British Lung Foundation
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I had a chat with my pharmacist today

Following a previous post on here I asked him about the current thinking about the use of the blue ventolin inhaler reliever asthma, and whether it should only be used 2/3 times a week and not daily.

He emphatically said yes it was, and if I was using mine 3/4 times a day my asthma was uncontrolled and I needed to make an appointment with an asthma nurse. I also told him about the asthma attacks every 6/8 weeks when I would wake in the night unable to breathe. He was concerned and sent a report to my surgery asking them to investigate. He said they will contact me.

I told him they obviously knew coz I have one a month on prescription, and he said they sign thousands of those without even looking at them!

I would advise all of you with the same issues to seek medical advice.

Cal x

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40 Replies

Ps. I have deliberately left this post unlocked as I think this should go viral. x


Great post very informative .. I had chat today with my doctor

About vetolin nebules for nebulisers and she recons the not as good as inhaler

She also said that generally the dont perscibe nebules unless its come from hospital she also said if you need them and nebuliser you should be in hospital really

Defo makes you think esp when feeling like a zombie

Great post :)


Thank you Daz. I am not at the stage of needing a neb and hope I never am! x

I have both an inhaler and a GP just prescribed me with 3 more boxes of nebules of Salbutamol/ventolin/fostair...whichever you choose to call it.

I have to admit that b4 I got a nebuliser my GPs advice to use 10/20 puffs as and when required (prn) I honestly thought he was having a giraffe and said "how many?" And he said yes 10/20 so I said "can I have nebs then please cos the effort that goes into taking that many puffs would leave me needing 20 more!?"

Anything less than 6 puffs does diddly squat for me!

Don't know where all you lot are getting your info from but my GP did his specialist trading in cardio/pulmonary care!

The only difference is that I'm using it for COPD rather than asthma???


He sounds a well-informed chap, obviously up-to-date too. I'm impressed he is contacting your surgery, shows he cares. You definitely need an asthma review by the sound of it.


Thanks FL. He is actually a lot nicer and more supportive than any of my doctors :) x


That may be true for Asthma. Which is controllable with the correct guidance

But you have to remember Salbutamol ( Ventolin ) is also used for the effects of other lung conditions.

I have Emphysema and although I rarely use it ( my choice ) the recommended use is two puffs fours times a day.

A recent hospital admission I was given nebuliser three times a day, which equates to 36 puffs of inhaled Ventolin plus two in ambulance on route over three days that's nearly one complete canister.

One of the recommendations to avoid hospital admission, is to take 6/12 puffs via spacer to ease a breathing attack.


Hi stone. I took coughalot's post to mean that the pharmacist was specifically referring to asthma. Of course I could be wrong!


Yes I know stone, but I was asking about the asthma research specifically though I did mention I have copd as well. I don't know if this also applies to copd.

I have heard on another site that the blue ventolin reliever doesn't help emphysema? Not sure about that either. x


I have emphysema and cannot use the Ventolin inhaler as it makes my breathing much, much worse.

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Really Toci? What do you use as a reliever then? I know you are very severe aren't you? x

Yes, very severe but currently unable to use any inhalers due to the side-effects making the solution worse than the problem, lol.

Stone That is the same information I was given. I saw my consultant last week she asked how many puffs a day I take , I said from 4 to twenty she said that was fine. I take it before I do anything at all strenuous, rather than wait to get breathless. My respiratory nurses advise not to take nebulised ventolin unless I have an infection, she said if I take it on a regular basis "there is no where else to go when breathing needs a bit of help" .

Maybe it's different if you are more severe clematis? x

coughhalot2 You could be right that's the problem with reading what other people have in the way of medication I have severe copd and bronchiectasis . My fev was 30% . I am happy with the medication I am on now although it was a long time coming. I suppose we all think that there is something better than what we are on. thank you for your repl.y

I have COPD/asthma and use a nebuliser 4xdaily...have also been told to use the Ventolin inhaler before any physical effort...but not more than 8 times daily!

Hi coughalot....I have a problem if I take too much reliever ...I have to balance my use with an increased preventer otherwise my chest gets tighter after a while. It's just not Ventolin that has the effect though.

How strange Knitter - I haven't heard of that before. I just take my preventative as prescribed (never any more) then use my reliever as and when needed. x

I have worked in the NHS for over 30yrs until taking ill health retirement, and I can honestly say that lung disease is one of the most confusing challenges I have had to encounter. So much conflicting advise from so many people both in and out of health care. If I get confused I feel sorry for those who just rely on what they are told by Gps and Nurses. I think we should all take an active interest in our treatments while well and able to do so. But I must say its hard work.!!


true inhaler1. We must try and be proactive. Medicine is not an exact science and we have to remember that all Docs and consultants and nurses have opinions but that is what they are opinions. They also have a wealth of experience by learning from the experience of others but we are all different and what works for one may not work for another. It is hard to trawl around for an answer that suits us but well worth trying. You never know what you will find out.



Ha ha inhaler my lung function is 78% so I am luckier than most on here. I try to take an active part in my treatment but I can't get past the medics attitude. They would take me more seriously if I was severe but I would rather avoid getting to that stage. I never see a doctor unless I have a chest infection and when I try to ask questions they just bat them away or blind me with science. They don't seem at all interested. Thanks for reply. x

Hello Coughalot,

Sorry to hear that your Asthma is disturbing your sleeping at night....I wonder do you have an Asthma management plan? If you don't it may be worth discussing that with your doc?

