I was chatting with a friend and she told me that she had just used her rescue inhaler, because she wasn’t feeling very good.
Nothing wrong with that, right?
Then she told me that she needed to use her rescue inhaler because she had stopped taking her daily, controller inhaler. She said she didn’t like the way it made her feel. Argh! I thought she knew better than that. You don’t stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to!
Always the asthma nerd, I pulled out my asthma medication poster from Allergy and Asthma Network. I showed her the rainbow of choices for asthma inhalers.
I told her, “If you don’t like your inhaler, tell your doctor!” She didn’t like the side effects because it made her hands shake. I told her that her doctor can change her prescription and find something she likes.
What’s the point of having an inhaler if you’re not going to use it?!
I reminded her that if she doesn’t use it every day, she’s going to have inflammation (swelling) in her lungs, which will make it more likely that she will have to use her rescue inhaler a lot more often.
There many asthma inhalers with different functionalities to choose from
Don’t like the powdered version of an inhaler? Try an inhaled version! (Did you know that Advair has a dry powder discus AND an inhaled version of the same medicine?)
Several years ago, I had a coworker whose daughter wouldn’t take her Advair because she hated the powder. The coworker was frustrated because her daughter was having a tough time with her asthma. I told the co-worker, “that’s an easy fix – just switch to the inhaler version.” She said, “what inhaler version?”
So, I pulled out the photo of my medication chart from Allergy & Asthma Network (I keep a photo on my phone, and you wouldn’t believe how many times I use it!) I showed her the discus and inhalers side by side. Same color, same medicine. Some people like the powdered discus and some people like the inhaler version. Find what you like.
She went back to her pediatrician and asked for the inhaler version. Her pediatrician said, “What inhaled version?” She looked up the medication lists on her phone and said, “Wow, what do you know? I didn’t know they had an inhaler version of that.” So, she sent a new prescription to the pharmacy.
The coworker picked up the inhaler version of the medicine, but her teenage daughter was skeptical (because parents don’t know anything, right?!) But now the teenager uses it every day.
Pretty easy fix!
So, if you hate your asthma medicine, tell your doctor!
And ask if there are any other options. Anyone else have to try a few different inhalers until you found one you like?