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Questions & Answers

Side Effects & Adverse Reactions

Particular care is needed in patients who are transferred from systemically active corticosteroids to AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol because deaths due to adrenal insufficiency have occurred in asthmatic patients during and after transfer from systemic corticosteroids to less systemically available inhaled corticosteroids. After withdrawal from systemic corticosteroids, a number of months are required for recovery of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function.

Patients who have been previously maintained on 20 mg or more per day of prednisone (or its equivalent) may be most susceptible, particularly when their systemic corticosteroids have been almost completely withdrawn. During this period of HPA suppression, patients may exhibit signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency when exposed to trauma, surgery or infections (particularly gastroenteritis) or other conditions associated with severe electrolyte loss. Although AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol may provide control of asthmatic symptoms during these episodes, in recommended doses it supplies less than the physiologic amounts of glucocorticoid systemically and does NOT provide the mineralocorticoid activity that is necessary for coping with these emergencies.

During periods of stress or a severe asthmatic attack, patients who have been withdrawn from systemic corticosteroids should be instructed to resume systemic steroids (in large doses) immediately and to contact their physician for further instruction. These patients should also be instructed to carry a warning card indicating that they may need supplementary systemic steroids during periods of stress or a severe asthma attack.

Patients requiring oral corticosteroids should be weaned slowly from systemic corticosteroid use after transferring to AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol. Lung function (FEV1 or AM PEF), beta-agonist use, and asthma symptoms should be carefully monitored during withdrawal of oral corticosteroids. In addition to monitoring asthma signs and symptoms, patients should be observed for signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency such as fatigue, lassitude, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and hypotension.

Transfer of patients from systemic corticosteroid therapy to AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol may unmask allergic conditions previously suppressed by the systemic corticosteroid therapy, e.g. rhinitis, conjunctivitis, eczema, arthritis, and eosinophilic conditions.

Patients who are on drugs that suppress the immune system are more susceptible to infections than healthy individuals. Chickenpox and measles, for example, can have a more serious or even fatal course in non-immune children or adults on corticosteroids. In such children or adults who have not had these diseases or been properly immunized, particular care should be taken to avoid exposure. How the dose, route, and duration of corticosteroid administration affects the risk of developing a disseminated infection is not known. The contribution of the underlying disease and/or prior corticosteroid treatment to the risk is also not known. If exposed to chickenpox, prophylaxis with varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG) may be indicated. If exposed to measles, prophylaxis with pooled intramuscular immunoglobulin (IG) may be indicated. (See the respective package inserts for complete VZIG and IG prescribing information.) If chickenpox develops, treatment with antiviral agents may be considered.

AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol is not a bronchodilator and is not indicated for rapid relief of bronchospasm.

As with other inhaled asthma medications, bronchospasm may occur with an immediate increase in wheezing after dosing. If bronchospasm occurs following dosing with AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol, it should be treated immediately with a fast-acting inhaled bronchodilator. Treatment with AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol should be discontinued and alternative therapy instituted.

Patients should be instructed to contact their physician immediately when episodes of asthma that are not responsive to bronchodilators occur during the course of treatment with AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol. During such episodes, patients may require therapy with systemic corticosteroids.

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Manufacturer Warnings

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FDA Labeling Changes

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AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol is indicated for the maintenance treatment of asthma as prophylactic therapy in adult and pediatric patients 6 years of age and older. AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol is also indicated for asthma patients requiring oral corticosteroid therapy, where adding AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol may reduce or eliminate the need for oral corticosteroids.

AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol is NOT indicated for the relief of acute bronchospasm.


There is currently no drug history available for this drug.

Other Information

Flunisolide hemihydrate, the active component of AEROSPANTM (flunisolide HFA, 80 mcg) Inhalation Aerosol, is a corticosteroid having the chemical name 6α-Fluoro-11β, 16α, 17, 21 –tetrahydroxylpregna-1, 4-diene-3, 20-dione cyclic-16, 17-acetal with acetone, hemihydrate and the following chemical structure:

Image from Drug Label Content

Flunisolide hemihydrate is a white to creamy white crystalline powder with a molecular weight of 443.51 and an empirical formula of C24H31O6F •½ H2O. It is soluble in acetone, ethyl alcohol and HFA-134a and practically insoluble in water.

AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol is a pressurized, metered-dose inhaler unit intended for oral inhalation only. The inhaler unit consists of a metal canister, a purple actuator, and a gray spacer. Each unit contains a 0.24 % w/w solution of flunisolide hemihydrate in 10:90 w/w ethanol:1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane (HFA 134a). After priming, each actuation delivers 139 mcg of flunisolide hemihydrate in 58 mg of solution from the canister valve and 80 mcg of flunisolide hemihydrate (equivalent to 78 mcg flunisolide) from the spacer at a flow rate of 30 L/min for 4 seconds.

Using an in-vitro method at a fixed volume of 2 L, each actuation at the beginning of canister content delivers from the spacer 76 mcg (95% of the label claim) at a flow rate of 30 L/min, 61 mcg (76% of the label claim) at a flow rate of 20 L/min, 85 mcg (106% of the label claim) at a flow rate of 40 L/min, and 96 mcg (120% of the label claim) at a flow rate of 60 L/min. The actual amount of drug delivered to the lung may depend upon patient factors, such as timing and coordination between the actuation and inspiration and the strength and duration of the inspiration. Data show that both the one- and two-actuation doses are depleted by 75% or more after waiting one second between actuation and inhalation.

The 5.1-g net weight canister provides 60 metered actuations and the 8.9-g net weight canister provides 120 metered actuations.

AEROSPAN Inhalation Aerosol should be primed before using for the first time by releasing 2 test sprays into the air away from the face. In cases where the inhaler has not been used for more than 2 weeks, the inhaler should be primed again by releasing 2 test sprays into the air away from the face.

This product does not contain chlorofluorocarbon (CFC).

Aerospan Manufacturers

  • Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
    Aerospan (Flunisolide) Aerosol, Metered [Forest Pharmaceuticals, Inc.]
  • Acton Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
    Aerospan (Flunisolide) Aerosol, Metered [Acton Pharmaceuticals, Inc.]

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