Allergic to inhalers. Is there an alt... - Asthma UK communi...

Asthma UK community forum

16,502 members21,075 posts

Allergic to inhalers. Is there an alternative?


Is there an alternative to inhaling the clenil and salbutamol? They give me so much trouble. My job is lecturing and I constantly have a croaking voice due to the inhalers. So I stopped taking them.

I recently restarted and still the same problem but also, I have the most dreadful sore tongue and throat. Can I be allergic to them? They don;t seem to be controlling my asthma anyway.

I seem to be stuck on coughing and trying to clear my throat but I cannot get enough air in there to cough anything out. Gone on for weeks now and my neck muscles ache with continuous attempts to clear it.

21 Replies

I wouldn't say it sounds like an allergy but inhalers, especially the steroid ones like Clenil, can cause hoarseness, croakiness and so on.

Do you rinse your mouth after using them? If so, or if that doesn't help, it would be worth discussing with your GP or asthma nurse as there are other types of inhaler (such as dry powder ones rather than the aerosol/press button ones) which some people find better.

Regarding them seemingly not helping, do you monitor your peak flow? It would be useful to do this regularly as this can help to show if medication is working or not (alongside a symptom diary).

This post covers peak flow in some detail if you are new to it:

Talking a lot, as you do for work, can cause hoarseness and also asthma-like symptoms (ie symptoms identical to those on asthma but asthma meds don't work), eg in vocal cord dysfunction (VCD).

JackLina in reply to twinkly29

I think the swollen bright red tongue and constant coughing and allergy symptoms are more likely to suggest allergic reaction. All these began when I restarted using inhalers.

It could be that you don’t tolerate well the steroid in Clenil. I had that inhaler for a while and it made me feel like my throat was blistering. Then I had Fostair which has a same component as Clenil and that was terrible too. Now I have seretide which isn’t great but has fewer side effects and I use a spacer which also helps to minimise the side effects. (I also have Spiriva and Ventolin and use the spacer with those too) I hope you can get something that suits you better.

Thank you. I hop that's the case with me also. I stopped Clenil yesterday. This morning I used neither. My tongue feels less swollen and not s red. Definitely improved. I'm getting a phone appointment with gp Friday a.m. Hope to find alternative to doing this.

p.s. Already use a spacer. Vocal cords are shot! ATB

I agree with both previous replies, but it is also worth checking if you may have a bit of oral thrush, a possible side effect from steroid inhalers. To protect against it, always rinse and gargle after your Clenil, twice, and spit it out, don’t swallow.

If I talk a lot I often get croaky. I have no specific remedy, but make sure you have water handy, and perhaps an otc throat lozenge.

JackLina in reply to Wheezycat

Thank you. I do that but to no avail. also rinse regularly with Listerine extra.


Wheezycat in reply to JackLina

For what it is worth, I couldn’t tolerate Clenil. I didn’t have your reactions, but coughed madly each time I used it even with a spacer. I didn’t flag it up (stupid of me as I may well have coughed up much of the steroid as well) but when I went on to stronger stuff I no longer had the problem, so whatever the gas bit was clearly was an irritant to me. Now I would refuse Clenil if that were ever suggested again. So, yes, we are all slightly different, and I would bring it up with your Gp to try something different.

Drink plenty of fluids to help loosen the stuff you are trying to cough

I never stop drinking water, herbal and fruit infusions etc. Due to my other medication (interferon ) I suffer flu like symptoms continually. The drug dehydrates and water by the gallon to overcome the many side effects.

Yesterday, I stopped taking my inhalers. Immediate easing of swollen and sore tongue.

I have very bad post nasal drip in addition to my asthma. If you check it out on the internet you can see if that might be contributing to your symptoms? Bit of a long shot, but at least you could rule it out!!

I also have suffered the same irritating condition for many, many years. Last consultant to deal with that told me, 'don't cough!' Yeah right!

thank you for your interest. Did you ever get anything done about that? Is there anything?

I only started with the post nasal drip in May of this year. I have had perennial rhinitis since 1980's and used either Beconase or Flixonase sprays ever since. Singing is my main hobby, but can barely croak when trying to talk so my singing voice has just disappeared. The constant throat clearing, plus having to spit sticky phlegm out every few minutes has been getting me down. I use a Neti pot for saline nasal/sinus rinses and my respiratory consultant has suggested I try Rinatec nasal spray. Just today picked up one of my new asthma inhalers( Relvar) and pharmacist has ordered the second one as not in stock(Incruse). I will start them tomorrow as have been using my old Serevent today and it doesn't mix with the new ones!! All best wishes for getting sorted out.

