Salbutamol - silly question ( probably)

I'm relatively new to this site so please make allowances.

I was diagnosed with COPD 8 years ago but despite fairly extensive online research, I still know very little about it.

My question ( for today ) is how many salbutamol ( blue ) inhalers do others use in a month?

I use 8 which seems a lot to me but they are on repeat prescription and the GP has never questioned this usage so I may well be wrong ........

32 Replies

Pocket Guide for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of COPD (2016 Update).

8 blue inhalers is a very large amount per month!

Not a silly question at all.

I agree that is an awful lot. My GP would only allow one per month. Using that amount tells me that your COPD is not being managed properly. Have you seen a consultant yet? Do you take any other inhalers? It may be that Salbutimol has stopped being effective. I had that problem and was changed to Bricanyl which works for me.

I would suggest going back to your GP and ask to be referred to a consultant. Also ask to be referred to Pulmonary Rehabilitation, if you have already done a course, you can do another.

It could also be that your technique of using your inhaler is wrong. Your pharmacist can check to see if you are doing it right or wrong, he, or your Gp, may even suggest using a spacer (which you can get on prescription).

Salbutimol can have side effects which can be serious. I am very surprised that both your GP and Pharmacist have not questioned this long before now. You really must see your GP as a matter of importance to get this checked out.

I saw my GP during the week and actually asked her about the amount of residual powder in my spacer which I have always had to use because of lack of co-ordination. She thought that " the powder is not important ".

I have always felt that I get no benefit from Salbutamol but use it when I am gasping because I reckon it must help.

Pharmacist said that I could have as many as I wanted.

"residual powder" are you washing the spacer frequently to avoid excessive buildup?

Yes on a weekly basis but I could actually pour the residue out the last time which made me think that I was not getting it into my system properly?

I have 2 per month but when I have a chest infection i order as needed but it's never been more than 4 a month, I think the more you have the more you use .

I use one a month. When I was using more the respiratory nurse upped my preventer and told me to take double when needed if I have an infection. I don't need it so much now.

This is a sign that your copd isn't properly controlled so you need to see your nurse/doctor and get your meds reviewed. 8 a month is far too much.

That is a huge amount. Far better to ask your doctor for a better preventative daily inhaler than to use Ventolin.

I have used my blue inhaler (Bricanyl) for just 37 puffs this past month which also included having an infection. My prescription says one puff to be taken four times a day WHEN REQUIRED. Most of the time it is not required. I usually have one puff in the afternoon on work days just to finish the work of the day as the long acting bronchildilator (Fostair) declines from the mornings dose.

I use 2 puffs of Fostair twice a day and Spiriva once a day. I also have Nuelin tablets twice a day and I still can barely get to my front door before any caller gives up :(

I,m guna speak to my doc about this fostair see if I can try it sounds better than ventolin .

Fostair is a brilliant reliever and very versatile - taken in combination with Spiriva it has worked for me and many others. It is used as an adjunct to Ventolin which is a very short term reliever, in other words you would need both. I only need Ventolin very rarely - one will last me a couple of months since being switched from Seretide to Fostair. Be aware that this is a steroid inhaler which you may not yet need - if you do get it remember to rinse or gargle with water after every use otherwise there's a high chance of oral thrush which is not pleasant.

I think you may need a new doctor. Not being funny but if your medications aren't working as they should somebody ought to be finding out why and if your present doctor isn't interested in doing that perhaps you should try to find one that is.

It is a rural practice so changing doctors is not an option unfortunately.

Oh dear, is there only the one doctor there? If so, I think you're going to have to don your armour and be prepared to do battle with him, 'if necessary'. You have a right to proper treatment and that includes a review of your medications. That isn't a lot to ask for, so if I were you I'd start there. If you're asked why you think it's necessary tell him about your breathing difficulties 'in spite of the repeated use of salbutamol '. Just a thought but perhaps if you could ring BLF first - you might get some advice from them before you speak to your doc.

Annual review done just 2 weeks ago ....

I suggest you give BLF a ring, their helpline no, is 03000 030 555. If they tell you it's ok for you to be using 8 salbutamol inhalers a month then fair enough but if (as I suspect), they advise against it then you'll have something to report back to your doctor. If he knows that you're taking an active interest in finding things out for yourself 'from a reliable source' he might be more inclined to up his game - if only to avoid further bother 'from you'. Don't be intimidated.

That is way too much, you need it sorting out so, don't be fobbed off. xx

Ask if you can try a Terbutaline Sulphate inhaler, in the UK it is marketed under the brand name Bricanyl. The Salbutimol may not be affective any more, which happened to me. It is a powder inhaler and is in a "turbo haler" so requires a good suck similar to your to your Spiriva. No harm asking.

They tried to get me to change from Spiriva to Genuair mainly on the grounds of cost but I do not have enough suck to get it to work.

I can't believe they will prescribe 8 in a month - the mind boggles! Could you ask to be referred to the nearest Respiratory Consultant because, having read the comments, I agree that there is something sadly amiss with your treatment

Many thanks, everyone, for all the comments and advice. I will call the BLF in the morning and take it from there.

i only just read your post and i am shocked..i cant believe your using that much..theres got to be a better way for you.

after reading on here that so many members used this to help open the lungs before they use their inhailer, i ask my specialist about it and he told me not to use it as it was no good for me in the long run. better for me to use breathing exercise in the morning to work my lungs before i use my inhailer. it made good sence so thats what i been doing.

that was 2 years ago. and the good advice seems to be working.

i do hope the blf will be able to help you.

Morning that does seem a lot I use 4 a month I have also had Fostair In replace of Seratide. I did moan about the replacement of 3 of my inhalers not used the other 2 yet as still got some of my others left. Found the Fostair a big help but my nurse found I had a bacteria in my lungs started treatment feeling loads better. Hope you get sorted soon. Rose

Hello Greatauntali, well it is obvious your COPD is not under control. Forgive me if this sounds daft but I thought too much ventolin can cause problems with the heart. Your chemist does not seem to be giving good advice either.I use one a month but it should be two, others use more, but two a week is way above reccommended dose. You need to discuss control of your illness with your Gp or practice nurse, most airways illness is controlled with more than one drug not just a blue inhaler. Hope the replies help you to reach a decision.

My practice begrudges giving me one Ventolin inhaler a year. If I take too much I get a bit dizzy too. Amazed that you are able to use 8 a month, greatauntali .


Hi Urgently speak with your doctor, 8 inhalers a month is too many. Get you GP to refer you to pulminary specialist, they may alter the inhalers to include dry powder ones which you take each day then you keep the sabutamol (blue) for emergencies only. Most of us carry one just in case we have an event whilst out and about.


Hi IKeith

I am already on Spiriva and Fostair as well as Nuelin.


Am not familiar with Nuelin so am unaware if it is powder or liquid. Fostair used thro an aero chamber didn't suit me at all so am back on two powder inhalers. The Blue inhaler is still an emergency item rather than main stream for me. I still think, unless you do a lot of exercise, 8 inhalers per month is a lot still check with your GP.


Nuelin is in tablet form in my case.

Exercise? I can but dream ....

8 a month is crazy and unacceptable u better run to your doctor and get better help with medication .... if he or she does not change this to help you need to get second opinions

Maybe you can be assessed by a specialist and find an alternative medicine . Seems salbutamol in that quantity is maybe not good enough for your condition . I am living in Glasgow !

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