From what you write it could be that your Asthma could be controlled better for you

I have a large Asthma component to my COPD and have two checks a year with the practice nurse at the surgery, 1 check for COPD and 1 for the Asthma.

Do hope you are feeling better soon.

P x

Hi Polly, fortunately it's not very often so I count myself lucky. When I was diagnosed with copd my lung function was only 62% but once I received proper meds for copd it went up to the 70's. The copd nurse reckons it was probably poorly controlled asthma before. Doctors have never taken it seriously and I have never had an asthma plan.

I received once yearly checks for asthma, and now I have copd it is still once a year! It used to be twice annually but was cut back due to lack of staff. x

Hi Coughalot,

I know GP practices vary a lot in the level of services they offer, however, I am pretty sure you deserve an Asthma management plan!

Asthma is pretty dangerous when it is out of hand and if it is waking you at night then I think you may need a meds review.

This is a very good site, perhaps you have seen it?

I am sure it is worth prompting your healthcare folk to discuss and agree a plan with you.

Good luck

P x

Will have a look. Many thanks Polly. x


Action plan for you.

Hi coughalot again.....just to say I think ideas about bronchodilator use seem to have changed over the years,,,I guess as patients and practioner so have gained experience and new medications introduced.

About thirty years ago my daughters were just given Ventolin inhalers or syrup for the cough and wheeze and their symptoms spiralled out of control, only later were they given a brown preventer as they were using more and more of the blue one and getting more breathless. The youngest was in and out of hospital.

I remember when I was teaching there used to be a number of inhalers lined up on my desk too.

There do seem to be guidelines for asthma medication ...but I am sure I saw a TV programme recently where a GP prescribed a regular dose of salbutamol to a child with no preventer.

Take care


Morning all,

Have come to the conclusion over the years that most of us seem to have different symptoms and reactions for the same diseases.

In my daily routine I use Ventolin in a Nebulised form twice a day to allow my lungs to open up sufficiently to use a 7% Sodium chloride nebules to help clear so of the gunk out. I have a salbutamol reliever for when I have an attack but sometimes I am not able to breathe in enough to get any effect, so I have to use my Ventolin via a nebuliser and a mask. If that does not work then it's a 999 job. I use Seretide 500 as a preventative. I can remember as a child having medication with a scull and crossbones on it and having to visit the Drs once a week with my mum to be checked by the doctor and the only time I was allowed out during the summer was to go and come home from school, I had to sit in a classroom at breaks and stay indoors at home

My GP's surgery has an asthma clinic which I visit twice a year but neither them or the hospital have been able to stabilise the condition, as far as I can see the only way to stop my attacks is to live in a bubble.

So I must admit I have stopped worrying about the amount of medicines I take now.

Heavens I sound like a right misery, I'm off to make hubby and me a bacon sarnie for lunch to cheer myself up.

Take care


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Hi Sue. Yes I had that kind of childhood too, rarely went to school and always indoors, usually in bed in fact. Then again others here spent most of their childhoods in hospital so it could've been worse! But ever since I've been unable to get enough of the great outdoors, I wear lots of layers and often just sit at a nice spot & watch the clouds and the waves moving. Can't beat it.

Thanks Sue. I hope you enjoyed your sarnie. x

I meant my comment to be in answer to Stone...but it moved itself!

A likely story vashti :D x

This has opened up a lot of questions, I have Broncheiticis and have been told to use the blue ventolin as often as I need when having a flare up, I also use nebuliser and have nebulas prescribed by GP at each clinic app I ask the same question how often can I use inhaler, nebuliser, Steroids, antibiotics.

It is a mine field and I now know when I need more ventolin, as get very panicky very very quickly as not able to breathe and have a nebuliser by my bed with Medes ready, also have one in living room.

Although I a well between flare ups when it does happen I feel I could not make it to hospital without a neb and Consultant has told me that particles through inhaler are larger than through the nebuliser so neb much better in emergency.

I do not think there is one answer that suits all of us we just have to try to keep as fit as we can and do the things we enjoy when able.

Thank you everyone for all the replies posted, all have been informative to myself.

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Hi inhaler. The research is very new so maybe you will get told differently at your next review?

The reason I put it up was for information which I hoped could help us all. x

Also cal2 I think you made the point that this advice was more for people whose main problem is asthma. It won't apply to many on here but certainly anyone with asthma should be aware of it, so thanks for the post

Have to disagree with you there Fairlass :( - there are many on here with asthma and for all I know it could apply to anyone using a blue ventolin reliever. I think all of us should get our use of it checked out when possible. Just to be on the safe side.. x

HI cal I was told by my consultant years ago to use my reliever (Bricanyl) , 2 puffs every 6 hours. I have chronic asthma and emphysema and also use Eklira and Seretide morning and night. Personally I couldn`t manage without a puff on my reliever before I set off outdoors- and I`ve got oxygen to help too. Sheila x

Thanks for you reply mskpjb. I was told that originally by my nurse and doctor, but this research is new and seems to be accepted now. Maybe you should check with your gp? x

Thanks for your reply Coughalot. Yes I will check because advice does change as they gain more knowledge. Thanks again Sheila x

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