British Lung Foundation
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I am on a trial of brown inhaler, two puffs each morning and night and blue inhaler 'when needed'. Can someone let me know:

1. How long do the inhalers last? I don't want it to run out unexpectedly but not got another hospital appointment until May.

2. When is 'when needed'? My GP set me off using it every 4 hours. Others I spoke to say it's when they get a tight chest or breathless. I don't get that, I just have a bad chesty cough which has gone on for months so I am not sure when to take it.

9 Replies


Is your brown inhaler not metered, is there not a counter built in, they normally last one month, order when you have five days left.

Blue inhaler use if and when you feel breathless , they have enough for 200 puffs, again may last a month. Usage is trial and error, I rarely use mine. The two puffs four times a day is a genetic dosage.

Most people are on repeat prescription, normally monthly.

Mist inhalers are best used with a spacer, available from your GP


I have both too and very rarely use the blue - still have the first one after 6 months. You use the blue when you need help with breathing.


I think most brown inhalers have 120 doses in, so at 4 puffs a day that will be about a month. Blue one should be almost never if the brown one starts working.


Many of the inhalers have a small window and a red marker appears when it needs replacing. If you don't have one of those it should tell you on the leaflet how many actuations there are and divide that by the number of times you have to use it daily. One of my inhalers is Alvesco, and even though it is relatively new in terms of inhalers, it does not have indicators when running out. Bit of a disign fault I think, I work it out before I start to use it and put the date on the box.

If you don't feel tightness or breathless but feel your problem is more this persistent chesty cough, you might want to go back to GP and get checked out again.

Good luck



Great advise from those who have already responded to you and you can always call the BLF helpline, they are fantastic for giving great advice. Good Luck!


Hhmmmm meant great advice! Hahaaaa


Hi, good answers above. I'd add that as you're new to inhalers look up on YouTube how to take your particular one. It's vital to take them correctly to get the benefit. I found out on PR (Pilmonary Rehabilitation course) that I'd been taking mine wrongly for three years. No wonder my asthma was 'uncontrolled'.

Anyone correct me if I'm wrong - doesnt the brown inhaler (Becotide)? take about 3 weeks to take effect?

Dopey gp, you'll need to request another one or two to last into May.

my asthma diagnosis 10 years ago was "take this Becotide, if it works you've got asthma"!


Funnily enough I was told the same! Though the hospital put the Youtube video up for me to see. I was told it would take three weeks but am still coughing my guts up all the time. I don't squeak when I breathe though now, but my husband does!


Maybe try to bring the appointment forward. Sounds as though not the right med for you, persevere though until you see doc. Good luck


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