Newly Diagnosed patient

Hi everyone! I'm new to the forum as I was diagnosed with asthma just yesterday! I was told my cough I'd been experiencing was due to allergic asthma! I have a tonne of questions and would love if anyone could enlighten me, or just give me some advice, as I didn't receive a lot of information at the docs! I was prescribed a blue reliever and a brown preventer along with a nasal spray for my sinuses/allergies. I was just wondering how long before inhalers start to take some affect, I am getting some relief from my blue inhaler, but still coughing on occasion and during the night, I've noticed it gets worse when I'm in stuffy environments usually work!

Any other advice would be so beneficial and I'd really appreciate it!

Thank you :)

12 Replies

  • Hi KK,


    The brown preventer inhaler usually takes a couple of weeks, or even a month, to really be making a difference. The more disciplined you are about taking it the quicker you'll feel the benefits.

    The blue inhaler should give you instant relief, but will only work for a short period (around 4 hours), and can only dilate the tubes in your lungs. Most people with allergic asthma also find that their lungs produce sticky white or clear mucus, and the blue inhaler can't get rid of this, it can only make it a bit easier to cough up. Over time the brown inhaler will reduce this sticky mucus, but it's not instant.

    Does your practice have an asthma nurse? It would be a good idea to have a session with them in a week or two (or sooner if you're worried) as they can give you a written asthma plan and answer lots of questions. Another great source of advice is Boots pharmacies - they can review inhaler technique with you.

    Did they give you a 'spacer' tube with your inhalers? These make it much easier to take your inhalers correctly and ensure that more of the drug ends up in your lungs and less on the back of your throat. If you don't have one then drop a note in to your GP to get a prescription for one - though if you pay prescription charges the price difference in buying it over the counter is only very minor. Again, the pharmacist, or your asthma nurse, can show you how to use it properly.

    Good luck!

  • Hi,

    I was diagnosed with asthma/small airways disease due to heaven knows what but probably pollution the doc says, and I was given Qvar 100 preventer. After a couple of weeks I noticed my cough wasn't so bad but it wasn't really until about six weeks that I got the full benefit of the Qvar (mind you the cough is back but not nearly so bad this past week - maybe allergies). I asked for a spacer with the inhaler as it's much eaiser to use and one's more likely to inhale the medication into the lungs and not get side efffects such as thrush in the mouth. I use the Qvar just before I brush my teeth morning and evening so that I have got into a good routine and have never forgotten it since it's now connected with tooth brushing time -:) Plus you're supposed to brush the teeth after using the preventer anyway.

  • Thank you both so much! I didn't really get any advice when the Doc diagnosed me, so you've helped a lot! I'm due to meet the nurse in 3 weeks. I am considering getting a spacer until I get used to the inhaler. I'm hoping to see some of the benefits of the inhalers soon, my cough is pretty bad during the day but worse at work, I will be patient and wait it out :-)

  • Like the others I'd recommend spacers, they are really useful as you don't have to time breathing in with exact same moment as pushing down. Maybe ask for one at your appointment with the nurse, also I'd recommend asking the nurse to check your inhaler technique when you go (they should anyway but sometimes forget) that way you can find out early if you are doing things correctly.

    Hopefully the medication should ge tyour symptoms under control and make life a bit easier,

    best of luck,


  • Hi kk, like you I am new to asthma (april of this year) and find the it a bit scary at the lack of information given and of course when i was asked do you have any questions .... I couldn't think of any!

    I was given Symbicort by the consultant at the R.V.I but if anything I think my cough is worse but I know new meds can take a while to be in system and working properly.

    Lloyds pharmacy offer an asthma check up it might be worth going to see them to see if inhalers etc are used right. At home I use a spacer for my blue inhaler as its much easier as you can just breathe rather than trying to hold your breath when coughing but its not practical at work.

    This site has been good for information and of course everyone has been new to asthma at some point and can offer advise..


  • If you haven't done so already you should call the asthma nurse helpline. When I was diagnosed in 2008 they were very helpful when I was first ill and when I was having tests to see what exactly was wrong with me ( Asthma or COPD) and then when I was I'll again just before I was definitively diagnosed. The specialist I saw told me that he wanted to be careful when diagnosing adult onset asthma. So I had a lot of x-rays and different tests, the nurse helpline was invaluable :)

    Hope you feel better soon,

  • hi

    it might be beneficial to get a prepayment certificate for your prescriptions and this includes your spacer. Its about £30 for 3 monthy and over £100 for 12 monthly. My personal opinion its disgusting we have to pay anyway we should be given free medication, anyway don't get me started on that one lol

  • I'd rather pay £10 per month (as I do!) than at LEAST 10x£7.85 lol. I agree its not ideal, but I'd rather this than nothing lol!!!

  • I've never had an issue with paying £10 a month for getting on for £100 of prescriptions. And that's a prescription cost, actual drug costs is significantly more.

  • I looked at the actual cost of my meds once (not easy, but i looked at American sites and stuff as well as newspaper articles taking about it etc to give a rough idea) and I cant remember how much the raw cost of my meds was monthly is, but I know that each month my scripts would have cost more than a years pre-payment certificate. I currently have a HC2 form so i'm alright, but I don't really think i'll have much trouble finding enough for a pre-payment certificate once I'm no longer eligable for that. I think the annoying part is that some people get it free, and others don't. I know people on far less meds than me (people who only get a couple of scripts a year type thing) but are on the list of except conditions so get all their stuff free. And i get that that is frustrating. I suspect asthma won't ever be on the list because there are far too many people just take a blue inhaler, the only way asthma would get it if they had ""asthma whilst under a cons"" type statements! I am trying to work out if my adrenal thing makes me eligable for free scripts, i think it does, but only if its not going to reverse itself (again - it would feel very weird that i would get all my asthma stuff free, based on the fact that i need one script a month) I think it wouldn't be an issue if everyone had to pay, its because some people with some conditions dont have to pay!

  • I looked once too. This is what I recall. My seretide inhaler is about £62 (and I have two a month as on double dose), singulair is about £30, i think 28 pred was something like £1.87, ventolin £2, don't know how much my uniphyllin, cetirizine and omeprazole costs but it all adds up. In many countries you have to pay the full cost of your meds, and eevry visit to gp etc. Personally I'm very greatful to have the NHS.

  • This really sparked my interest (so was REALLY sad and worked out the relative costs!) - for me a pre payment certificate of £104 goes nowhere towards the cost of my medication.

    Per month (if I paid monthly!) it would cost me £86.35 in prescription charges

    The cost per month of the actual drugs I take would be £207.28. So even If I paid prescription charges I would only pay 42% of the cost of this - even at this not bad!!

    Over the year (this is assuming I will stay on the same meds etc - so really only accurate for now) the cost of my medicines would be £2487.36, so with the prepayment certificate I pay 0.04% of what the cost of this is to the NHS.

    I really don't think I can complain!! We don't even have to pay to see medically trained people - which is unfortunately all too often. This isn't even a token gesture, glad that I can also work to enable National Insurance contribution!

    Thank you NHS!

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