Asthma UK community forum
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Worried about current situation


I have had asthma all my life. Most of the time I had no symptoms, lately, it has been very bad - keeping me awake and coughing a lot. I get breathless very easily now.

I was on Seretide 250 and Ventolin. Had a bad spell (needed several nebulisers over the last few weeks), now got a haemophilus chest infection and the doctor has put me on prednisolone, changed my Seretide to Symbicort and gave two more weeks of antibiotics.

I am a bit worried about weight gain on the prednisolone as well as what side affects symbicort has.

Is there any advice anyone can give me? One thing that worried me was the interaction of symbicort with alcohol - I don't drink during the week. Friday and Saturday nights I usually have 1-2 bottles of beer (I am definately a lightweight now!).

Sorry for what sounds a bit like a whinge. Feeling pretty rough and need a bit of help. :(


PS, wanted to clarify this (brain is definitely not running right today!) the alcohol wasn't the reason I was worried - just general side effects of symbicort.

7 Replies

Hi James,

Welcome to the forum. Are you on a short course of prednisolone? If so, the side effects are short-lived and it does not affect your weight.

The symbicort does the same as seretide., ie steroid to calm the airways and long lasting reliever to help with symptoms. The long lasting reliever also acts quicker than the one in seretide I believe. I hope everything is beginning to help and you feel better soon.

I can't answer the alcohol question as I don't drink but if you put in the word 'alcohol' in the search for topics there have been several posts about it.


Hi James, sorry you are having a rotten time. I have had the same type of chest infection as you so I know how you feel. I was on 8 a day pred for almost 3 weeks before it was slowly tapered down, I was convinced I had a 'steroid moon face' but family and friends assured me I didn't.

I am on the symbicort 400/12 smart regime and have no problems with alcohol, like you I don't drink much anyway but I do find my chest goes tight when I drink cider.

When I first started symbicort I had the shakes... Which was noticeable at work when I held a sheet of paper in my hand but after 2 weeks it become less and then stopped all together.

Are you still on ventalin/salamol blue inhaler? I was worried using symbicort for maintain and reliever but feel so much better using just symbicort only now (apart from at the min I have pleurisy).

An out of hours dr once said that asthma is best treated with all dry inhalers or all wet/gas type inhalers as when you combine both it's difficult to get the balance right,

Make sure you rinse your mouth after using symbicort to stop you getting oral thrush because of the steroid, and I hope you start to feel better soon.



Well, wasn't expecting that. Just got out of hospital after a weeks admission. Got pnuemonia and The doctors kept using the terms difficult asthma and brittle asthma.

Now on mucodyne, aminophylline, tiotropium, symbicort and ventolin.

My asthma didn't really respond to nebs at all for several eays, almost went into respiratory arrest last Friday and 7 nebs in a row plus aminophyllline + oxygen therapy and steroids were the only things that stopped it.

To say I am rather worried now is an understatement. How could things change so quickly?

Thy also said I might have bronchiectstasis?

One more thing, saline nebs really help mucus loosening, anyone know which neb machine would be best for salty water and. Where can I get the saline from?

Sorry for whine, feel rotten and really shattered...


Welcome !

Sorry to hear you had such a rough time. Glad to hear you are home again.

Saline: Ask your GP for a prescription for medical saline to use in your nebulizer.

And no need to apologize for the ""whine"" - you've had a rough time and supporting each other through such nastiness is one reason we are all here participating in this forum.

Hope you feel better soon!


Hi James,

I have previously been diagnosed with bronchiectasis. If this is a concern, its really important that they diagnose this properly via CT scan and treat it thoroughly. To avoid worsening of the condition, it needs long term treatment and often physiotherapy to reduce further infection and lung damage - which can start a vicious circle.

I have had saline to help with mucous expectoration. There are two types of saline which are used - normal saline and hypertonic saline (I've had both). For someone with asthma, caution should be used when nebulising saline initially as it can cause bronchospasm (asthma attack). Depending on your degree of asthma this is often trialled in hospital first, with pre and post lung function testing. Any neb can handle salty water, I've used both my portaneb and my little omron micro air portable neb with no problems. The prescribing of saline should ideally be discussed with respiratory physio/hospital consultant particularly if they are considering bronchiectasis. Its often used in conjunction with respiratory exercises called ACBT to help you get rid of mucous deep in the lungs. Another thing which is used to help expectorate mucous is an acapella device (causes vibration in the lungs with positive expiratory pressure) to shake mucous loose - again, a specialist respiratory physio can discuss the pro's and con's of this with you. I've found it useful.

Feel better soon,



Thanks to everyone who replied, it really helps to hear from fellow asthmatics (I don;t know anyone else who has it apart from my young nephew).

It's been quite the ordeal but I'm feeling better now. Even considering returning back to work after the bank holiday.

Still a little dazed and confused regarding the change in my asthma but the consultant said that this can happen from time to time.

Does anyone know how long a high res CT takes and do you have to hold your breath?




Hi res CT doesnt take long at all, and you only have to hold your breath for short periods. Its fairly boring lol


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