Seretide makes breathing worse

Hi all,

I'm new to the site and quite new to asthma control as I was only diagnosed as an adult. I'm having problems with my medication and I'm also doubting the asthma diagnosis and was hoping for some advice.

I've been really active my whole life, running, athletics, tennis; in my late 20s I started to struggle to the point where I couldn't even jog, I'd be so tired, my legs would feel like lead, I'd be out of breath and I'd just want to fall over and sleep where I was. GP did all the usual tests (thyroid, anaemia) all of which were fine.

I have a history of allergies and took piriton for years; my allergies were mostly skin where I'd get urticaria if didn't take the piriton. So my GP thought it was asthma and put me on a course of oral steroids (prednisolone). They seemed to help, well actually they helped with my allergies, it was great, I had no rashes, itching but I wasn't suddenly able to start exercising again, I stil had the tiredness.

Also, I never had any problems with the peak measurements, they weren't lower than expected and I kept the diary before, during and after the steroids but there wasn't really any change.

After that I was put on a 250 seretide inhaler, 2 puffs twice a day and was given a ventolin. That was over 7 years ago and I've never gotten my fitness back or recovered my energy levels. When I went to the GP they increased it to a 500 seretide 2 puffs twice a day.

I stopped taking the seretide almost a year ago and hardly ever used the ventolin. The only times I've felt the need to use the ventolin is in really hot and humid environments. I started working in London city centre about 2 months ago and was finding myself a little breathless, not enough to use the ventolin, so I went to the GP about 3 weeks ago and was told to go back on the seretide. I told the GP that it makes my breathing worse but he insisted it's only irritating in my throat after use.

Well not only is my breathing worse but I've had a number of incidents where I've felt like I couldn't breathe. Felt like my airways were closing up and like I just couldn't suck air in. I've had to use the ventolin during these incidents. That has only ever happened on seretide. It happened before which is what made me stop taking it and it's not throat irritation because it happens hours after I've taken it.

Any help or advice would be much appreciated and apologies for the war and peace post!!

8 Replies

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  • At the very least, rinse out your mouth and try to gargle after seretide puff. Also try using a spacer such as an aerohaler. Your GP should be able to prescribe one.

    Best wishes,

    GM

  • Hi Julz and welcome!

    Can see why that would be frustrating and you'd be doubting the diagnosis - not a dr or anything and even if I were couldn't diagnose online, but perhaps you have asthma plus something else going on which needs diagnosing? Or I've read on here that some people have problems with the propellant used in certain inhalers - again, just throwing it out there.

    Either way you obviously need to sort it and get some proper help and someone to pay attention as the breathing probs especially don't sound good. Would say first of all, see a different GP! It's not much good seeing someone who refuses to listen to what you're saying and take note of your actual symptoms. So probably a good idea to try another GP in the practice if you can - I'd suggest the asthma nurse but as you want to discuss diagnosis this is probably not really what the asthma nurse is for.

    Also (and I often say this a lot) it might be worth giving the adviceline here a ring (number top left) - they probably know a lot more about asthma and medications than your GP does and are more likely to know whether or not Seretide could be causing some of your problems. I also find them very easy to talk to and good at listening - worth ringing them before you go back to the GP, perhaps, as they can also advise on what questions to ask etc, what you should do.

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  • Hi Julz

    I found your post very interesting. I was diagnosed with asthma about 6 years ago, aged 45, and prescribed Seretide 50 immediately. My symptoms (cough) worsened over time and I returned to the GP, whereupon I was prescribed Seretide 100, again my symptoms worsened and so on until I was taking Seretide 250. By this time I was having 4 chest infections every year, feeling very poorly, and taking a lot of time off work, having only ever had 2 chest infections in my whole life (up to the age of 45) before taking Seretide. When I challenged my GP he refused to listen to my argument that the medication was making my symptoms worse. Eventually I changed my GP and told my new GP I thought the Seretide was making me worse. He said 'Ok lets stop it now, and see what happens'. So I did, and within days I felt 100% better, my cough was greatly reduced, and most importantly that was two and a half years ago and I have not had a chest infection since. I have had a couple of colds but they haven't progressed to anything more than runny nose, sore throat, and mild cough. I certainly have not had any time off sick from work during this time.

    I am just about to call the helpline as I have noticed my cough has worsened in recent months and want to enquire as to what alternatives to inhaled steroids may be available. I recently saw a different GP because of this, and she prescribed me Beclamethasone which, within a few days I noticed was giving me a different cough - different to the asthmatic cough I mean (despite washing my mouth out afterwards) so I immediately stopped taking it. I can't contemplate being as ill as i was on Seretide again, it was awful.

    Good luck with finding some different treatment. I do take Singulair (Montelukast 10mg) tablets daily and find this helps.

  • If you read the patient information leaflet that comes with your meds, you might find something called paradoxical bronchospasm (think that's right) listed. It is not unheard of for the meds to cause this. I would suggest that you give the asthma uk nurses a call and see if they can help. Otherwise I would suggest either that you try a different inhaler or ask for a referral to a respiratory consultant. Good luck.

  • You could ask for an alternative or for the accuhaler version and see if that makes a difference, def agree the asthma uk nurses might be worth a try then you could go to the gp armed with info! I currently have to swap between the different kinds of Seretide as my lungs object to the propellant and to the lactose in the powder one hope you get it sorted x

  • I'm allergic to Salbutamol (Ventolin) and Salmeterol (which is in the Seretide).

    Actually, it's not a true allergy, just that I'm extra sensitive to one of the components of the drug.

    You could ask your doctor or asthma nurse if you can try an inhaler with a different combination of steroid/long acting reliever (e.g. Symbicort) or try taking the two types of inhaler separately rather than in combination (as they are in Seretide), or as Midgie suggests, you could ask to try it in a different form (turbohaler, accuhaler, etc.) or use a spacer in case the inhaler or one of its ingredients is irritating your throat or airways.

    Good luck!

  • Hello Julz

    Sorry to hear that you aren't at full strength.

    I was terrible on Seretide too (though appreciate that lots of people find Seretide great).

    It was as if the medication was working on my lungs at set intervals during the day and that was when I got much worse. I felt as if I couldn't fully fill my right lung with air and I could barely walk anywhere without feeling the need to sit down with exhaustion.

    I came off it a few months ago and I am now on Fostair which I understand is a long acting inhaler but with different medicines to Seretide and with finer particles (don't quote me on all that though!). My breathing is much better and I can walk comfortably. I am still feeling odd for a few hours after taking Fostair so seem to be having some sort of reaction to this inhaler too but I am lots more comfortable than when I was on Seretide!

    I hope your GP will offer you a different inhaler to try out.

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