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Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

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Asthma and Proventil
April 2000

Q. I have Asthma. I am using my Proventil inhaler 4 times per day. This is the only med that I am on. Should I be on any other meds?

A. Yes. The fact that you are using your bronchodilator 4 times per day indicates that your Asthma is not well controlled, and you should be on some preventive meds to try to reduce the inflammation in the airways which is a major component to Asthma (as is Bronchospasm; narrowing and spasm of the airways).

The most effective anti-inflammatory med for this purpose would be an inhaled steroid, such as Flovent or Pulmicort. Usually, this inhaled steroid is used twice per day. Don't forget to rinse your mouth out with water after, or you can get yeast in the mouth. Within one week, you will likely find that you do not have to use your Proventil nearly as frequently.

Inhaled steroids are usually very well tolerated long term. Since they are inhaled, most of the med simply coats the airway with very little being absorbed into the bloodstream. Therefore, it would be rare to get serious side effects that can occur with oral steroid pills or injected steroids. If you still end up having to use your Proventil at least 3 times per week, you probably will need additional medication. Of course, regular follow up with your physician including spirograms (pulmonary function testing) is very important to help guide your treatment.

Reference: http://www.aafa.org/

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