relief in an emergency. The medication itself actually comes in oral inhalation powder form in blister packs that are preloaded into the inhaler device. Each time you use Arnuity Ellipta inhaler, a new blister pack is loaded and opened, providing the next dose.
There are three different strengths of Arnuity Ellipta, and your doctor will prescribe the appropriate starting dose for you based on your symptoms, asthma severity, and other medical conditions you may have and their disease severity, with the most commonly recommended dose being 100 mcg. Arnuity Ellipta should be stored in a dry place at room temperature out of the reach of children, and inhaled only once per day, and if you forget to take your dose, it is recommended to take it as soon as you remember.
After using the inhaler, the manufacturer recommends rinsing your mouth with water in order to reduce the chance of developing a yeast infection in the mouth. If after using the inhaler you experience a bronchospasm, you can use a short-acting bronchodilator for relief of acute bronchospasm.
Because Arnuity Ellipta is a relatively new prophylactic therapy to the market, there are no generic versions of the medication available. As a result, prices are higher than they might otherwise be if a generic competitor was released. The medication is available in three different strengths, but the most common strength is 100 mg. Thirty blisters of 100 mg, which comes in the form of an inhaler, costs approximately 192 dollars currently, which represents a one month supply. Some commercial insurance companies offer coverage for Arnuity Ellipta, but others may not. Patients can receive savings on Arnuity Ellipta regardless of their insured status by using a pharmacy discount card, which provides savings on all FDA-approved medications regardless of your insured status. Brand name and generic drugs are all included, so you can go to the pharmacy counter with confidence knowing that you can save on your Arnuity Ellipta prescription.
What Risks are Associated With Arnuity Ellipta?
Use of Arnuity Ellipta does carry some risks, and the medication is not right for everyone. Although Arnuity Ellipta is an asthma medication, it should not be used to treat sudden symptoms of asthma, as it does not function as a rescue inhaler. People with a severe allergy to milk proteins also should not take Arnuity Ellipta, and people who are allergic to fluticasone furoate or any other ingredients in Arnuity Ellipta should not take the medication. It’s important to give your doctor a complete medical history prior to using Arnuity Ellipta, particularly if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Have liver problems
- Have an immune system problem or are immunocompromised
- Are allergic to milk proteins
- Are exposed to chickenpox or measles
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have weak bones (osteoporosis)
- Have eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, increased pressure in the eye, or other changes in vision
- Have any type of viral, fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infection
What Side Effects are Associated With Arnuity Ellipta?
Both common and serious side effects are associated with Arnuity Ellipta. When experiencing side effects, most people will experience common side effects of the medication that do not require medical attention, including:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Breathing problems (bronchitis)
- Upper respiratory tract infection
Rarely, Arnuity Ellipta causes serious side effects that require medical attention, including allergic reactions and infections. Serious side effects of Arnuity Ellipta that may require medical advice or attention include:
- Fungal infection (usually candidiasis) in the mouth or throat (thrush)
- Reduced adrenal function or adrenal insufficiency syndrome, as evidenced by:
- Feelings of exhaustion
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Lack of energy
- Serious allergic reactions to the medication or its ingredients, as evidenced by:
- Swelling of the face, tongue, or mouth
- Breathing problems
- Slow growth in children and adolescents
- Weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to infections (immunosuppression)
- Sudden breathing problems immediately after inhaling the medication
- Bone thinning or decreased bone mineral density (osteoporosis) and back pain
- Eye problems, including:
- Increased pressure in the eye
- Changes in vision
What Drugs Does Arnuity Ellipta Interact With?
Arnuity Ellipta doesn’t interact with many prescription medications, but all patients should check the list of drug interactions for any prescription drugs they may be taking in order to ensure that using Arnuity Ellipta will not impact the effectiveness of their other medications or vice versa. Make sure to check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you have any questions about drug interactions between your current medications and Arnuity Ellipta.
Arnuity Ellipta is known to interact with the following medications:
Disease interactions include ocular herpes simplex, hepatic impairment, hyperadrenocorticism, infections, ocular toxicities, and osteoporosis.
You should also be cautious if breastfeeding as this drug may pass through to breast milk.