40 mcg inhaled twice daily, approximately 12 hours apart, is the recommended starting dose. For patients who do not respond adequately to 40 mcg after 2 weeks of therapy, increasing the dosage to 80 mcg twice daily may provide additional asthma control. The maximum recommended dosage is 80 mcg twice daily. The starting dosage is based on the severity of asthma, including consideration of the patients’ current control of asthma symptoms and risk of future exacerbation. Improvement in asthma symptoms can occur within 24 hours of the beginning of treatment and should be expected within the first or second week, but maximum benefit should not be expected until 3 to 4 weeks of therapy. Improvement in pulmonary function is usually apparent within 1 to 4 weeks after the start of therapy. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel defines low dose therapy as 80 to 160 mcg/day, medium dose as 161 to 320 mcg/day, and high dose therapy as more than 320 mcg/day for children ages 5 to 11 years. The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines define low dose therapy as 100 mcg/day in this age group. Titrate to the lowest effective dose once asthma stability is achieved.
Don't ignore a chronic cough — but don't panic just because your cough lingers for more than three or four weeks. Most often, the puzzle can be solved without elaborate tests, and the problem can be corrected with simple treatments. In fact, you may be able to diagnose and treat yourself, especially if postnasal drip or gastroesophageal reflux is the culprit. Even so, your doctor can also help. In most cases, it won't take much more than a stethoscope and a treatment trial or two. But if your cough is accompanied by sputum production, bloody sputum, fever, weight loss, night sweats, breathlessness, undue fatigue, or chest pain, you should consult your doctor without delay. You can expect tests ranging from sputum exams and chest x-rays to pulmonary function tests, CT scans, and bronchoscopies. In most cases, you'll get good news — and you can expect to get a treatment program that will quiet your nagging cough.