5 of the best inhalers for asthma – Medical News Today

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Asthma is a condition where the airways constrict, leading to breathing difficulties. People with asthma may use inhalers to deliver medication to the airways to avoid asthma attacks or to relieve symptoms during an attack.
Around 1 in 13 people in the United States have asthma, and on average, 10 people die from this condition each day. A doctor may prescribe an asthma inhaler to help treat the symptoms of the condition.
Inhalers are portable, hand-held devices that deliver asthma medication to the lungs and airways. Inhalers can help prevent or relieve asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.
Learn more about asthma medication and devices here.
Asthma medication helps alleviate the symptoms of the condition by using bronchodilators to relax the muscles in the airways, and anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and mucus.
Bronchodilators can be either short- or long-acting.
Short-acting inhalers, which people may also call quick-relief or rescue inhalers, provide short-term relief for sudden asthma symptoms.
Long-acting inhalers, on the other hand, can help prevent asthma symptoms. A person will usually need to use these inhalers daily.
Doctors may prescribe one or both types of bronchodilators in inhaler forms. An individual can also purchase over-the-counter (OTC) inhalers to ease asthma symptoms.
Learn more about OTC asthma inhalers here.
Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria:
It is advisable to consider the following factors before purchasing an OTC inhaler:
There are various types of inhalers that differ in the method of delivering the medication. These types include:
A person’s medication and dosage depend on the severity of their asthma, symptoms, age, and side effects. Doctors may prescribe two or more inhalers for an individual with severe or uncontrolled asthma.
Additionally, doctors may recommend using a combination inhaler that has two or three different medications. A 2021 study found that using a single-inhaler triple therapy is a safe and effective option for individuals with uncontrolled asthma.
Below, we look at some of the asthma inhalers available on the market that a person may wish to consider purchasing.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Primatene Mist is an OTC asthma inhaler that has approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). People do not need a prescription to purchase this product.
Learn more about Primatene Mist here.
Primatene states that this inhaler is suitable for short-term relief of intermittent asthma.
This inhaler is a bronchodilator MDI that has epinephrine as its active ingredient. The company states that it is suitable for use by children aged 12 years or older and adults.
Primatene Mist HFA is available in stores and online.
At the time of publication, this product is available from Walmart and costs $27.98.
Asthmanefrin is an OTC atomizer that turns liquid medication into a fine mist for people to breathe in. The main ingredient is racepinephrine, a mixture of two types of epinephrine.
The manufacturer states that this inhaler is suitable for use in individuals aged 4 years or older for short-term relief from bronchial asthma.
People can purchase this product in Walmart stores and through the company website.
At the time of publication, Asthmanefrin costs $30.
Trelegy is a prescription DPI inhaler consisting of three DPIs: fluticasone, vilanterol, and umeclidinium. A 2021 study found that a combination of these three medications is an effective treatment for moderate to severe asthma.
The company states that this product is suitable for long-term use in adults.
Trelegy also notes that an individual needs only one dose every 24 hours. The product has a dose counter that people can use to check how many doses are left in the inhaler.
Pulmicort is a prescription DPI inhaler that contains the corticosteroid budesonide as its active ingredient.
Learn more about Pulmicort here.
This product is a maintenance inhaler that doctors can prescribe for adults and children over the age of 6 years.
The Pulmicort Flexhaler comes in two doses, 90 and 180 micrograms, and people need to use the inhaler twice per day.
ProAir Digihaler is a prescription DPI with albuterol as its active ingredient.
Learn more about ProAir here.
This product is a rescue inhaler that is suitable for use by people aged 4 years or older to prevent exercise-induced bronchospasm and asthma symptoms.
People can download the ProAir app to record their usage of the inhaler and inhalation airflow. They can then share the app reports with a healthcare team.
People should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using an asthma inhaler.
Some general tips for using an MDI include the following:
The following are some general tips for using a DPI:
If an individual needs to take two doses of medicine from any type of inhaler, they should wait for 1 minute between doses.
People with asthma should have regular appointments with a healthcare team to monitor the condition and ensure that their medication is still suitable.
The American Lung Association states that a person should contact a doctor straight away if they experience any of the following:
An individual should seek immediate medical attention if they or another person has the following symptoms:
Other warning signs include:
Read more on what to do when a person has an asthma attack here.
Asthma inhalers are a form of delivering medication to relax the airways and reduce swelling and mucus.
While most inhalers are only available on prescription, some are available over the counter. People should always ask a healthcare professional to recommend an OTC inhaler if they wish to purchase one.
Last medically reviewed on November 22, 2021
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