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What Is Indacaterol?

By Jillian O Keeffe
Updated May 17, 2024
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Indacaterol is an inhaler medicine. It is suitable for treating people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The medication requires only one dose a day because it has long-lasting effects on symptoms of COPD.

First approved by the European Union for use in 2009, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved the drug in 2011. Indacaterol is part of a group of medicines known as long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonists (LABAs). The drug comes in a capsule form, and according to the area of the world where it is approved, the recommended starting dose can range from 75-150 micrograms per day.

Each of these capsules requires an inhaler for administration. Specific inhalers for the drug are necessary, because other inhalers might not deliver the drug properly. The dose can work on the symptoms of COPD for 24 hours, so patients need to take only one dose per day. To keep symptoms under control, this dose should be taken at the same time each day. COPD symptoms are respiratory in nature, and sufferers can experience coughing and wheezing when the muscles in the lungs become abnormally tight.

This drug works to ease the tightness of the muscles and make breathing easier. In contrast with indacaterol, most other LABA medications require two doses per day to be effective. Although the medication works to ease breathing in people who have COPD, it is not suitable for asthma sufferers.

Possible side effects of indacaterol include effects on the respiratory system such as coughing, runny nose or an irritated throat. Nausea or headaches also are common side effects. More dangerous side effects include circulatory symptoms such as a rise in blood pressure, an increase in heart rate or pain in the chest area. Blood sugar can also rise, and levels of potassium in the blood can drop.

Although this medicine generally controls respiratory issues associated with COPD, indacaterol patients should also carry an emergency inhaler containing short-acting medication. The emergency inhaler is in case they experience trouble breathing while on the drug, because indacaterol will not act quickly enough to ease the breathing issues. It also is not safe to take more than one dose of indacaterol per day.

This indacaterol form of COPD medication might not be suitable for certain groups of people. These include pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as people who have thyroid issues or who suffer from diabetes. Circulatory problems such as raised blood pressure or cardiac disease can also make the drug unsuitable, as can the presence of seizures.

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