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Alternatives to preventer inhalers?

Has anyone experienced extreme side effects when using preventer inhalers?

I have tried Beclomethasone (2 puffs daily) three times now and every time I use it, my breathing improves but after the second to third day I get crippling back pain/pressure. I really don't know how to move forward in getting control of my asthma.

I have also tried Symbicort, Formeterol (on its own, which I have been told should not be prescribed as a stand alone treatment) and Serevent. What happens is, I try one of these long acting preventers and stop using them after a maximum of 4-5 days as the back pain is awful. I also sometimes get palpitations.

I then return to my Bricanyl reliever inhaler and feel my asthma is out of control, particularly mornings and evenings.

I had a spirometry test on Monday which was inconclusive. This was because I ran out of breath. I am at my wits end with my health because I had (what they think) was pleurisy, had a chest x-ray at the end of September which came back clear and blood tests (2 lots) taken. The blood showed some infection which the GP put down to the pleurisy and the 2nd batch showed some improvement.

I am 29 and I feel like my life revolves around asthma. I have been to every GP at my surgery. The latest visit resulted in the GP telling me to 'just stick to the Bricanyl' and he prescribed me cetrizine (hayfever tablets). He is sending me for some blood tests next week, one of which is to check the oxygen levels in my blood.

I feel like nobody is providing any consistency and I still have no real answers. I had a niggly pain which can be very sharp under my left arm which I have been back and forth to the docs with but they write it off as the pleurisy. How long does pleurisy last? I've been feeling like this since August.

Sorry for the rant but if anybody can offer any advice, I would be very grateful. Especially, if anybody has experienced the back pain issue - how do you control your asthma?

2 Replies


That doesn't sound great! Must be pretty annoying and painful. I also have that feeling a lot that everything revolves around my breathing. I hope the blood tests show something at least.

Just wondering first of all if your GPs should be thinking about a referral if they have reached the point where they have run out of answers? Mine have been very good at admitting when they are out of their depth but if you feel yours have run out of ideas perhaps worth bringing it up?

Alternatively, could you ask to try some non-steroid and/or non LABA preventers? I can't take them either, though for me it's because they didn't work (and Symbicort actually seemed to make me worse) rather than side effects. I tried Montelukast which is an add-on therapy usually but has worked fairly well for me and is supposed to be relatively free of side effects, and Intal which is what they used before steroids. Admittedly they haven't really got me that well controlled but it's certainly better than before! Perhaps it would be worth asking your GP about whether they could try you on something totally different from the steroids to see if it works without giving you the back pain?

Hope this helps a bit. My GP did say it can be trial and error a lot of the time (though he feels he's now done enough of that with me and is passing me back to the specialists again).



It is very frustrating when you feel totally out of control and that Asthma is running your life.

From your post it sounds as though there may be a few things going on with you. I would do a few things.

1. Keep a symptom and peak flow diary.

2. Get an appointment with a respiratory specialist, and if NHS will allow a cat scan.

3. It may be possible for you to try a leucotrine (spelling!) inhibitor like Singulair if your asthma is Atopic. (Be aware that they can take 2 / 3 months to start working properly so don't expect an instant miracle there.

4. There are a lot of inhaled steroid (preventer) choices, and others may be more suitable.

5. Look for other things that may be exacerbating your Asthma such as, sinus problems, Low grade infection and gastric problems.

6. Take a close look at your triggers.

Any way hope this isn't too much of a lecture, but everyone is different. There are some newer treatments out there such as Broncothermaplasty if none of the above makes any difference.




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