Why do I have two inhalers?

If you or a loved one suffers from asthma or COPD, you may be wondering why different inhalers are necessary. This is because not all inhalers are created equally. There are different classes of inhalers that are used for different purposes. The two main classes of inhalers are quick relief and long term control.

The most common type of inhaler is the “rescue inhaler”. This includes inhalers like Proventil, ProAir, or Ventolin. This class of inhalers is not to be used regularly; rather it is used for flare-ups or exercise-induced asthma. It works by relaxing the airway muscles to give quick symptom relief.  When asthma is well controlled, the rescue inhaler should be used no more often than 2 days per week.

The other class of inhalers are the long term control inhalers. These are not made to provide immediate relief, rather they are used to help achieve long term control and decrease the use of the rescue inhaler. Common brands including QVAR, Pulmicort, Flovent, and Asmanex. These inhalers all contain inhaled steroids which work by reducing inflammation, swelling, and mucus production in the airways making the airways less likely to react to inhaled irritants. The inhaled steroids can also be used in combination products adding the benefit of keeping the airways open. These products include Symbicort, Breo, Advair, and Dulera.

Your prescriber or pharmacist can discuss with you your individual needs for inhalers. Each person and medical condition is unique and requires individualized care.

The cost of some of these inhalers can be high, but that’s where the pharmacy teams at Martin’s Wellness with three locations, Dripping Springs Pharmacy, Lamar Plaza Drug Store, & Lake Hills Pharmacy excels. We can help work with your insurance, doctor, and manufacturers to make sure you are receiving the inhaler(s) you need at a cost that won’t break the bank.

 

-Mikaela DeBarba, pharmacist intern
-Angela Solis, clinical pharmacist

Martin's Wellness