Last reviewed 01/2018

Salmeterol is a long-acting beta-2 agonist which is used in the treatment of asthma as an adjunct to inhaled corticosteroids.

The long-lasting action of salmeterol means that it may be taken regularly, twice per day; it is not effective for the relief of an acute asthma attack.


  • clinicians should continue to be aware of the possible risks associated with the long-term use of long-acting beta2 agonists (LABAs, i.e. salmeterol and formoterol)
    • should be used only in conjunction with inhaled corticosteroids
  • for the management of chronic asthma, LABAs should:
    • be added only if regular use of standard-dose inhaled corticosteroids has failed to control asthma adequately;
    • not be initiated in patients with rapidly deteriorating asthma;
    • be introduced at a low dose and the effect properly monitored before considering dose increase;
    • be discontinued in the absence of benefit;
    • be reviewed as clinically appropriate: stepping down therapy should be considered when good long-term asthma control has been achieved