Asthma Inhaler Technique

Horgan’s Pharmacists can provide excellent support and advice on the correct technique of using your inhaler and managing your asthma medication.

Using an inhaler is the most common way of taking asthma medicines. Using an inhaler is very effective, because inhaling the medicine takes it straight into your lungs. Many people however experience problems with their inhalers.

For help or advise call into one of our Pharmacists who will be happy to help you with your inhaler technique to ensure you are getting the optimum result from your medicine. 

Asthma Treatments- The Basics

The key point that you should note is that asthma does not have to control your life. Instead, you can manage and control your condition by: 

·         Becoming educated about asthma

·         Taking your medications as directed

·         Avoiding your triggers

·         Developing  a personalized action plan

The goal of asthma management is to obtain asthma control and maintain it over time.


Reliever Inhalers 

  • Everyone with asthma should have a reliever – they are essential in treating asthma attacks.
  • Relievers are medicines that you can take immediately when asthma symptoms appear. They quickly relax the muscles surrounding the narrowed airways, allowing the airways to open wider and making it easier to breathe again. However, relievers do not reduce swelling in the airways.
  • If taken before exercise they reduce your chances of getting asthma symptoms.
  • Relievers usually come in blue inhalers. Salbutamol (e.g. Ventolin) and terbutaline (Bricanyl) are two examples of relievers. They work almost  immediately to relieve the symptoms, which is why they are sometimes called rescue relievers. Ipratropium bromide (Atrovent) is a different type of reliever and is most commonly used by children under two or in older people. Atrovent takes around 45 minutes to work.
  • If you are using your reliever inhaler two or more times a week, your asthma may not be fully controlled and you should go back to your doctor or asthma nurse for a review.
  •  Relievers are a very safe and effective medicine and have very few side effects. Some relievers can slightly increase your heartbeat or give you mild muscle shakes, but these effects are more common when taking high doses. These side effects generally wear off within a few minutes, or a few hours at most. 


Preventer Inhalers

  • Preventers control the swelling and inflammation in the airways, stopping them from being so sensitive and reducing the risk of severe attacks.
  • Their effects build up over a period of time so they need to be taken every day, usually morning and evening, even when you are feeling well.
  • You will be started on an appropriate level of treatment to get your symptoms under control; once this has been achieved, the treatment will be reduced to the lowest possible dose.
  • Preventer inhalers usually contain a low dose of steroid medication. There are several kinds of inhaled steroids, but they all work in the same way to reduce the inflammation in your airways.
  • Combination inhalers contain an inhaled steroid and a long-acting reliever medication in one device. Your doctor may prescribe a combination inhaler if your asthma is not controlled on an inhaled steroid alone.

For further information on asthma and to view online demonstration videos on inhaler technique Click here



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