A new fixed-dose combination inhaler has been added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Fostair® contains the corticosteroid, beclometasone and the long-acting beta2 agonist, formoterol. It is PBS-subsidised for adults who have previously had frequent episodes of asthma while receiving treatment with oral corticosteroids or optimal doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Fostair® is also approved for the symptomatic treatment of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), although this is not currently a PBS-subsidised indication.
Fostair® contains beclometasone and formoterol with an extra-fine particle size distribution. A study conducted in patients with moderate to severe asthma demonstrated that Fostair® is more effective at improving lung function than a double equipotent dosage of non-extra-fine beclometasone. In more severe asthma, studies demonstrated that Fostair® is as effective in improving lung function as the two individual components administered separately and superior to non-extra-fine beclometasone alone.
There are two approved treatment approaches for asthma: maintenance therapy and maintenance and reliever therapy. Patients taking Fostair® as maintenance therapy should have a separate rapid-acting bronchodilator to use when required for acute symptoms. For maintenance and reliever therapy, Fostair® is used both regularly for maintenance treatment and as needed in response to asthma symptoms. However, Fostair® is not PBS-subsidised for maintenance and reliever therapy.
- Department of Health. Australian Public Assessment Report for Beclometasone dipropionate/formoterol (eformoterol) fumarate dehydrate. Woden: Therapeutic Goods Administration; 2020.
- Department of Health. Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits – Summary of Changes: Effective 1 December 2020. Canberra: Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme; 2020.
- Fostair® (Beclometasone Dipropionate and Formoterol (Eformoterol) Fumarate Dihydrate) Australian approved product information. Hawthorn East: Chiesi Australia. Approved February 2020.