Asthma UK community forum

Asthma & Medication

Hi All,

I'm after a little advice from real life asthma sufferers as I am not too sure/confused about mine.

Firstly I will apologise for the length of the post, but it is necessary to get the details across so sorry...

I was diagnosed with asthma 9 months ago (aged 22), after having an 'asthma attack'. Never had symptoms before, but always suffered from what I believed to be hayfever.

It all started off with a bad cough, and after a week of this it got worse. I was eating a family meal, and started coughing badly and was unable to breathe properly and was gasping for air. I had pains in my chest and it hurt to breathe. My partner phoned an ambulance for me, and by the time they arrived (5 minutes) I was unable to move myself or my hands - they had clenched outwards and I had pins and needles in them.

Ambulance staff got me to calm down my breathing with oxygen, and took me to A&E. After being seen by a doctor they said they thought it was asthma caused by hayfever and gave me a ventolin inhaler to use - and told me to see my doctors.

The cough continued until I saw my doctor.

The asthma nurse did an asthma test, where I breathed into a device - had a nebuliser - then repeated the test again. I also did a peak flow before and after. He told me that the test he did, hadnt shown I had asthma, but the peak flow reading showed I probably did (400 - 500). I was given a brown inhaler (sorry cant remember the name) and told to take this twice x 2, and to come back in a month.

The nebuliser immediately relieved me of the persistent cough I had now had for 3 weeks, and the brown inhaler relieved the symptoms of asthma that I had being experiencing ever since the attack. However by the time by checkup was due a month later, I had experienced another attack caused by coughing. I was later discharged from A&E with antibiotics and told I had a chest infection.

At my next checkup (2 months after first attack) the inhaler wasnt really working, and I was told to increase the dose to twice daily x 3. This improved my symptoms again, but a couple of months later I was back to the same symptoms.

I saw the asthma nurse again and I was given serevent to take along with the brown inhaler. So i was now on 3 brown puffs twice a day, and 2 serevent puffs twice a day. This improved my symptoms, and at my next checkup I was asked to move down to 2 puffs of the brown inhaler. After a week of this I noticed the symptoms coming back, so went back to 3 as per advice. After a month or so, I started to have side affects from the servent of a excessively shaking right hand/arm, so was told to stop taking serevent.

However my asthma symptoms got worse again, and when I saw my nurse about this, I was given a pulmicort inhaler two puffs twice a day. This worked and improved my symptoms until I had an asthma attack again. After this the symptoms came back again and the inhaler no longer worked.

I am currently on, and have being for over 3 months, symbicort - which again worked fine but I am now starting to get the symptoms back- breathlessness just from climbing stairs, get tired easily from very slight excercise and have shortness of breath most of the time.

I was also recently prescribed allergy tablets as I have being experiencing sneezing fits, where I would sneeze 15 - 20 times one after the other - and this was causing me pain due to sore chest/throat. I am also on a monthly basis suffering from oral thrush - a side affect of the symbicort inhaler and am given nystatin to relieve this.

I was also given flucanzole - but after looking into this myself have found symibort and fluconazole are very dangerous when taken together - which makes me trust the doctors a LOT!

Since my first attack 9 months ago, I have had around 7-8 asthma attacks, and being taken to A&E by ambulance 5 times. In every attack, my ventolin does not relieve my symptoms at all, and when i try to take it the breathing really hurts sucking it in. I have also suffered from quite a few chest infections - although am always told there is no wheeze which they would normally expect.

I am also told every time that I have no wheeze, and o2 levels of 97% +, and never below. I usually have a high pulse which is probably understandable. Every attack has started with a coughing fit, sometimes this comes on gradually and I have said to my partner that I feel like I may have an attack - and sometimes it has just come on immediately - and this has never so far being due to excercise.

I have also had a very rude hospital (not my local thank god) who left me in a waiting room struggling for 45 minutes, and didnt help me at all. I collapsed in the corridor walking down myself to find a doctor, unable to walk properly.

I have had a chest X-ray as I went through a phase of having a persistent cough for 4 weeks - and everything was fine on the Xray.

One thing I have always noticed is that I always pass out once the attack has calmed down and I am in the ambulance/hospital bed. I dont know if this is normal?

I am now back to the same point and can feel the symptoms of the asthma despite being on the symbicort inhaler. I am going to book an appointment with the asthma nurse again to see what he says but thought I might benefit from asking some people who suffer if they have being through the same thing.

Thanks if you have read this, and thanks for hopefully taking the time to reply.

