how much ventolin is it safe to take

ive had asthma since i was 16. I believed i had grown out of it but it has come back over last few months. Doctors were reluctant to put me back on preventers but allowed me ventolin when required. However i had a bad episode today . . . peak 150-250, a very strong wheeze and high pluse rate. Was put on nebuliser for 15 mins with no help so was given 8 prednisolone tablets and put back on the nebuliser. Doctor recomended hospital treatment but then pluse came down and peak flow 300. (normal peak 470). I was sent home on the understanding i would take it easy . . . with ventolin,clenil and prednisolone tablets. My question is how muvch ventolin is it safe to take? I still have a strong wheeze and peak is 250. Was told can use 10 puffs ventolin in a spacer (same effect as a nebuliser) But how many times? Never been this bad i dont want to overdose and put my health at further risk. Many thanks

sharlene

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  • Sharelene, I am sorry to hear your asthma has ""come back"" its a swine the way it does that! You need to go back to your Dr and ask what you have asked here, I am sorry I can't be more helpful. I know it seems like a cop out, but everyone has different guidlelines for how much it is safe for them t do at home before they seek further medical attention. You need to find out how often and how much you can use the spacer and inhaler before you need to seek further medical advice.

    Finally if you ever get so wheezy or breathelss that talking is difficult or you can't talk at all that is a real emergency and you need an ambulance ASAP. A Dr friend of fine gets me to say ""I am absolutly fine there is no need to go to hospital"" if I can't do that in one breath as far as he is concerned I should be in.

  • Hi sharlene,

    Welcome to Asthma UK, I am really sorry to hear that your asthma has come back, how disappointing and frustrating for you. I hope you'll find us a good source of information and support.

    Firstly, something that I say to all new board members - a board like this one invariably attracts a disproportionate number of people with asthma at the severe end of the spectrum. You may read accounts of poor control, multiple medications, frequent hospital admissions and even Intensive Care admissions. Please don't be frightened or put off by this. Such experiences, whilst unfortunately common on this board, are very rare in asthma as a whole. The vast majority of people - about 95% - can be completely or almost completely controlled, with little or no interferance with their day-to-day lives, provided that the right combination of treatment is found. That is the goal of treatment, and there is no reason to think that you will not be in that group.

    It does sound like you have had a rough time, recently, though. Before this bad episode today, how much of your reliever salbutamol (Ventolin) do you think you were using? Do you know why your doctors were reluctant to put you back onto preventers? They are very safe, well tolerated drugs with few side effects, and normally if you are having to use your reliever more than three times a week, that is a suggestion that you need to be on some form of preventer. Certainly, the fact that you have just had a nasty attack means that you almost certainly need a preventer. I am glad to hear that you have now been put on Clenil - as I am sure that you know, the full effects of this will take a few days to kick in. The prednisolone that you have been given should kick in faster, within a few hours - presumably you have been given a short course to tide you over this bad phase?

    In terms of how much salbutamol (Ventolin) it is safe to use - Bex is quite right, this is something that only your doctor can really tell you. There is no one safe limit for everyone, it depends very much on the severity of your asthma, the pattern of attacks in the past, and how much salbutamol you would normally take. The danger is not so much from overdosing on salbutamol - it is a very safe drug, and it is difficult to overdose significantly - but from ignoring the signs of a bad attack and continuing to treat with salbutamol at home when you really should be getting yourself to hospital. If you get to the stage where the salbutamol is not helping, this is a very serious sign indeed, and you need to be in hospital where they can give you other treatments very quickly. I don't want to frighten you, but asthma is a serious condition, and a severe asthma attack can be fatal. Most fatal asthma attacks in this country these days involve delays in getting to hospital.

    It does sound like you are quite unwell at the moment, with peak flow only just over 50% of your best, and wheeze and shortness of breath despite the two nebs that you had at your GPs. This is not an appropriate place to seek emergency medical help - it is not possible for us to properly assess you when we can't see you or your medical notes - but I will say that if you were my patient, I would be very concerned about you being at home. I would strongly suggest that you phone your GP and say that things are not really much improved, and ask about your salbutamol usage. I suspect that if you are using the 10 puffs via a spacer without much improvement, you really need to be in hospital.

    Of course, if at any stage you become much more breathless, and reliever medication is not working at all, or you are too breathless to talk in sentences, this is a sign of a potentially serious asthma attack. In this situation you should dial 999 for an ambulance. If in doubt, do seek help sooner rather than later.

    Hope this helps, do let us know how you get on.

    Take care

    Em H

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