Subcut Bricanyl

Hi everyone, does anyone else have this? Ihave been on this medication for 5 years now along with so many other treatments. Lately i have had chronic cramp and generally ache, I know asthma drugs can cause low potassium which can cause cramp but are there any ideas to help cramp. If anyone else is on subcut bricanyl do you think there are any advantages?

7 Replies

  • hi,

    i ahve found that subcut has been great despite all the kit and caboodel that goes with it. i d find however that i so get cramp but i put this down to low potassium as it is always low the cramp and muscle ache is all the time. i ahvnt found a way to stop these cramps but sometimes a hot water bottle helps as i get them in my calves alot and just rest legs on a hottie or try and strwech them out and use relaxation techniques to relax the muscles although relaxation techniques do nto work for eveyrone.

    there is a few subcut threads will try and fins them and bumb them up for you


  • Hello,

    I have been using s/c infusions since 1994. Initially Bricanyl, but I was swapped to Ventolin as you need less volume and also less silly cramps too.

    There are a few threads here if you look back or search through the medical or general bit.

    I now only use mine when needed, eg the last 3 weeks and it has been a great help to me.


  • my son is on sub cut bricanyl and he has been on this for 3 years now and he also complains on aches and cramps but he also has hypermobility syndrome so its hard to say if its all down to his subcut yes and i do have to agree there is alot of kit tht goes with this med...... do u know u can now get 5ml amps aswell as the 1ml amps and it makes life alot easier my son is on 16mls a day and he is 12..

    its been really interesting to read abt other people on subcut bricanyl as there is not many people on this tht i know of regards ruth

  • I now like Kate use as and when basis as with my asthma we found after a few mths it stops being as effective so if i have a few mths off it seems to work again, but when orks i find makes such a difference. The cramps are a nasty side effect but if you aim to eat 3 portions of bananas or leafy green veg a day it helps maintain levels and when acute tonic water helps as has quinine which you can also take in tablet form, have you discussed with your docs? alot on here take quinine at nite for cramps.

    hope helps


    Andrea xx

  • My 12 yr old son is also on S/c Bricanyl and has been since he was eight. He is on 20ml a day and we've always used the 5ml bottles, gosh I wouldnt fancy spending ages with 1 ml vials. Sean is very fortunate to have a chrono pump which is much smaller than a graesby. Sean does get cramps and pains but he says that all that is well worth the benefits he gets from S/c. He leads a normal life and enjoys sports and going out with his mates, the S/c is now just part of his life and doesnt cause him any major problem.

  • Hi rjaney,

    I can't really comment specifically on the advantages and disadvantages of subcut terbutaline, as I haven't been on it, but I'm sorry to hear that you're having problems with cramp. I also suffer from bad cramp, particularly when I've been using a lot of nebs!

    I include some general information on cramp below:


    Muscle cramp is a recognised side effect of beta-2 agonists - ie salbutamol, turbutaline, formoterol, salmeterol. Cramps can occur at the usual sort of inhaled doses, but are more common with higher doses, for example by nebuliser or subcut infusion. These are very well known for causing painful cramps, particularly in the feet and legs, but potentially anywhere in the body.

    Cramp can also be a symptom of disturbances of the various electrolytes (salts) in the body - low sodium, potassium and calcium and high magnesium can all cause severe muscle cramps. The most relevant one to most of us is the potassium, as beta-2 agonists, theophylline/aminophylline and steroids all cause low potassium. It’s worth getting a blood test to check potassium levels, and also theophylline levels, if you’re on it, if these haven’t been done recently. It's also worth trying to eat potassium rich foods such as bananas, tomatoes, oranges and potatoes, provided there is no reason that you can't eat a high potassium diet (for example, kidney problems) and provided that you are not allergic to any of these, of course! A banana dipped in dark chocolate (also high in potassium) and then put in the freezer makes a lovely 'choc ice' which is a good way to eat bananas if you’re getting a bit sick of them!

    Electrolyte disturbances can also be caused by other factors such as kidney disease, severe diarrhoea and other drugs like diuretics (eg furosemide, bendroflumethiazide).

    Dehydration can also be a major contributor to cramps - so make sure you are drinking plenty throughout the day and has water by your bed at night. Obviously very sugary and carbonated drinks like coke are not the best for preventing dehydration. If you're drinking orange juice, for the potassium, it's best to have it with a meal, I believe, to minimise the effects of the acid on the teeth.

    Caffeine is another contributor to cramps – so trying to cut down on your caffeine intake, particularly last thing at night if it’s night-time when the cramps bother you, is often a good idea. If you are a confirmed coffee addict and drink instant coffee, a good way to start cutting down is to buy some de-caff and mix the two together, so that each cup is half as strong.

    In terms of dealing with the cramps - massaging the affected area, pulling back on the foot to stretch the hamstring, and walking around can all help to ease the cramps off more quickly. A warm wheat bag over my foot can help as well.

    If you're having frequent severe cramps, or cramps in odd areas (eg other than your feet and legs) it's probably worth getting checked out by your doctor to check that you don't have any of these electrolyte imbalances and to rule out other rarer causes for muscle cramps. If the cramps are severe, your doctor may prescribe quinine tablets to be taken at night – these will not produce instant results, they do take a few weeks to build up in the system, but they can be useful. In extreme cases the doctor might prescribe muscle relaxants like diazepam (Valium) to help, although most doctors will be pretty keen to avoid these, as they can be addictive and can cause respiratory depression.

    Hope this helps

    Em H

  • Just a quickie you would need to drink a 150 average tonic waters to get to dose similar to that of a tablet. The amounts of quinine in it are so tiny it is not worth bothering with. Better to ask your GP about quinine tablets.


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