14 Replies


I get similar symptoms to you, a lot of coughing, very little wheeze, there often isnt a trigger, but I can feel it coming and I maintain my stats at aound 96%. However, if I dont get help I get wheezy and de-saturate very quickly. So definetly dont be put off getting help when you feel poorly! (I'm not saying this will happen to you though!)

Have you looked at food? I noticed you said you got an attack while eating a meal. I am on a salicylate reducing diet, it takes naturally occuring asprins out of your diet and it has really helped me. This webiste has a basic overview of the things which contain salicylates - might be worth keeping a food diary and talking to your asthma nurse about it.

Also, are you using an areochamber or spacer when you have an attack? These help me lots, it just gives you a bit more time to get the inhaler in.

I noticed you said you have allergies too, so it might be worth asking about a montelukast. This webiste has some more info on it

I hope some of this helps and you get some more control soon!

Isla x


i have a similar problem. i have coughing attacks, but also wheezing at the same time. i usually also maintain my sats at 95%+. i often pass out, even tho my sats r pretty much ok, wich the doctors dont understand. so basically, i cant really help, as i am jolly baffled myself....


Sounds like you need to be seen by a specialist, maybe have a CT scan.


hi i used to be quite similar, attacks used to start with coughing fits, pulse racing cos of salbutamol etc.. and very little/ no wheeze which would baffle doctors and would baffle doctors!!

not saying this will happen to you, so dont be alarmned!!, but as i hav gotten worse i have started to wheeze more now and still cough, chest tite and everything else that goes with it! still maintain sats most of time, even when go cyanotic or black out!!

as sme of the others have mentioned, try using a volumatic / spacer for your inhaler as this gives more time, allows the inh to be more effective. i defo found that difference. i used to take inh without and it gave no relief, now i use volumatic, i get lil tired as its effort breathing in/out through it, but it makes u concentrate on your breathing.

also i think montelukast is a wonder drug for those with asthma + allergies!! works wonders for me, i think anyways! also, they put me on telfast for my hayfever, which i have been told works better than cetirizine and isnt as drowsy as piriton.

hope u get relief of symptoms and in control soon x x


Sorry to hear you are having problems!

I would keep going back to the doctor/asthma nurse until you get sorted. If they can't sort you out, ask for a referral to a chest consultant.

As the others have said a spacer might help a lot. I know I am hopeless at taking ventolin without one! Has your asthma nurse checked your technique with the symbicourt Inhaler? I just wondered because this might be why you get oral thrush. There are guides on this site as well which show you the correct inhaler technique. Can you taste the symbicourt when you take it?

As far as I know it is fine to take symbicourt and fluconazole together (I hope so, as I have many a time).

Hope you get some answers. Have you tried speaking to one of the Asthma UK nurses (number in the red box at the top left of this page)? It might be a good idea to do this before going back to the GP/asthma nurse so you know what questions to ask.



Thanks everyone for taking the time to read & reply.

The montelukast sounds a good idea, I will mention this - as the allergy tablets made me tired, so i switched to non drowsy and they dont work and am back on the originals.

I will also ask for another spacer (used to use one with brown inhaler) and see if that helps next time - although *touch wood* ive being attack free since starting symbicort. It just doesnt relieve the symptoms very well.

In reply to bryony - he hasnt checked my method of taking symbicort but has with the ventolin. Every time im diagnosed with oral thrush (as though I dont already know myself) they always say ""do you rinse your mouth and brush your teeth"" which I do and always have. I cant taste anything when I use the symbicort which the leaflet says is normal.

At least I know the passing out sounds normal judging by two responses.

Will phone and book an appointment tomorrow and see how long i have to wait!


Are you using a AeroChamber spacer with your puffers? If no, you should get a prescription for one.



I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 14 years and I am now 25 years old.

I have been feeling very tight chested, coughing quite a lot, short of breath and very tried of late. Peak flow is very up and down at the moment. I have pain in the centre of my chest.

I have tried to get a doctors appointment but none available until May. I am hoping I will be able to get an appointment with the asthma specialist doctor at my surgery. I will keep ringing up to see if their are any cancellations.

My everyday medication: Salbutamol Easi-Breath - Actuated Inhaler, Seretide 250 Inhaler, Montelukast Sodium Tablets 10mg, Loratadine Tablets 10mg, Mometasone Furoate Nasal Spray, Sodium Cromoglicate Eye Drops When my peak flow is below 300 I start 40mg of Prednislone. I take my inhalers through a volumatic spacer.

