COPD Inhalers: My father has been... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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COPD Inhalers


My father has been diagnosed with COPD and takes three inhalers. However his condition is now worse than ever. Is it possible that the inhalers have made him worse rather than better. Doctors and nurses in the NHS will not listen and answer back by saying 'but you're using the top inhaler'. I would imagine that if you are treating something with chemicals which is non existent you could be damaging your body rather than treating it.

7 Replies

Hello Julie :)

Has your father made sure he is using his inhalers correctly ? If not, then this could be the explanation for a worsening in his condition. We can all, so easily, slip into the bad habit of not following the correct procedure once we've been using these inhalers for a while.

If you are anxious about your father, then do please give the British Lung Foundation Helpline a call when conveient. Their number is 03000 030 555 and the lines are open 10am until 6 pm Monday to Friday.

My very best wishes go to you and your father with the hope that an effective solution is found for his current difficulties :)

In the meantime, keep on keeping on ....


peege in reply to elian

You are absolutely right Elian. On my PR course I discovered I'd been taking my seretide wrongly for three years. No wonder I got quite poorly over those years & getting 5 x pneumonia plus endless chronic lung infections.

I know better now having learnt a lot on PR, on here from very helpful members and on learning about how the lungs & body work - lots of great explanations with graphics on YouTube- a simple thing like taking inhalers incorrectly can do a lot of harm. They are all different and have different techniques.

Hope you're well. P xx


Julie, I have tried three inhalers. Two made my breathing worse (Ventolin and Bricanyl) and so I now use Spiriva and Seretide. The Bricanyl (sp?) was really bad and had me gasping for breath but luckily a nurse was on hand and noticed and told me never to use it again. It seems that some inhalers just don't suit some people. Does your dad see a consultant? Or is there a hospital respiratory team?

Hidden in reply to Hidden

*That should read that I have tried FOUR inhalers.

There are a variety of inhalers out there, they don't all suit everybody - otherwise we'd all have exactly the same medication and there would be no need to manufacture alternatives. It matters not that it's the 'top inhaler', it's no good if it isn't working properly.

It is much better to be using a spacer device to help take in the maximum amount of the dose. Some people have bad inhaler habits, having a quick squirt where most of the spray ends up on the back of their throat or on the tongue, or they don't close their mouth around the end and some escapes. By using a spacer the mist can be breathed in and more of it reaches the place it's needed.

If your father does not have a spacer then he should ask his GP for one, they are available on prescription. There are two types, a tube -

or a double cone type -

(click on the www bits to see pictures). I have the Aerochamber and it works OK.

Some people have a bad reaction to certain types of inhaled steroids, or combination inhalers. I went through several combinations with my GP and nurses before they found some that suited me. Mainly because I didn't want a sore throat all the time. They eventually stopped the combi and gave me separate ones, which I've had ever since with no problem.

As suggested, it's worth having a chat with the BLF helpline and see what they say. Quite often they will give you information to take back to the GP to consider. Sorry to say, the medical profession are not always right. Their computer may say ';this is what you give to a COPD patient', but does not tell them about the alternatives or side effects.

If it's possible, get your father to ask the pharmacist to help him use the inhalers properly, they can usually spare a few moments for things like this.

I was diagnosed as having COPD 2yrs ago, and use SYMBICORT 2 Puff twice daily. also I use Ventolin inhaler which in disc form with measured doses. In the main this medication does help me, but, sometimes when the weather is bad,or too hot, or I am stressed I do use the Ventolin more . I was also diagnosed as having Polymyalgia Rhuematica and have to take steroids for this condiition,but I have been told these do not clash with the puffers.

I have asked many times if there are any inhalers that can perhaps have a better overall effect.

but so far the Drs say carry on with what you have.....been prescribed and are reluctant to suggest anything new.

Ask about Relvar Ellipta, it is new, only became available on prescription in November last year, it works great for me + it is a once a day inhaler and you do not take any others with it.

Have a read here there's loads of info' about it :-

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