Taking your inhaled medication as prescribed - Institute for Respiratory Health

Taking your inhaled medication as prescribed

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 | Trials

The importance of taking your inhaled medication as prescribed

DSCF0005There are many different types of inhaled medications on the market used to treat asthma, COPD and other respiratory conditions. It is important to know the action of your inhaler and to ensure you are taking it as prescribed to get the most benefit.

Two popular medications that you may currently take are:


Seretide / Symbicort / Breo Ellipta / Flutiform Inhaler
These type of inhalers are called “preventers” and help to improve your chronic (long term) symptoms. One of their actions is to reduce inflammation and mucous in the airways. It is important to take this medication as prescribed by your doctor as this medication needs to build-up in your body for it to work at its optimum level. If you are prescribed a reliever medication such as Ventolin, it may be helpful to use your reliever 5 minutes before taking your preventer to ensure you are receiving an optimal dose of your medication to where it is needed most in your airways.


Ventolin / Bricanyl / Asmol / Airomir
Relievers are fast acting medications that will give you quick relief from your respiratory symptoms. Think of these inhalers as your “rescue” medication that start working in minutes, and can help if you feel that your respiratory symptoms aren’t under control. You should always try to use a spacer when taking both your reliever and preventer medications (provided your preventer isn’t an accuhaler or turbuhaler). Evidence has shown that using a spacer delivers the medication more effectively into the airways and can reduce side effects of the medication.

Most importantly, if you feel your prescribed inhaler is not providing relief from your symptoms ensure you make an appointment to discuss this with your GP. There are lots of new and improved inhaled medications that are available to patients thanks to the type of research and clinical trials conducted by research organisations such as the Institute for Respiratory Health.

See a helpful chart from National Asthma Council Australia, which shows an array of asthma and COPD medications and puffers.