Also called formoterol

Key points about Oxis

  • Oxis® is used to improve breathing problems caused by asthma and COPD and to prevent them from recurring.
  • It's a bronchodilator medicine which works by opening the air passages to the lungs.
  • Oxis® is also called formoterol.
  • Find out how to use it safely and possible side effects.
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Oxis® is used to improve breathing problems caused by asthma and COPD and to prevent them from recurring. It eases symptoms, eg, wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Oxis works by opening the air passages in your lungs to make breathing easier.

  • Oxis must be used every day. It's a long-acting bronchodilator, which means that it works throughout the day. It reduces your symptoms over the long term. 
  • For asthma, formoterol should be used together with other medicines called corticosteroids or preventers, eg, beclomethasone, budesonide or fluticasone.

In Aotearoa New Zealand formoterol is available as an Oxis Turbuhaler®



  • The dose of Oxis will be different for different people depending on whether you are treating asthma or COPD, the severity of your symptoms and the strength of your inhaler.
  • Always use your Oxis exactly as your doctor has told you. The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to use, how often to use it and any special instructions.

To get the most benefit, it’s important to use the correct technique. Ask your healthcare provider to explain how to use your inhaler. Even if you have been shown before, ask them to show you again how to use your inhaler if you still have any questions.

The video below provides some guidance on how to use a Turbuhaler device. The Turbuhaler is the name of the device used to deliver the medicine to your lungs and airways. There are different names for each Turbuhaler depending on the medicines inside the device.

Your Turbuhaler may be a different colour to the one in the video below. It's important to know the name and colour of your Turbuhaler, eg, Oxis®, Pulmicort®, Bricanyl® or Symbicort®.

Read more about understanding your medicines.

Video: How to use a Turbuhaler device

(Healthify He Puna Waiora, NZ & Auckland District Health Board, 2018)

Using a Turbuhaler device

  • Open: Unscrew and remove the cap. Hold the Turbuhaler upright.
  • Load the dose: Twist the base anticlockwise and then back in the other direction until you hear a click. Your Turbuhaler is now loaded with 1 dose of medicine.
  • Breathe out: Breathe out, away from the Turbuhaler. Do not blow directly into the Turbuhaler.
  • Inhale your dose: Place the mouth piece in your mouth and form a seal with your lips. Breathe in deeply. Remove the Turbuhaler and hold your breath for up to 10 seconds.
  • Close: Replace the cap and twist until it's on properly.

Cleaning and storing your Turbuhaler

Wipe the mouthpiece with a clean dry tissue. Don't wash the mouthpiece or allow it to get wet when cleaning. Keep the cap on when you're not using it. The device may clog if exhaled or dribbled into or if it's stored in an area of high humidity with the cap off or unsealed.

When to start a new Turbuhaler

There is a window under the mouthpiece on the outside of the turbuhaler called a dose indicator window. When it turns red it's time to get a new Turbuhaler. 

Here are some things to know when you're taking Oxis. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you should know about.

  • Keep using your inhaler every day. Don’t stop using it, even if you feel better. Since asthma and COPD are long-term conditions, prevention with formoterol is ongoing and it will need to be used every day for months or years.
  • Try to use your inhaler at the same time each day, to help you to remember to use it regularly.
  • Missed dose: If you miss a regular dose, you can take it as soon as you remember. But if it’s nearly time for your next dose, just take your next dose at the right time.
  • Tell your doctor if your breathing is no longer controlled with Oxis.

Like all medicines Oxis can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Trembling or shakiness
  • These are quite common when you first start using Oxis, and usually go away with time.
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you.
  • A different taste in your mouth
  • Problems sleeping
  • These are not common.
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you.
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in your chest
  • Fainting
  • These are not common.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.
  • Sudden worsening of breathing problems 
  • Feeling nervous, restless, agitated
  • These are rare.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.


Read more about medicines and side effects and reporting a reaction you think might be a side effect

Oxis Turbuhaler(external link) Medsafe Consumer Information Sheets
Formoterol(external link) New Zealand Formulary Patient Information


  1. Formoterol fumarate dihydrate(external link) New Zealand Formulary

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Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist, Healthify He Puna Waiora. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Stephanie Yee, Pharmacist, Auckland

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