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Preventers make it harder for me to breathe. Does this happen to anyone else?



I have been an asthmatic from my early years. (I am nearing retirement now). Three times I have tried preventers but had to stop - becotide twice and seretide once. Each time I had the same symptoms. I am relating these symptoms how I see them in my mind. I have no idea what is happening in my lungs - just my symptoms. During these times I also took ventolin. I am asking because I am thinking of trying again but before I do, I want to know if anyone else has had similar symptoms with preventers. I continue to take Ventolin as it works very well for me.

My symptoms when using a preventer:-

My chest starts to feel drier with the ease of coughing up the phlegm after using ventolin much harder. Before using the preventer the phlegm is loose and easy to cough up, coming straight into my mouth (forgive the gross description) where I usually swallow it. With the preventer it's harder to cough loose from my lungs and then it gets stuck in my voice box. I then cough and cough until it comes right up.

As the weeks continue, this gets worse. It becomes much harder to free the phlegm from my voice box and I get to the stage where I feel it may not loosen and I can't breathe in or out. My voice becomes hoarse from trying to cough the phlegm free from the voice box and I become increasingly scared that I may not free it the next time. It is at this stage approximately 2 months after commencing the treatment that I quit. The last time I tried it, I held on as long as I could but finally stopped as it was getting worse not better.

I have lived quite well just using ventolin but after a particularly bad bout of flu a number a years ago it took ages to build myself back up.

I am interested to know if anyone else has had similar symptoms.

Many Thanks for your ideas.

13 Replies
EmmaF91Community Ambassador


I never had this issue with inhalers, tho I used to struggle with actually using it which resolved when I tried dry powder inhalers (my lungs would tighten every time I’d use it and I felt like I immediately coughed it out - I was fine with ventolin). I also tried an inhaler once that dried out my nasal passages and sinus cavities, but that resolved once I changed brands/steroid base.

Mucus production is a sign of poorly controlled asthma, but if you’ve had it for a while/if it’s caused by something else, your body may not know how to ‘revert to the norm’ again. I know when I have difficult to shift mucus I get prescribed carbocisteine and regularly steam to help things shift... if you talk to your doc you could maybe ask about getting some carbo to see if that helps with the situation until your body adapts...

I hope that helps and that thinks work out better for you this time!

Tugun in reply to EmmaF91

Many thanks for the info Emma. It'll help when I try them again. Much appreciated.

hargest in reply to EmmaF91

thank you I thimk u hit the nail on the head ive flam al the time and I using 206 semcote.i ask my asthma nurse for carbocisteime

hargest in reply to hargest

symbicote makes u cough and irrition throat im 64 I had mild asthma

My current combination inhaler (Symbicort) can cause throat irritation and a stuffy nose. I know I at times need to really clear my throat in the morning. But overall it helps me so much with my asthma I am willing to put up with that.

My previous preventer was Clenil Modulite, and that I could not take without coughing a lot. If I used it without a spacer my coughing was paroxysmal, with a spacer it was still very irritating, but less bad. I now know that even were my asthma to improve so much that I no longer need Symbicort I would say a firm no to Clenil. But that was me. I don’t think that happens to most people.

Tugun in reply to Wheezycat

Thanks Wheezycat - It's good to hear about other experiences. it all helps to put the pieces in the puzzle.

I've recently been prescribed Seretide. Before that, using Clenil Modulite I could not take it without coughing. I'm fine with taking seretide. Perhaps you need a change of inhaler ?

Hope you are feeling ok.

Thanks DeePh.

You might be reacting to the propellant in the medication. I feel much worse when using a pressurised inhaler. There are powdered inhalers which do not have the same problem but then bad reactions can happen to powder forms for some people. There are also fluorides in the preventers which are toxic.

Tugun in reply to 444nM

Thanks 444nM.

I also am allergic to the propellant. It gives me severe asthma! I now use Ventolin Rotacaps (powder form) instead of the pressurized form of ventolin. I was worried when I moved over that the powder wouldn't work as well, but I had no problems with it and it's been over 20 years now on the rotacaps. I have to get them ordered in to the chemist shop ( I have a constant order in two chemist shops in case one forgets - [has happened]) but there have been no real problems.

With the preventers, two did have a propellant but one was powder form and I still had the same problems. It's a pain but I can't seem to take them.

Hi Tugun, rotocaps have been unavailable where l live so l use an alternative delivery system. I can get ventolin accuhaler which is powdered salbutamol sulphate. The problem is that lactose is used and added to the powder. Gargling with water is necessary after use. The contraption is flying saucer shaped with60 metered doses. Another identical contraption contains a powdered steroid. The problem with steroid inhalers or steroid tablets is the way they 'work'. Inflammation is reduced by steroids by lowering the body's immune response and therefore lowered histamine etc, but by lowering the immune response the body is more prone to infections. Histamine is a nerve transmitter which is also needed for the brain and nervous system to function fully. The other detrimental effect of steroid medication is the thinning of bone ans cell apoptosis in tendons. The tendons slowly thin and are prone to rupturing when exposed to sudden heavy loads.

Tugun in reply to 444nM

Hi 44nM,

Interesting. I checked my rotacaps and they also have lactose but I haven't had any problems with them. When I was looking this up I found the information about paradoxical bronchospasm. This was interesting because I don't get it - even if I have ventolin every 10 - 15 minutes when I have a severe chest infection. I must admit the 10 - 15 minutes is short term. Usually about an hour and a half or two hours - until the breathing is easier. The only time I ever got paradoxical bronchospasm was when the CFC Ventolin came out and it gave me bad asthma with exactly the symptoms described for paradoxical bronchospasm. I'm wondering if it is the propellant. Not having been on a preventer would mean that I would be more susceptible to anything that I was allergic to and the preventer wouldn't be mitigating the allergic response.

I haven't been able to take the preventer but, while I would like to live without the daily intake of ventolin, I am glad that I don't have the side effects of long term steroid use. Just a precaution, if you are taking daily ventolin, serum potassium levels need to be monitored every year or so. Mine are sometimes on the low end of normal but nothing to be worried about.

Thanks for your information. All the best.

444nM in reply to Tugun

That's very interesting. There is a fluoride component in the powdered steroid Flixotide which is fluticasone propionate as well as a major component in CFC chloro/fluoro/carbon. Most medication, even not for asthma contains fluorine analogues. Why do they include fluorine salts? It is deliberately included, there is no need for the most electrically negative halogen to be anywhere near the body. It is highly toxic. It will displace iodine from the body, iodine is needed in every cell, not only for the thyroid gland. Chlorine is the next most electrically negative element and it too will displace iodine. These two halogens are toxic and may result in the defensive constriction of the breathing tubes if they are sensed by the immune system. The breathing tubes to the lungs can also close up when carbon dioxide is too low in the lungs. The carbon dio ide level in the lungs is optimal at 6%. If you overbreathe then too much CO2 is lost, the brain will sense this and close the bronchioles to conserve CO2 and CO2 pressure in the bloodstream. Breathing into a paper bag or using the Buteyko method can rectify loss of CO2. Once the levels of CO2 increas the tubes will relax and dilate back to normal. CO2 acts as a pro-hormone and regulates oxygen handling by the red blood cells. Without CO2 pressure in the bloodstream no oxygen can be released by haemoglobin where it is needed in all cells of the body. This is called the Verigo/Bohr effect. All the best.

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