Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Asthma flare-ups: Talk to your doctor and make sure you know what to do if you have an asthma flare-up. This is sometimes referred to as an "asthma action plan." Knowing how to adjust your medication in response to an acute worsening of asthma is an important safety measure.
Medical conditions: If you have high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, thyroid problems, or epilepsy (seizures), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Monitoring asthma: Talk to your doctor about ways for you to monitor your asthma at home, such as a peak flow meter. Peak flow metres measure the amount of air you can expel in a short time and can help you identify when your asthma might be flaring up even before you begin to experience symptoms.
Prevention only: Salmeterol should not be used to treat acute symptoms (as a "rescue" medication). It is meant for prevention purposes only. Salmeterol should be taken along with other medications called inhaled corticosteroids. Short-acting medications such as salbutamol, terbutaline, or fenoterol are required for relief of breathing symptoms as instructed by your doctor and should be available at all times.
Worsening symptoms: If you find you need to use your short-acting ("rescue") inhaler more often or if your condition seems to worsen, call your doctor. If you have not been given instructions beforehand, contact your doctor immediately about what to do if any of the following situations occur (they may be signs of seriously worsening asthma):
- decreased effectiveness of short-acting, inhaled bronchodilators such as salbutamol, terbutaline, or fenoterol (less than 4 hours of relief)
- need for more inhalations than usual of short-acting, inhaled bronchodilators
- peak flow meter showing results in the below-normal range
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if salmeterol passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using salmeterol have not been established for children younger than 4 years of age.