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Tips for Inhaler Users  

If you have asthma, long-term-control medications can help keep your symptoms under control and reduce your chance of having a flare-up. To be effective, most of these medications must be used daily.

Inhaled corticosteroids are one class of inhaled long-term asthma control medicine. A type of anti-inflammatory, this type of drug helps prevent asthma attacks from starting by reducing swelling in the airways. It also helps reduce mucus production. Corticosteroids are not the same as the steroids that athletes may use to increase muscle mass.

In some people, inhaled corticosteroids may lead to hoarseness, cough, excessive thirst, dry mouth, or a fungal mouth infection called oral candidiasis. Try these tips to reduce your chance of experiencing side effects:

  • Unless you’re using a dry-powder medicine, use a spacer with your inhaler. The spacer allows the medicine to break into smaller droplets that can enter your lungs more easily.

  • After each dose of your inhaled medicine, rinse your mouth with water, gargle, and spit.

If you experience side effects from any of your asthma medicines, talk with your doctor. He or she may want to change your dose or prescribe a different type of medication.

“Asthma.” American Academy of Family Physicians, April 2014. http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/asthma.html. Accessed 2016.

“Understand Your Medication.” Lung Heath and Diseases, American Lung Association. www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/living-with-asthma/managing-asthma/understand-your-medication.html. Accessed 2016.

“The Local Side Effects of Inhaled Corticosteroids.” Nicholas J. Roland, M.D., et al. Chest. 2004, vol. 126, pp. 213–19. Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15249465. Accessed 2016.

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