Clarification: Be aware of different potency with newly listed Qvar (beclomethasone) inhalers

Medicines

Decision

The smaller particles delivered by the newly-funded Qvar inhalers mean patients changing to this presentation will usually require lower doses.

Qvar (beclomethasone dipropionate (Extra Fine)) 50 mcg per dose and 100 mcg per dose aerosol inhalers were listed in Section B and in Part II of Section H of the Pharmaceutical Schedule from 1 September 2014.

Qvar delivers smaller particles

Qvar is designed to deliver smaller particles of beclomethasone dipropionate compared with other brands of beclomethasone inhalers, leading to greater deposition in the lower airways and less in the oropharynx.

Patients require smaller doses when using Qvar

This means patients require smaller doses of beclomethasone dipropionate when using Qvar compared with other brands of beclomethasone inhalers such as the currently listed Beclazone. These two products are not directly interchangeable.

The data sheet provides further information and a conversion table for transferring patients from their current beclomethasone inhalers to Qvar.

When prescribing Qvar:

  • Refer to the conversion table in the Qvar datasheet(external link) for guidance on daily doses.
  • Ensure that it is clear which presentation of beclomethasone inhaler you are prescribing for each patient to avoid confusion when dispensing

We are considering a change to the presentation description for Qvar that would take effect from 1 October 2014. This would make it easier to distinguish the different presentations when dispensing or prescribing Qvar.