Breo Ellipta vs. Trelegy Ellipta

Authored by The Rx Advocates, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS


Breo Ellipta and Trelegy Ellipta are two medications available for people to treat the symptoms associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, commonly referred to as COPD.

While both of these prescriptions are used to treat the same disease, there are similarities and some differences between these medications.

Symptoms of COPD include difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and coughing up mucus. Those who suffer from this disorder can experience flare-ups. Flare-ups cause usual symptoms of COPD to become much worse. These can last for days or even weeks.

When flare-ups occur, it is necessary to treat them. Treatments can include steroids and antibiotics. Some patients even need to go into the hospital for round-the-clock care.

Both Breo Ellipta and Trelegy Ellipta medications have been shown to be effective in relaxing the muscles in the airways to improve breathing and help reduce flare-ups. However, the differences in these medications are important. Patients should discuss these with their doctor to decide which is the proper medication for their personal health needs.

What is Breo Ellipta? 

Breo Ellipta (Breo) is a once-daily medication used to treat various respiratory issues, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Breo is not a rescue inhaler and should not be used in case of a sudden breathing problem.

Breo was FDA approved for usage in May 2013. It is meant to be a long-term use prescription medication, and it can work for up to 24 hours when used regularly.

This medication is a dry powder inhaler that is inhaled through the mouth. The dosage amounts are pre-measured in the Breo unit and opening the cap of the medication and hearing a click ensures the proper dosage each time. Breo is a once-daily medication and should not be used more often than prescribed.

The Side Effects of Breo Ellipta

It is important to understand the side effects of medications. Breo Ellipta has some side effects that range from minor to very serious. Any side effects should be monitored and reported to the doctor.

Common side effects include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Cough
  • Joint pain
  • Thrush
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever

There is also a risk of serious side effects occurring while taking Breo for COPD. These include the following:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Reduced adrenal function
  • Sudden breathing problems after inhaling medication
  • Heart issues such as fast or irregular heartbeat or chest pain
  • Eye problems such as glaucoma or cataracts
  • Osteoporosis
  • Slowed growth in children
  • Nervous system problems like tremor

As with any medications, the patient and health care provider should discuss risks and benefits with medications while working on a treatment plan.

What is Trelegy Ellipta?

Trelegy Ellipta (Trelegy) is also a once-daily medication used to treat COPD, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. As with Breo, Trelegy is not a fast-acting medication and will not replace a rescue inhaler for sudden breathing issues.

The FDA approved Trelegy in September 2017. It is the first and only medication of its kind. Trelegy is a 3-in-1 treatment for those who suffer from COPD. The three medications allow the patient to breathe easier while improving lung function, and prevent future flare-ups.

Trelegy could allow a patient to have fewer inhalers by combining treatments into one medication.

Trelegy combines three medications in one inhaler. These medications are:

  • LABA – a bronchodilator that relaxes the muscles around the airways in the lungs allowing them to open
  • LAMA – also a bronchodilator that blocks the tightening of the muscle around airways allowing them to remain open
  • ICS – a corticosteroid that reduces the swelling in the lungs

Trelegy may be more effective for reducing flare-ups and improving lung function in people with severe symptoms that require multiple inhalers, since it uses three medications instead of two.

The Side Effects of Trelegy Ellipta

As with any other medication, Trelegy can have side effects. These can range from some common nuisances to severe and possibly life-threatening effects.

Some common side effects are:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Thrush in mouth and throat
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cough
  • Hoarseness

Some of the more serious side effects are:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Sudden breathing problem after taking Trelegy
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Effects on the nervous system such as tremors
  • Effects on the heart such as increased blood pressure or chest pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Change in blood values such as high blood sugar
  • Slowing of growth in children

People who experience any side effects should report them to their health care provider and seek medical assistance for severe side effects. Medications work differently for different people and if side effects are bothersome or severe, it may be necessary to switch medications.

Breo Vs. Trelegy. Which Medication Works Best To Treat COPD? 

Although both of these medicines are used to treat COPD, a patient’s health care provider must weigh the pros and cons for each individual patient.

What are the Pros and Cons of Using Breo?

The pros of using Breo for COPD symptoms are:

  • Convenience – inhaler is portable
  • Once-daily medicine
  • Often less expensive than Trelegy

The cons of using Breo for handling COPD symptoms:

  • Only contains two medications for treatment as opposed to 3
  • Can have unpleasant side effects

What are the Pros and Cons of Using Trelegy?

The pros of Trelegy are:

  • Orally inhaled, portable medication
  • It contains three long-acting medications
  • Once-daily medication

The cons of Trelegy:

  • Can have unpleasant or severe side effects
  • It is often more expensive than other COPD oral inhalers

Healthcare providers want to choose a medication that is right to treat their patients with the least amount of side effects. In the end, a doctor needs to weigh a patient’s personal medical history along with the risks and benefits in order to choose the proper medication.

Save Money on Your Monthly Prescriptions with The Rx Advocates

Doctors may choose to prescribe Trelegy over other COPD medications because it is a newer drug and has three medications instead of only two. While this is a convenience, the cost of Trelegy can be prohibitive for some patients.

If your doctor prefers the 3-in-1 medication for you, we can help at The Rx Advocates. We specialize in helping to make our patients’ monthly prescription medications more affordable. We work with patient discount programs to help our patients receive discounts on the medications they need to take each month. Patients pay for our services, and their medications are delivered at no additional costs.

We have helped many people save money on COPD medications such as Trelegy every month.  If covering the costs of monthly medications is a concern for you, please reach out and contact us. We would be happy to see how we can help you.

Call Now Button