British Lung Foundation
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Inhaler help please

I was diagnosed with COPD about two years ago and my current FEV1 was 67%. ( I am having my annual check this week). I am also ex forces and have suffered with PTSD for about 25 years. I am on Symbicort (preventer) and Sabutamol ( reliever) inhalers. I really try to avoid using the reliever as it speeds my heart rate up and brings on anxiety attacks and occationally flashbacks. ( I was involved in a large explosion, and struggled to breathe at the time due to the dust) My question is it normal for Sabutomol to speed up the heart and if so would there be a different reliever inhaler I could use instead which wouldn't cause this.

5 Replies

This was discussed recently and although many people with COPD use Salbutamol without too many problems, others cannot use it. Personally I found that the ill effects far outweighed the benefits and my consultant told me not to use it again.

If the solution seems worse than the problem I would go back to your prescriber and tell them so. There are other relievers.


hi andrew,i have a variety of inhalers which i have to use and yes they all tend to speed my heart rate,try to relax quietly for half an hour after you've used inhalers of luck with check up,TELL your examiner whats happening,you dont have to grin and bear it.


Hi Andrew, My husband is the COPD sufferer and he struggles using Salbutamol because of the heart rate thing and he suffers with really bad bad cramps after using it. When he visited the doctor he was prescribed Bricanyl as the reliever BUT he doesn't think it works as well as the salbutamol. Good Luck TAD x


Hi Andrew, its a pity that some of the reliever inhalers and short term bronchodilaters can cause the increased heart rate. I was offered an alternative to salbutamol previously but I didn't get on with that either, (sorry I can't remember the name of it now).

As mentioned already if you ask the respiratory nurse when you go for your check I am sure he/she will be able to advise you on this and offer you an alternative to try.

You could also try phoning the BLF helpline and speak with one of the respiratory nurses who likely will be well aware of the alternative inhaler meds available if you want to check the names of them before you go for your annual check.

Good luck with finding a more user friendly alternative.



You may also try using the same drug but delivered in a different form ,i.e. tablet form.

best wishes



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