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Can Asthma Drug Cause Thin Skin?

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Q. I was prescribed Advair for asthma. It worked well for my breathing problem but my skin became thin and I started bruising badly. Then I experienced horrible damage to my skin with deep gashes from a slight bump. One day I leaned on the bathroom counter and several inches of the skin on my arm peeled off.

My lung specialist insisted Advair was not responsible for thinning skin. One day I asked my pharmacist, “Have you ever seen anything like this?” She looked at my bruises and said, “It could be from taking steroids.”

She checked my meds and told me Advair contains a steroid. I spoke to my doctor but he still said it was not the medication. I switched to another clinic and got a different asthma medicine, Serevent. My health care provider, a nurse practitioner, told me she had seen a few others whose skin reacted as mine did. After several weeks off Advair, my skin returned to normal and I no longer have bruises or serious gashes.

A. We’re surprised the specialist you consulted was unaware that Advair can affect the skin. The official prescribing information lists bruising and wounds as potential adverse reactions.

The steroid in the asthma inhalers Advair and Flovent is fluticasone. Although not as risky as oral prednisone, there can be some systemic side effects with this drug. A higher risk of cataracts, glaucoma and pneumonia has been reported with long-term use.
 

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I too have been on advair for quite some time (years) and have experienced similar problems to the point of being quite disfigured. Eventually these areas will clear up only to do it again the next time I bump my arms.

I have been taking Advair 550/50 for three plus years. I bruise very easily but never connected it to my asthma inhaler. I have asked my doctor why I bruise so easily and he told me nothing about the possibility of the steroids in my inhaler could cause them. I have an appointment tomorrow and will show him this article.

While uncommon, inhaled corticosteroids can cause bruising. The drug that you've been switched to, Serevent, should not be used alone for the treatment of asthma--it should only be used in conjunction with an inhaled corticosteroid. While Serevent will control your symptoms, it will not address the underlying inflammation in your lungs. Not knowing what dose of Advair you were on or the severity/control of your asthma, I would suggest discussing the possibility of going back onto a low dose inhaled corticosteroid.

t.e. PharmD

In my late 60's, I have had problems with thin skin and severe bruising for some years. My skin is like that of a 90 yr. old. Have asked my family dr., my pulmonary dr., my dermatologist and my hemotologist (I have polycythemia) what could be the cause. Having mild asthma, I have been on a variety of inhalers over the past 10 yrs. These include Advair, Asmacort, and am now on Symbicort. The column you printed some weeks ago from the person with my same condition was the FIRST time anyone had ever told me that steroid inhalers could cause this problem. I am printing that column and taking it to my pulmonary dr. the next visit.
Thank you so much for the awakening!

My husband has been on steroid inhalers for over 20 years, currently serevent. He has very thin skin and in the last few weeks has had two major gashes on his legs, the last requiring 8 stitches. On both occasions his trousers were intact so I think on normal skin this events would have been just a bruise. Is there anything he can do? He is a keen cyclist and I'm worried. I am seriously wondering if we should be getting him some motor bike leathers for his push bike but maybe they'll be too heavy?

I don't know if this forum is still active, but I'd like to weigh in with my own experience. I've had asthma due to allergies, made worse by GERD symptoms. I've now had a Nissen Fundoplication to take care of the GERD, but my allergies are still creating problems for me. My skin is that of a 90 year old (I'm 57), and I have many ugly bruises. I just got off a week dose of oral prednosone due to tree pollen issues, and just that week created thinning skin, and I have two bad tears on my hand.

I was on Flovent 220mcg 4puffs twice a day for a year (my asthma doc prescribed this--my GERD had thrown my asthma into chronic mode), and that's when the problem occurred. My family doc reduced my dose due to symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, and my skin had gotten better. My asthma took a dive a couple weeks ago, which required antibiotic and prednosone to get back on track.

I'm glad to find a place where others are experiencing similar problems. I'm hoping that after the allergy season, I can work my way back to Flovent 110mcg, which I was on before my asthma symptoms increased. Hopefully with the GERD under control things will improve. I hate what the steroids are doing to my outside, and am fearful of what they're doing to my organs.
Thanks to all.

I am making inquiries similar to those above. A friend mentioned in passing that steroids in my inhalers could be responsible for bruising and tearing on my arms and legs following the slightest knock' even bracelets make purplish marks. I have recently been diagnosed with broncecstasis and am taking a permanent cycle of antibiotics. My consultant agreed to lower the inhaler dose and even agreed a trial stop. What experience is there of skin improvement once inhaler use is reduced? Are there any supplements to assist this, or particular foods? HELP.

I thought taking a baby aspirin each day was causing my blue bruising on my hands and arms. Is it the inhalers that are causing it instead? I have COPD and take spireva, foradil and symbicort. My dermatologist had suggested I take grapeseed extract to combat the blue bruising but that has not helped at all.

Advair is a combination of Serevent and Flovent. I'm surprised you don't know this. It's the Flovent that causes the thin skin and bruising. My doctor didn't believe it either so I kept changing doctors until I found one who did agree with me. I am now on Spiriva which has far fewer side effects and my skin is beginning to go back to normal. Mouth is a little dryer but a big improvement over the lesions and bruising.

About 9 days ago, my doctor prescribed Advair for bronchitis. Today, my husband noticed that I had blood running down my arm, although I hadn't realized I had even bumped it. I had a dark area of bleeding under the skin, next to a smaller area where the skin appears to have rubbed off- the latter area was bleeding externally. Since I haven't had thinning skin and the only thing different is my using Advair, I suspected a connection. I am very glad I found this article.

Does anyone know if naprosyn or ibuprofen can cause thinning skin?

Hi,
I have been on Advair for about 7-8 years. Yesterday, my skin tore on something I rubbed it on. It kind of ripped like tissue paper and surprised me. The bruising has been going on for years since I have taken this medication. Perhaps it's time to switch.

Taken Advair Inh for 8-9 years Have the unexplained bruises on arms and legs. Difficult to get rid of them. Feel like 500/50 a dose is Too High. Comments?

10-4-13 -- I was put on the Qvar steroid inhaler in 1998, and was told nothing about the terrible side effects on skin which started appearing in 2010. None of my friends in their 70s and 80s have this kind of bruising and tearing skin, so I know it's not from age. Doctors have tried to give me Advair and Flovent and Serevent and Ciprofloxacin, but they all have Black Box warnings so I refused, much to their annoyance. I always look up these drugs online now before I accept them. I stopped using Serevent, and took amoxycillin instead of cipro which worked fine. I still have to use the Qvar (the oldest and relatively safest I believe), and a nebulizer with ipratropium bromide/albuterol, and plain albuterol for a rescue inhaler. This combo gives me good asthma control and everything else seems good except for the skin problem. I suspect that older people are often used to test new drugs, but it's shocking that steroids are also given to young children. It is sad that U.S. residents are denied the generic equivalents of medications available overseas. I am outraged by the practices of the U.S. medical and pharmaceutical organizations, as much as they are outraged when people dare to question them.

I was only using xopenex for my asthma but was using too much. Then my Doc recommended Symbicort 160/4.5, 2 puffs 2 x per day. Being very sensitive to drugs of any kind I asked for the lowest dose 80/4.5. I take 1 puff 2 x per day and now cutting back to 1 puff before bedtime as I don't want to take this drug forever.

I feel that my skin is thinner. What else can I take for asthma? It really helps me breath and I never need a rescue inhaler so that is good, but I don't want to ruin my eyes and skin, Any suggestions on what is better? Preferably natural?

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