British Lung Foundation

Inhalers don't make any difference ?

I have 3 types of inhaler. A 24 hour one which is a powder capsule type.Tiotropium. Then a 12 hour one. Formoterol. These I have to take daily. Then I have a Salamol to take when needed. I tried a little experiment. I didn't take any of them for 2 days. My Sats stayed the same and I still got SOB doing the same jobs or walking etc whether I take them or not. Any ideas anyone?

Just to add. Sometimes if I do too much I fight for breath for a few seconds whether I take an inhaler or not nothing seems to help. I just have to breath the best I can until it gets back to normal. I do get some looks in the high street though !

18 Replies

I'm thinking of changing my GP. I asked him how often I get a lung test. Once or twice a year I asked. What's the point it wont make any difference he said. I said for my own piece of mind. No point he said again. He just don't seem to care about my welfare at all.


is your doc a member of the caring profession ? doesn't seem very caring...and it really makes a difference if you are treated with care and respect I find with my current doc.


If you don't take the medicine regularly ie as prescribed each day the medicine won't work properly for you. Its as simple as that. In addition you will put yourself more at risk of acute breathing difficulties which may land you in hospital.

Maybe when you change your GP ask for a referral to a respiratory consultant for the proper assessment, diagnosis and medications that will help you the most.

Its no good going back to the doc and saying these medicines don't work if you are not taking them as prescribed.


I have been taking them as prescribed since I was first prescribed them. As they don't seem to work I tried without them for a couple of days just to see if there was any difference. There wasn't. I'm back to the prescribed dosages now though.

The Formoterol Easyhaler makes me wonder though. The NHS site says

" Your prescriber may only prescribe this medicine with special care or may not prescribe it at all if you:"

are allergic or sensitive to or have had a bad reaction to milk proteins in the past

are allergic or sensitive to or have had a reaction to any of the ingredients in the medicine

are having an asthma attack

are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors or have taken them within the last two weeks

have a low level of oxygen in the blood

have an aneurysm

have diabetes

have galactose intolerance

have glucose-galactose malabsorption problems

have heart problems

have high blood pressure

have Lapp lactase deficiency

have phaeochromocytoma

have thyrotoxicosis

I have two of those. A low level of oxygen in the blood and heart problems. I just don't trust my doctor.


Hiya pufff,

every patient has a right for a second opinion so ask to see another Gp at your practice or change practices. Both are easily done and if you do change practices the new one you choose will do all the changover necessary plus you will have a thorough M.O.T then! My dad stopped using his tiotropium end of last year as he said it wasn't doing him any good at all. His health is rapidly declining now (he's back on it) and I do wonder sometimes if that was a contributory factor. Most of the medications that we take are to keep us stable and when we think they dont work (because we don't feel magically better) we stop them and then we get worse and realise that they do actually do some good.


Thanks all. The GP diagnosed me just over a year ago for COPD. The only thing he's done since is to prescribe the Formoterol about 4 weeks ago. I

remember after my stent was put in. It was done while visiting relatives about 200 mile from where I live. It took me 8 months just to get a treadmill test. That showed everything was ok heartwise lucky enough.The only other thing he did was to renew the prescription the original hospital gave me. I even had to phone the hospital to ask the surgeon exactly what was carried out. I thought doctors were there to advise and suggest things.


I am on all three the same as you, I stick to the rules and take them every day, then after a while l think the same, is this a waste of time, but remember this is a progresive illness and the medicine will over a period loose its effect and others will have to be prescribed. I think we are lucky to have all this medication available to us, just think of the agony if we didnt.


I do stick to the rules. It was just a little experiment to see if things changed.


My inhalers are Salamol -Atrovent and Seretide 250.

The only one I can say works is the Salamol,the rest I don't know.

Like most other people,I take them because my GP prescribed them,whether they do me any good,I don't know.

We tend to think that GP's know what they are doing,but lately I think we not only question the medication but the reasoning behind it.



Most GP's seem to specialise in a certain subject so they are not always fully clued up on every ailment. I reckon mine looks on the web for information. That's probably why he moans at me for doing the same thing !


Oh dear !


A study was once taken in Amercia and it came out with this , if you take your Blue inhaler before your longer lasting one it does work but if you take your long lasting inhaler up to two hours after it , it can't possibly work because your shorter lasting inhaler is still working it has opened the modules on your lungs and your longer lasting one has now been wasted and gone straight through your lungs ,

I now take my longer lasting ones first and hardy use my blue inhaler, it's logic when you think about it why take a short term when you have a long term inhaler ? you might as well take the long lasting one then go out ,you might find that you then don't need the short lasting one as much if at all .


I always have the longer lasting one first thing in the morning. The shorter one I use if and when needed.


god knows how many pretty coloured inhalers and pills i went through till my Doctor found the best ones to suit my needs.

I think it took almost 2 years!


Mate i think you need the full size ventolin rather than salamol, i used to use salamol but it worked but not nearly aswell as the regular ventolin.


might need to have bigger dosage, as I did , always ask you doctor


Hi Puff. It will take longer than 2 days for the effect of not using your inhalers shows, if you want to do it properly you should stop for at least 4 days, but these meds are meant to keep us stable not act as some sort of miracle, if you do stop taking them for 4 or more days and you still feel the same you need to talk to your doctor, but be careful, you could make yourself worse.


Thanks for the advice but I'd like to point out I posted this about 3 years ago when I was a newbie ! :)

Now I'm very much wiser. :)

I did change my doc in the end who got me in touch with a pulmonary consultant. A great chap who completely changed my everyday wellbeing by giving me a proper lung function test and the correct medicines. I can do so much more than I could in those early days.

As a matter of interest, he gave me a lung function test at my last yearly meeting a couple of days ago. This is the only other one I've had. Apparently I've not got any worse since the first one in 2012. I'm one happy bunny ! :)


You may also like...