The majority of people living with Asthma are treated with inhalers. Inhalers deliver a small amount
of medicine directly to the airways.
Relievers are used ‘as needed' to give rapid relief from symptoms but do not treat the
underlying inflammation. If you need to use your reliever inhaler more than three times
per week, you may also need a preventer inhaler to keep your asthma under control.
Preventers usually contain a form of steroid and help to control the swelling and inflammation in the airways and help prevent asthma attacks. These steroids are very safe and are not addictive. However, not everyone with asthma will need a preventer. The protective effect of preventers builds up over time, so if you are prescribed one, it is important that you take it every day, even if you are feeling well.
What is a spacer?
A spacer is a large chamber, which is fitted to an inhaler. Instead of inhaling directly from
an inhaler, a dose from the inhaler is sprayed into the spacer and then you inhale from the
other end of the spacer, through a mouthpiece or mask. Spacers make your inhaler easier
to use and more effective. They also reduce the risk of side effects, such as a sore tongue, sore throat or mouth infection.
Other treatments and add on therapies
Long acting relievers
These inhalers help to relax narrow airways and are used in addition to your preventer.
They go on acting for a longer time than normal. Relievers are usually used twice a day.
There are now combination inhalers available that bring together an inhaled steroid with a
long acting reliever.
If asthma symptoms are not controlled by a regular inhaled preventer and ‘as needed'
reliever, a daily tablet treatment may be prescribed. These do not contain steroids and are
taken along with your preventer inhaler.
If asthma symptoms become difficult to control, the doctor may give you a short course of steroid tablets. These tablets work quickly to reduce inflammation in your airways.
If you need further information or have any more questions about living with or managing your Asthma symptoms please visit our Pharmacy Locator to find your local Alphega Pharmacy.