Arnuity Ellipta: How Much Does It Cost?
Dr. Angel Rivera
Approximately 25 million Americans, or about one out of every 13 people, suffers from asthma. In 2017 alone, more than 11.4 million people had one or more asthma episodes or attacks, so researchers are hard at work identifying preventative and rescue treatment options for this serious condition. Asthma has consistently been on the rise since the 1980s and is the most common chronic disease among children, with all genders, races, and age groups reporting higher incidences of the condition over the past several decades.
The cause of the steadily rising rates of asthma is unknown, but it may be linked to the increasing incidence of allergies in the United States. Asthma can be relatively mild or serious and potentially deadly, so the types of treatments available vary accordingly. Prescriptions like Arnuity Ellipta are intended to help prevent asthma attacks, while rescue inhalers like albuterol are intended for use in the midst of sudden asthma symptoms. Arnuity Ellipta is a relatively new medication that can help people with asthma manage their condition and minimize an attack.
Arnuity Ellipta is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs called corticosteroids. Arnuity Ellipta is primarily used for the prevention of asthma attacks in people with chronic asthma who regularly experience symptoms. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved the medication for use 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 should be stored at room temperature in a dry place out of the reach of children.
Corticosteroids like Arnuity Ellipta and its active ingredient, fluticasone, are used to treat many different types of inflammation, and fluticasone specifically is used to treat inflammation in the airways and nasal passages. It is common for people who suffer from allergic rhinitis to use fluticasone propionate for the treatment of allergy symptoms and to reduce inflammation in the nasal passages, while fluticasone furoate, the active ingredient in Arnuity Ellipta, is used for the prevention of asthma symptoms. By reducing inflammation in the nasal passages and airways, fluticasone makes it easier to breathe during an asthma attack or the onset of allergy symptoms.
What Conditions is Arnuity Ellipta Used to Treat?
Arnuity Ellipta is a preventative medication used by people who regularly suffer from asthma. Asthma is a chronic condition in which the air passages narrow as a result of inflammation, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma is often accompanied by excess mucus production, which makes it more difficult to breathe. The condition occurs on a spectrum, so some people experience only mild asthma on an infrequent basis, while others have a severe, life-threatening form of asthma that impacts their daily lives.
Throughout the course of a patient’s life, the severity of their asthma may change depending on a number of factors. In order to diagnose asthma, most healthcare professionals will have the patient undergo a physical exam, lung function tests, and a chest or sinus x-ray. There are many different triggers for asthma attacks, some of which are environmental, including extreme weather changes, exercise, smoke, chemicals, pollen, dust mites, and stress. Each person with asthma has different triggers, and avoiding triggers is an important part of any asthma management plan. Symptoms of asthma include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest tightness, and it can cause a medical emergency.
How Does Arnuity Ellipta Work?
Inhaled corticosteroids like Arnuity Ellipta help prevent asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation in the airways, which makes it easier to breathe. It is common for people with asthma to have inflammation in their airways, which causes the airway to narrow and makes it more sensitive than normal, which causes difficulty breathing. It is not known exactly how corticosteroids like Arnuity Ellipta work to prevent asthma besides reducing inflammation.
How is Arnuity Ellipta Used?
There are three different strengths of Arnuity Ellipta, and your doctor will prescribe the appropriate starting dose for you based on your asthma severity and the disease severity of medical conditions you may have, most commonly 100 mcg. Arnuity Ellipta is a daily dose of oral corticosteroid to help prevent asthma attacks with long term use, and does not function as a rescue medication or bronchodilator for the relief of acute bronchospasm or other asthma attack.
Patients should take one oral inhalation dose each day, and should take their dose immediately upon remembering if they happen to miss a dose. However, Arnuity Ellipta should only be taken once per day. The manufacturer recommends rinsing your mouth with water right after you use Arnuity Ellipta in order to reduce the chance of developing a yeast infection in the mouth, which is a possible side effect of the medication.
Arnuity Ellipta does not work quickly enough to provide relief during an emergency. Arnuity Ellipta is in inhalation powder form that is preloaded into 30 blister packs in each inhaler device. Each time the Ellipta inhaler is used, a new blister pack is loaded and opened, providing the next dose of medication.
How Much Does Arnuity Ellipta Cost?
Arnuity Ellipta was only approved by the FDA in 2014 and has been on the market just a few years, which means that the manufacturer’s exclusive patent on the drug has not yet expired. As a result, no generic versions of the medication are available, which drives the price of Arnuity Ellipta up. Arnuity Ellipta is available in recommended doses of 50 mcg, 100 mcg, and 200 mcg strengths, but the most common strength is 100 mcg.
One inhaler of Arnuity Ellipta includes thirty blisters of 100 mg and costs approximately 192 dollars currently, which represents a one month supply. Because Arnuity Ellipta is a brand name medication and is relatively new to the market, it may not receive coverage from all commercial insurance companies. Regardless of their insurance status or coverage, patients can receive savings on Arnuity Ellipta by using a pharmacy discount card, which provides savings on all FDA-approved medications, including both brand name and generic drugs.
What Risks are Associated With Arnuity Ellipta?
Arnuity Ellipta is not right for everyone, and use of the asthma control medication can have risks that are more likely to occur depending on your medical history. Use of Arnuity Ellipta for prophylactic therapy does carry some risks, and the medication is not right for everyone. Arnuity Ellipta is a prescription drug for asthma, but it does not function as a rescue inhaler and should not be used for the sudden onset of asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. If you have a severe allergy to milk proteins, you may experience an allergic reaction to Arnuity Ellipta. Additionally, people who are allergic to fluticasone furoate or any other ingredients in Arnuity Ellipta should not take the medication. Be sure to give your doctor a complete medical history prior to taking Arnuity Ellipta so they can provide appropriate medical advice, particularly if you meet any of the following criteria:
- Have liver problems
- Are exposed to chickenpox or measles
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding, as the drug can pass into breast milk
- Have eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, increased pressure in the eye, or other changes in vision
- Have an immune system problem or are immunocompromised
- Are allergic to milk proteins
- Have weak bones (osteoporosis)
- Have any type of viral, fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infection
- Have ocular herpes simplex
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
Uncommonly, Arnuity Ellipta can cause serious side effects that require medical attention, including allergic reactions and infections. Serious side effects of Arnuity Ellipta that may require medical attention include:
- Fungal infection/candidiasis in the mouth or throat (thrush)
- Bone thinning or bone mineral density decrease (osteoporosis)
- Serious allergic reactions to the medication or its ingredients, as evidenced by:
- Swelling of the face, tongue, or mouth
- Breathing problems
- Sudden breathing problems immediately after inhaling the medication
- Slow growth in children and adolescents
- Weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to infections (immunosuppression)
- Reduced adrenal function or adrenal insufficiency syndrome, as evidenced by:
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Lack of energy
- Feelings of exhaustion
- Eye problems, including:
- Increased pressure in the eye
- Changes in vision
- Back pain
What Drugs Does Arnuity Ellipta Interact With?
Arnuity Ellipta doesn’t have an extensive list of drug interactions associated with the medication, but it’s always important to check the list of drug interactions for any medications that you may be taking. Drug interactions can cause Arnuity Ellipta to impact the effectiveness of other medications you may be taking and vice versa. If you have questions about potential interactions between Arnuity Ellipta and any other prescriptions, over the counter medications, or supplements that you may be taking, speak to your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Arnuity Ellipta is known to interact with the following medications: