Asthma UK community forum

Tired after exacerbation - is it partly due to salbutamol or what?

Hi all!

I am new to this forum and glad having found it.

The last 3 years my asthma has been in remission and as I have allergic asthma primarily, I only took a very low dose of inhaled steroid to help me in the spring and summer months with much pollen in the air and did not need to take any asthma medication in autumn and winter months (from Sep-Jan). I was totally off inhaled steroids and other asthma medication when at the end of January, I caught a very nasty virus affecting both stomach and lungs. I got an acid reflux after it and severe cough attacks. They have gotten so severe that in the last 2 weeks I experienced 4 asthmatic attacks.

I went to my GP who told me to restart my asthma medications in my summer dose. This obviously wasn't sufficient as 3 days ago, I got another attack. I doubled the dose of preventer and also took salbutamol before inhaling the corticosteroid. My attacks are usually mild but long-lasting and only the last 2 days I felt that my situation improves but I am totally exhausted. I sometimes feel totally smashed, and it's since I take salbutamol 3x daily. When something fell down, I got so unnerved and aggressive, not being able to take anything more. Do you know this effect of salbutamol? Does it make you kind of more exhausted and less resilient to stress? Or is it due to the exacerbation only?

I sometimes feel quite unprotected without my preventer in winter as I know that cough infections can reactivate my asthma. However, I am glad that I do not have to take medications all over the year.. Nevertheless, it can leave me in a much more vulnerable position and even aggravate my asthma maybe? It has gotten from grade 1 to grade 3 at the moment. Now that the pollen start, I maybe should keep up this dose until sooner or later and then reduce?


4 Replies

I have never heard of this being an effect of salbutamol, although i do find i can become highly agitated and irritable when my asthma is severe - particularly while i am waiting for ambulances i can feel a bit 'out of sorts' and not able to cope like i usually would. Think thats mainly due to the stress of the situation and having to work so hard to breathe. I could also believe that irritability is a symptom of blood gases being off, but i'm not sure if im just making that up! Asthma attacks completely exhaust me - i have never know fatigue like it the days after a severe one! it may just be that!

I think you should go back to your GP, i know no-one wants to be on meds all year, but it'll make you much less vulnerable to a severe exacerbation - and it may be worth it in the long run! Hope you are feeeling much better soon. The preventer takes a few days to build up in your system so hopefully it'll be working soon. but dont be worried about going back to your GP, it may be that you need a short course of oral steroids to pick you back up after this attack, or something - better to see GP that end up in A&E, although dont be afraid to ring the little green men if inhalers arent helping you! feel better soon!!!


I agree with soph that if you feel really exhausted its probs just the effort and stress of the asthma itself. Though some people find the reliever makes their heart raye go up wich can also leave you feeling tired. I hope things improve for you soon. Take care.

Rose xx


Being exhausted and tired can be a result of the virus or the exacerbation of asthma or a combination of both. I very much dought it's anything to do with the salbutamol. I hope you're feeling better soon.


Hi all!

Thanks for your replies. It does good to know that there is someone who understands. I sometimes have the feeling of being alone and nobody really understands me. Especially my partner doesn't seem to understand my problems.

Yes, probably it is the exacerbation that makes me feel exhausted and the virus who got me knocked out for 2-3 weeks now. Now I have reflux problems after this nasty virus. The asthma feels like under control now but I will go back to my GP, you are right.

Last time I was seeing my GP, she said that I wasn't quite obstructive but this was after having taken 3x salbutamol as I had an asthma attack in the morning and didn't want to wait to 'show' her as I only got an appointment late in the afternoon... Then she said, OK, it's an exacerbation and wrote me sick for the rest of the week. However, she didn't say anything about my further treatment but referred me to my pulmologist. However, I only got an appointment at her practice for 5th March. Now I take the medication in this dose until I get a new lung function test at the pulmologist's. Sadly my GP seems to be unsure about my asthma and as I haven't requested salbutamol for the last 2 years, she first refused to prescribe it to me...

I will also need to follow up on my reflux now. I will have to lose some weight around my stomach and have to take care of my food intake. Then another referral to the gastroenterologist's.

Thanks, yeany


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