Thank you for all this info. I too used to love singing and due to these damn things, I too have little more than a croak. I hope I never find myself in a position where I feel the need to scream because that's gone as well!

Using Beconase a long time ago resulted in a hole in my septum which needed repair. I had it carried out privately and the consultant spoke to me as though I was a junkie! Most offensive. That inhaler has a reputation for causing that it seems. You're lucky to have managed to get rid of that condition. I'll mention that to the GP as well. I hope she's put a long appointment aside for me! All the best and thank yo so much for sharing this.

Wheezycat in reply to JackLina

My husband eventually had problems with Beconase. He used it seasonally for bad hayfever. Eventually he got a backlash once the season was over, became very stuffy and inflamed. Since then he has been on Avamys and he has not had the problem again even after several years.

You might have an intolerance to the propellant in the aerosol, though I can still take salbutamol. I couldn’t take any of the 4 aerosol relievers I tried, so I changed to Symbicort Turbohaler, which is a dry powder, and I can tolerate that. As my GP says “asthma is big business” - because everyone is different, there are scores of inhalers on the market , and hopefully you will find one which suits you.

JackLina in reply to Superzob

That's really interesting and a possibility. I am allergic to preservatives in everything and many foods. I've become fearful of eating so many things because I develop allergies so suddenly having had no previous reaction. Most drugs also do not agree with me.

This is something i'll mentino on friday when I speak to my GP.

thank you for highlighting this.

As someone has already said, your dysphonia may be due to the propellant in your inhalers which indicates a sensitivity to aspirin. Your GP should be able to test this. I discovered by accident that my inhalers were making my asthma worse when I had taken aspirin for pain, the reaction was obvious. I mentioned it to my asthma consultant and they tested for the sensitivity then changed me to dry powder inhalers. I have to avoid alcohol and some foods.

However, dry powder inhalers aren't easy on the mouth and throat so if you do get an opportunity to try them, please ensure you gargle with a good mouthwash as well as rinse after every morning and evening dose. I used to sing but now just croak, thanks to the DPIs.

However, you may have a dysphonia and/or vocal chord dysfunction. This can cause the problems you describe and breathlessness. Asthma meds don't usually help as the problem isn't inflammation of the lungs but a dysfunction in the upper part of the respiratory system. There are specialists for this and they are not normally asthma specialists. But obviously you will want to first rule out the sensitivity to aerosol inhalers.

EmmaF91Community Ambassador in reply to Poobah

*possible aspirin sensitivity

(Devils advocate over here😅... I’m really sensitive to propellants in inhalers, have to have dpi and the only mdi I can cope with is in original CFC containing ventolin (and even then it can make me cough) however aspirin is a good nsaid for me. Ibuprofen less so but aspirin is fine 😅. But a propellant sensitivity does not necessarily mean a aspirin sensitivity. Just that their may be one present)

JackLina in reply to Poobah

Thank you for this very interesting information. I AM allergic to aspirin. I have never been able to take it due to agonising pain and bleeding when taken.

Also, I DO have a problem with my upper respiratory tract and vocal chord dysfunction. I had an operation on my vocal chords a few years ago because they weren't functioning properly! I have managed to get to 68 years of age before I'm finding out the real reasons for my problem.

I used to suffer dreadfully with asthma from 10 yrs of age until around 24. Then it just went! I was in my mid forties when I was prescribed these inhalers again and told I was suffering from asthma. I have kept trying to convince doctors that I'm not because this is nothing like the debilitating condition I used to suffer and my breating is more affected by food and medicine intolerance than anything else.

What you have told me in your email has put this whole situation into perspective.

This is going to take some time to get through to the GP and start the ball rolling because the appoinment system at present is so bad and all I have is a phone call on Friday.

At least now, I know what I am experiencing and the GP must have all those details in my file. I had the vocal chords op following a referral by that surgery and my aspirin allergy is recorded there as well.

Thank you so much. wish me luck on Friday!!!! All the very best

Good luck on Friday!! Keep us posted.

JackLina in reply to Poobah

Thank you I will.

You may also like...