Formoterol: Mechanism of Action, Security, Potential Uses and Commercial Names

It has a prolonged duration of action (up to 12 h) compared to short-acting β2-agonists such as salbutamol (albuterol), which are effective for 4 to 6 h.

Formoterol (INN) or eformoterol (formerly BAN) is a long-acting β2-agonist (LABA) used in the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

It is marketed in three forms, a dry powder inhaler, a metered-dose inhaler, and an inhalation solution, under various trade names, including Stock, Atmos / Atmos Modulite, Foradil / Foradile, Oxeze / Oxis, and Perforomist.

It is also marketed in the budesonide/formoterol and mometasone/formoterol combination formulations. Do not use formoterol inhalation to treat asthma without using another medication for long-term asthma control (such as an inhaled steroid).

Long-acting beta-agonists, such as formoterol, are used as “symptom controllers” to supplement prophylactic treatment with corticosteroids.

A “calming” short-acting β2-agonist (e.g., salbutamol) is still required since long-acting beta-agonists are not recommended to treat acute asthma.

Mechanism of action

Inhaled formoterol works like other β2 agonists, causing bronchodilation by relaxing smooth airway muscles to treat asthma exacerbation. Do not take this medication by mouth or swallow while inhaling.


Place the mouthpiece or facial mask in the drug chamber. Then, connect the camera to the compressor. Put the voice in your mouth or put it on the front covering your nose and mouth. Turn on the compressor.

Use formoterol inhalation regularly to get the most benefit. Refill your prescription before your medication runs out entirely. Throw it when your capsules run out. Always use the new device provided with the medication when you refill your prescription.

Seek medical attention if you think your asthma medications do not work as well. A greater need for medication could be an early sign of a severe asthma attack. Discard all vials of formoterol solution that have not been used in 3 months.

For asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, formoterol is usually given two times a day, approximately 12 hours apart. Use dry hands when handling the capsule. Do not use additional medication to make up for the missed dose.


In November 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration. UU published a health warning alerting the public of the findings that show that the use of long-acting β2-agonists could worsen the symptoms of wheezing in some patients.

Long-acting β2-agonists include salmeterol, formoterol, bambuterol, and sustained-release oral salbutamol.

Inhaled steroids and long-acting bronchodilators are becoming widespread; Combined preparations include fluticasone/salmeterol and budesonide/formoterol.

It is not known if this medication will harm the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding a baby. Formoterol is not approved for use by people under 18 years of age.

Call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • Wheezing, choking, or other breathing problems after using this medicine.
  • Heartbeat strong or fluttering in your chest.
  • Nervousness, problems sleeping.
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms.

High blood sugar level: increased thirst or urination, hunger, dry mouth, fruity breath odor, drowsiness, dry skin, blurred vision, weight loss.

If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), the formoterol inhaler can sometimes raise your blood sugar level. Talk to your doctor about how to keep blood sugar under control.

Low potassium level: cramps in the legs, constipation, numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, or lameness.

Please do not take more of the formoterol inhaler or use it more often than you have been told. When too much of this type of drug has been taken, the deaths happen. If you are 65 or older, use the formoterol inhaler carefully.

Call your doctor for medical information about side effects, if your rescue inhaler does not work as well or if you need to use your inhaler more often. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Additional potential uses

Stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis

Formoterol can also help stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondrial dysfunction is related to many degenerative diseases, in particular neurodegenerative disorders.

Treatment for Down syndrome

Preliminary research offers the hope that formoterol is a valuable treatment for Down syndrome. In a mouse model of the disease, the drug strengthened nerve connections in the hippocampus, a brain center used for space navigation, paying attention, and forming new memories.


  • Inhaler for a powder-based on budesonide and formoterol.
  • Foradil / Foradile capsules for oral inhalation (Schering-Plow in the USA, Rest of Novartis in the world).
  • Oxeze/Oxis Turbuhaler DPI (AstraZeneca).
  • Stock (Astellas).
  • Atimos / Atimos Modulite MDI (Chiesi).
  • Perforomist inhalation solution (Mylan NV).