Ventolin didn't seem to work - Asthma UK communi...

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Ventolin didn't seem to work


In the early hours of the 27th December I had a severe asthma attack that put me in hospital. My peak flow reading was less than 120 even though I'd taken Ventolin through my spacer and the paramedics put me on the nebuliser. The reading hadn't gone up by the time I got to hospital. My usual peak flow reading is usually 450.

What I found worrisome is that the Ventolin didn't seem to help me at all. I kept doing what I should as I should. I wonder if, because my peak flow reading was so low, the Ventolin didn't work. It concerns me that it might well happen again.

7 Replies

I think thats quite normal during an attack, i know from experience when im having an acute attack my ventolin does nothing. I can't say why the nebuliser didnt increase peakflow as luckily i usually get treated with a couple of nebs first before im subjected to a peak flow.

Asthma attacks all vary in intensity, it might be this one was a little more intense than others. I have had attacks where one neb has sorted me right through to needing 4 nebs and iv treatments. Unfortunatly asthma is very variable.

Hope your on the mend

Mel xx

Thank you Melanie for getting back to me. I will be making an appointment with the asthma nurse in the not too distant future. I do feel better than I did thank you. xx

Oh and also make sure you have a review of your asthma medication you might need it adjusting!

Yes Ventolin not working is one sign of an attack for me. My peak flow is a fairly useless measure for me as it doesn't seem to have much relation to what's going on, but I know things are definitely getting worse when my peak flow either doesn't go up in response to Ventolin (even if the number itself is reasonable) or goes up briefly then drops again. When I am.admitted I know I am getting better when it goes up after nebs and stays therr for longer- the drs also use that as a guide.

Like Melanie1989 my attacks vary in what they need (most often a load of nebs plus IV these days) but the Ventolin not working at all is a sign I need to call someone and probably go to hospital. Warning signs for me are Ventolin wearing off very quickly and/or needing loads to get just a little improvement.

Glad you're feeling better and I agree that your medication might need some adjustments after that attack!

Thank you Lysistrata. I didn't think that Ventolin wouldn't ever work but I shall be aware next time. Although I've had attacks in the past I've never had one on that scale and I always assumed Ventolin would work. I will see the asthma nurse and work things out for next time, including medication adjustments.

I appreciate you getting back to me.

If you are also prescribed a Duel Inhaler (one that includes both a steroid and a long acting beta agonist, such as Fostair) you may sometimes find (as I did on more than one occasion) that the Long Acting Beta Agonist in the Duel Inhaler ‘seemed’ to help more than the Ventolin Inhaler although I often use both kinds of inhaler in close proximity to get me through tough patches. Note, Im not suggesting you don’t use the Ventolin (as that is the rescue inhaler most of us are advised to use in emergency).

Maybe ask your GP if you can have a Duel Inhaler in addition to your Ventolin Inhaler, even if only to have as a standby. If you get insufficient relief no matter what technique / regime you use, then either ring the NHS Help Line for guidance or, if really bad, the Emergency Line. Note, if the NHS Help Line Service Front Desk Staff, elevate your call to a Doctor Call Back, it can often take a fair while for the Doctor to ring you (I waited 30 to 60 Minutes). So, if you’re extremely poorly, you might not want to risk waiting that long for a Doctor to ring you, in which case you ought to be thinking about a 999 Call.

Thank you Matman for getting back to me.

I was on Seretide for a few years then the asthma nurse changed it to Fostair a few months ago. I have found it more helpful than Seretide and I am glad that I can take extra doses when I need to. I do realise that you aren't suggesting not using Ventolin. :)

I got so bad that I felt that 999 was the best option. Family member called for me.

I will bear in mind what you've said and will try that next time.

Thank you.

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