Asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) are the most common breathing conditions that require the use of inhalers. Inhalers can be categorized to rescue inhaler or controller inhaler based on their purpose of use.
A rescue inhaler is the cornerstone for asthma. It is commonly prescribed for patients with asthma to be used as needed for sudden shortness of breath and/or preventing exercise-induced breathing problems. It is typically not used on daily basis unless specifically instructed by your doctor. A rescue inhaler is used to open the airways to allow air to flow freely into your lungs. It usually starts to work within few minutes and its effect may last for several hours. If you have asthma, it is very important to keep your rescue inhaler with you at all times. Before you leave the house, remember to take your rescue inhaler because it can be your “life saver.” Common rescue inhalers include albuterol that is available in three brands; ProAir HFA, Proventil HFA, and Ventolin HFA.
Using your rescue inhaler more than twice a week, or having trouble breathing during the night when you are sleeping, are signs that your breathing condition is not well controlled. In this case, you need to follow up with your doctor to see if you need adjustment to your breathing medicines to prevent future breathing attacks.
Controller inhaler can be used for both asthma and COPD to control your breathing conditions and prevent symptoms from occurring. A controller inhaler is not meant to treat sudden shortness of breath or a breathing attack. It has to be used on daily basis as prescribed by your doctor, regardless of whether you are having trouble breathing. Using your controller inhaler on a scheduled basis helps you to get the most benefit of your breathing medicine and decrease your need for rescue inhaler. In contrast to rescue inhaler, controller inhaler works more slowly and its effect last much longer.
Advair, Dulera, Qvar, Flovent, Breo Ellipta, Asmanex, and Symbicort are inhaled corticosteroids that commonly used as controller inhaler to help controlling airway inflammation. Make sure to rinse and spit after each use to reduce your chances of getting an infection in your mouth. Other common controller inhalers include Spiriva, Combivent, Stiolto, and Utibron Neohaler.
Inhaler devices are not created equal. It is very important to take your medication the right way. Inhalers help with delivering medicines straight to your lungs where they are needed. Having your medicines delivered this way helps you to get the most benefit of your medications with the least amount of side effects, as long as you use them properly. Pharmaceutical companies make several different inhaler devices. Sometimes, the same drug is available in several different inhalers. There are several types of inhaler devices that used differently; metered dose inhaler, diskus, handihaler, twisthaler, neohaler, repimat, and pressair. If you are having difficulties using your inhaler device, ask your local pharmacist to help you learn how to properly use it. For more information on how to use inhaler, visit the website How to Use Inhalers.
Key point: Always use your controller inhaler to prevent having to use your rescue inhaler more than you should. Overusing your rescue inhaler causing the medication to build up in your system, potentially leading to shakiness, headache, and feeling nervous and excitable. The long-term overuse of rescue inhaler causes it to become less effective over time. It is very important to use your controller inhaler on daily basis as prescribed and reserve the use of rescue inhaler to when you actually need it.
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