Asthma UK community forum
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Reluctant ventolin prescriber


I've just discovered asthma UK forums and wondered if anyone else has difficulty in getting their GP to prescribe ventolin. My GP seems to think I use ventolin excessively, and maybe I do. I have a preventer (symbicort) and use ventolin pretty much every day, sometimes 2 or 3 puffs a day and sometimes up to 8 on really bad days (not many of these). I ask for 2 ventolin inhalers for each repeat and get a repeat about every 2 months. I have inhalers all over the place (bag, car, most rooms in house). Today my new GP (I saw a locum) would only give me 1 ventolin but overprescribed the symbicort. Getting really fed up with being made to feel like I have a dependency issue- considering just buying ventolin online and giving up on GP. It would be about the same cost as prescription charges if they are only going to prescribe 1 inhaler at a time - I have enough symbicort to last 3 years! What do people think?


8 Replies

Lisa i would ask your GP to let you have an appointment with your asthma nurse at your surgery for a review of your meds. If you are needing Ventolin as much as your using you may need your dose of symbicort upping or changing to a different preventer. Do you take your Peak flow reguarly? If not ask your GP, asthma nurse about them or buy a Peak flow meter from a chemist and keep a record of am & pm peak flows. Also take a note of your peak flows when you are requiring your Ventolin as this will help them to control your asthma better. You can also contact the nurses at asthma uk for advice thier contact details are under How we help above follow link for adviceline hope this helps.

Oh and welcome feel free to pop over to camping thread where all oldies and newbies chat about alsorts including asthma. Dont be put off as there are many that post from mildest to most severe all will only be too willing to help and advise you.



See the asthma Nurse

Hi Lisa

New here myself but some good replys.

Try to get and see your asthma Nurse they seem to be of more help than the doc.

I am using my ventolin between 2 & 5 times a day and at present having to go back every month to the Nurse for reassessment and have inhalers changed 3 times so far, but ventolin use going down slowly. The nurse will give you what is needed. Also inhalers all over the place I do the same .

Hope you are feeling better soon.

All the best

Spike (stephen)


i agree with the others. you need to be seeing your asthma nurse becuase you are obviously not controlled on your preventative. it is a bind keep having to pay for prescriptions. is that all you are taking or do you have anything else regularly. i wouldn't have a preventative for years because of the cost of prescriptions just suffered in silence. now i am on so many asthma drugs and skin creams i more than paid for a 12 month prepaid in just a few weeks.


if 2 or 3 times is a good day. i like the others am also worried that you are not being controlled by your preventer. maybe the comination isn't working for you in symbicort. it didn't help my son. but taking the two drugs seperately am and pm as pulmicort and servent works. they tend in my experience to supply it as 1 drug called symbicort as its cheaper (maybe i'm being cynical). my son was on both seperately which worked, then symbicort which didn't now back on both and at the moment under control. under what circumstances are you taking your ventolin? can you discover your triggers/ maybe a diary of when and why you take it might help. i also agree see nurse or asthma clinic



just wanting to clear up what seems to be a slight drug mix up:

Symbicort = oxis (FORmeterol) + pulmicort (budesonide)

Seretide = serevent (SALmeterol) + flixotide (fluticasone propionate)

these are both combi inhalers containing long acting reliever (oxis or serevent) and steroid (pulmicort or flixotide)

so if symbicort wasn't working for your son, debi, but pulmicort + serevent is, its not because its a joint inhaler, but because the long-acting reliever is actually a different drug, which is more effective for him. (combi inhalers should make no difference to the drug, but can be more convenient, assuming the drugs are in the right proportion for you).

as a seperate point, the combi inhalers are only available in those two formats because these are all patented drugs, and are owned by two different companies; symbicort, pulmicort and oxis are owned by Astra Zeneca, and seretide, flixotide and serevent are owned by GlaxoSmithKline (aka Allen & Hanbury's - the people who make ventolin)

ok, essay over. sorry if i've been patronising, and anyone please correct me if i've said anything wrong!



i stand corrected then. i was merely going on letter from gp when switch over occured that said they were combining his two drugs into the new inhaler which was suppossed to be the same.


At the risk of saying the same as the others - I agree with them! Does sound like you're not properly controlled if you're using ventolin that much, and by only prescribing one ventolin a go htey can keep more of an eye on you. I'd definately consider asking for a review of your preventer and seeing if a trial of a different combination / preventer would help you get better control

THink it also depends on your GP and their prescribing protocopls as to how many inhaler's they'll happily issue - I get 2x ventolin each itme no probs but only 1 seretide which means I have to get that each month! Not sure why they can't doubnle up on both but they said it's to check I'm not underusing the preventer??

Good luck and hope you get sorted


You said you saw a locum gp well most locums will not mess with amounts on repeat scripts.

You need to see either your own GP or insist on seeing the surgery asthma nurse.

As an asthmatic you have the right to access either a nurse who's asthma trained or gp who is asthma trained.

Ventolin (or Bricanyl) inhalers should always be prescribed in 2's for safety.

What happens if you loose one etc etc.

Every GP I know scripts 2 at a minimum.

I'd definitely go to see your own gp and get it sorted.


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