Asthma UK community forum

Using Pred away from UK with no access to advice! (sorry for repost!)

Hey, I'm currently backpacking. I'm five months in to an eight month trip, and before i left home i went to the docs to get some Pred 'just in case'. I had very severe asthma when i was younger, and so am familiar with using Pred following attacks, however when i was put on to Symbicort about 6 or 7 years ago, my asthma changed for the better and I haven't had any emergencies since.

I am currently in rural northern Vietnam, the closest proper city about 10/12 hours away. For a couple of days i've been using my inhaler more than usual, and then last night i found the wheeze wasn't going away with the use of the inhalers - i know these symptoms all too well following too many attacks when i was younger, and so have started the pred this morning after i woke up wheezy.

So ... i can't remember, do i continue using the Symbicort? I seem to remember back in the old days using the becotide and ventolin together every few hours throughout the day following attacks, but can't remember if this was at the same time as the Pred, or if i stopped the inhalers completely to allow the Pred to work?

Also, the packet states to take 8 tablets a day for 5 days, which will use my entire supply - do i do the whole course even if i start to feel better by tomorrow? I'm scared of using them all up now and then having a proper attack some time in the future before i get home.

Any advice appreciated ... thanks!

8 Replies

Hi Melanie,

I am on Symbicort and continue using it as normal with the pred, and always use the whole course of pred. I know others on here have far more experience than me but, as no replies yet, thought i would reply to you.



Hi Melanie. I agree with Jac - I've recently finished a course of pred and used it with my usual meds not instead of them. Also, I believe you should always complete the full course to get the best effect. Are you likely to be going anywhere near a hospital or doctor's surgery in the short term - it would probably make sense to replenish your emergency pred as soon as possible.

I hope it all goes well.



I just wanted to say that I've done a bit of backpacking myself, and ran into trouble once in Norway and Sweden as it was raining a lot, and some of youth hostels were in basements. Hope you start to feel better soon!



I think it would make sense to take it for a minimum of 3 days. You should be able to re-stock Pred easily from any town (rather than city). However, I have had various fake antibiotics across Asia, and would advise you to try to get Pred from a pharmacy attached to a hospital/private clinic, AND buy another course from another pharmacy (preferably in a different town!), to maximise your chances of having a course that works. I know that sounds a little bananas, but there's no point in finding out in a remote area that the only Pred you have doesn't have any effect. (3 out of 5 courses of antibiotics I've had in Asia were fake). You can probably buy it over the counter, without a prescription.

If you get worse, contact your travel insurance company, who should be able to point you towards a recommended doctor (relatively) nearby.

Maybe double your Symbicort as well, and keep it high until you feel better and/or to a less rural location.

Try to work out what may be triggering this flare (smoke from fires?). I find my lungs cope better with horribly polluted cities rather than really rural smoky/dusty spots - which continues to surprise me.

Take care, good luck. I know the feeling well.


Hey, thank you all for you replies, and thank you C for your advice, it was very helpful! I actually went to a chemist yesterday and bought some more Prednisolone, and noticed that they are yellow (all i've seen in the past have been red!?) but figured it may just be because they don't have the sugar coating. They were also only about £2.50 for 40. I'm off to Hanoi tomorrow, so will seek out another Chemist. Thanks for the top tip!

I think this is probably the last rural place on this trip, we're back on to the 'well travelled' route from tomorrow.

We were ten hours on a bus going through what seemed like a building site, full of dust on the way here, and also the temperature dropped from about 30 degrees in the last place we were in, to about 0 degrees here... all contributing factors i guess.

I'm loads better now, not out of breath in the slightest, although i can still hear a little wheeze on my chest, and am concerened i'm coming down with a cold, so will complete the five days of Preds.

This forum was a god send while i was going though my little panic of 'what ifs' while i couldn't breathe - thankyou all, it's heart breaking to read about all of you out there who are so much worse than me.


Hi Melanie,

I'm glad you're feeling better.

When you said the pred tablets were yellow, the thing that sprung to mind is to be totally sure what dose they are. You're right - they're probably not coated, or differently coated (I couldn't even get hold of coated pred tablets in America - weird! They are white.), but I think the red colour in the UK is an indication of them being 5mg. Maybe check with the next pharmacist, just incase you've managed to buy 20mg tablets.

Enjoy the rest of your trip.



Hi Mel. Hope you continue to improve and stay well. I watched the top gear programme the other day from Vietnam. It reminded me that when I was in mountain area of north vietnam that actually I did have some problems due to all the fires. And also the trek up a mountain at high speed. A local set pace I was at back huffing and puffing. But on whole I was much better in Vietnam and it has continued to stay that way til work gave me horride shift pattern. Vietnam is amazing country hope to explore some more one day. People lovely. Good to know your fellow mancunian! Take care


in the uk

pred comes in 1 2 5 10 and 20mg tablets and the 5mg tablets both white and red depending on if they are coated or not. also, with the 5mg the colour also depends on the packagine i.e. who makes them.

the soluble 5mg ones are pink.

the 20mg are white.

x x


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