My seretide inhaler used to be seretide 125 but now it has been up to seretide 250. But asthma is still not under control.

I have had to take time of work because my asthma has been playing up. I work with young adults with special needs, so it requires me to have a lot of energy but I do not seem to have a lot of energy at the moment.

I have had more asthma attacks over the past year at home and at work, which is now really starting to make me fed up.

I just wish I could get a doctors appointment and get my asthma under control again, as it has be getting worst over the past year.

What can I do in the meantime while I am waiting to get an appointment? As I just want to live a normal live again!

I do not know what the doctor will suggest or when I will get a doctors?

Has anyone got any Ideas of what the doctor may suggest?



I can empathise with you all. Since my little trip out in the yellow van to Costa 31 Mar I have been having problems. 40mg of preds and 2 lots of antib's later today I have been told that the GP's can do no morfe so refering to Cons -again and carry on with the nebs of ""I prat opium"" and Salamol.

Is it the weather that is causing this or our resistanced to the meds?


Asthma still up and down

Hi all,

I have finally managed to get a doctor’s appointment for this coming Monday in the morning but it is not with the doctor who is specialist in asthma so I may have to go back to the doctors again to see the asthma doctor.

My peak flow is down to 300 now. My personal best peak flow is 450 but it has not been this for quite some time now. I have to take a lot of my blue inhaler as it is not lasting the full 4 hours. Not sleeping to well at night asthma keeping me awake. I have a tight chest most of the time and a pain in the centre of my chest! I also have a cough and my asthma is making me very tried. I have no energy.

My everyday medication is: Salbutamol Breath - Actuated Inhaler, Seretide 250 Inhaler, Montelukast Sodium Tablets 10mg, Loratadine Tablets 10mg, Mometasone Furoate Nasal Spray, Sodium Cromoglicate Eye Drops When my peak flow is below 300 I start 40mg of Prednislone. I take all my medication through a spacer.

My asthma is now affecting my work and home life, my asthma has been getting worse over the last year and I am getting fed up with it now! I keep getting lots of chest infections.

What can I do to try and improve my asthma until I go to the doctors on Monday?

What other things can the doctor try to improve my asthma?

Does anyone know what step I would be on the asthma management plan?

Any help greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.



hi sparky

sorry you having tough time...

sounds like you on step 3 or 4 of BTS management

doc may suggest taking extra puffs of the serevent 250 until peak flow comes up a little more? is that in ur action plan?

keep going with blue inh 4hourly, obviously seek help if needing ,3hrly or symptoms worse!!!

u may have a little chest infection if you are coughin up coloured sputum along with the chest pain.. maybe worth asking for antibiotics from gp also?

regular pain relief will help with the chest pain, which could also be caused from the asthma symptoms itself or from the repetitive couging :(

also, hot water bottle helps, comfort :)

hope ur better soon from symptoms :)



Thank you for your reply Snowny

I do not have a asthma management plan at currant, but my asthma has been getting worse over the last year. Maybe this is something the doctor could sort out for me on Monday. I do not think I have got a chest infection but will get the doctor to check on Monday.

Thank you for your advice.



Hi aw1234,

sounds very much like my symptoms, I usually start with cough as well. I've had hayfever for over 20yrs and must say that Telfast and montelucast have been the best meds so far and never got any side affects with them. I can defo tell if I ever forget to take one of those so they are working.

Good luck and hope you're getting sorted soon.

Love Lydia x



Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

I went to the doctors today about my asthma, the doctor said to me that she has had a lot of patients in just lately complaining of a very tight chest she said that this is more than likely to do with the weather keep changing.

Went swimming this Saturday just gone had a asthma attack whilst swimming!!! Never had problem with my asthma before whilst swimming!! Does anyone else have problems whilst swimming and what can I do to control my asthma whilst swimming?

She asked me a lot of questions before she listened to my chest and said she could not hear anything on my lungs, no chest infection. I then had to do my peak flow which was 300. She told me to keep taking my Seretide 250, my monkulast tablets along with my salbutamol. She said that I can up my salbutamol inhaler. I have started my rescue prednisolone tablets at 40mg for 5 days. I now have to get a course of predisolone tablets incase needed.

She said to monitor my asthma over the next 6 weeks and to go back and see her at the end of May or to go back sooner if needed. I may have to go back and see the asthma doctor.

She said to me not to worry about getting help if needed. I don't want to waste the doctors time.



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