Often physicians are asked this question: “Don’t you think the use of an inhaler makes you get hooked on to it. The answer is a definite “no’. Let me first explain the different modes of the drug delivery systems.
Aerosols or inhalers usually propel a drug at a great speed. The particle size is usually very small and the medicine is pushed into the respiratory system along with the inhaled air to reach the bronchial tree and work on the muscles. Aerosols are available freely and are very handy.
While swallowing or injecting excess steroids into one’s body is dangerous, the doses of inhaled steroids prescribed in modern asthma inhalers are too small to have adverse effects. It is usually recommended that these drugs be taken once or twice a day through an inhaler or a puffer. Learning the proper technique of using the inhaler is vital to ensure the one inhale the right dose of drug correctly into the airways.
It is important to always wash one’s mouth with water after inhalation to make certain that any steroid particles left in the mouth and throat, are not swallowed. If taken in the right way, inhaled steroids prove most effective in minimizing the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
If an Asthma attack occurs despite taking one’s preventive medication regularly, a reliever medication is prescribed. A common reliever drug in use worldwide is Salbutamol, but there are several in the market today available in the form of inhalers that deliver a measured dose of the drug.
These Asthma medications exert their effects by reliving the spasm in the bronchial muscles and widening the air tubes, thus allowing more air to flow into and out of the lungs.
Aerosol corticosteroid preparations are widely used but I would recommend the use of aerosol bronchodilator first. The aerosol works very fast and can be taken on an S.O.S basis that is if and when required.
One metered dose inhaler is a standard dose and instructions about dosage need to be followed strictly.
The plus point of the aerosol therapy is that the dose of the medicine used is very low. Also, it does not enter the blood and thus, there are hardly any systemic side effects. Also its acts very fast and can be taken by the patient himself in acute asthma attacks or just prior to an acute asthma attack.