To nebulise or not to nebulise, that is the question?

There appears to be a fair amount of conjecture amongst the COPD medical fraternity as to the merits or otherwise of nebulising. They accept that there are occasions when, in the case of asthmatics when nebulising medication is beneficial, especially when the sufferer is gasping for breath and unable to use a MDI. For my part as a Stage 4 Copder, I have found that nebulising Atrovent or Ventolin provides very little, if any, relief. What has been the experience of others?

12 Replies

  • Hiya Martin, the only time I've used a nebuliser is when I've been in hospital. I've never found that Ventolin does much for me as an inhaler, although if I am very breathless I will use it (in desperation) in the aerochamber - my copd nurse told me 12-15 puffs of Ventolin in an aerochamber is the same as having a nebuliser, although I've never done more than 4 or 5 puffs myself (other people on this forum have said they've been told the same, but you would need to speak to your own doc or nurse before doing it). I know you're in Oz and it could be different, but in the UK you have to be told you need one and prescribed the meds for it. You can buy your own nebuliser but pointless unless you're prescribed the meds. You can use salt water in it though for clearing congestion but I don't know what the ratios are. Hope this helps! You will get plenty other answers I am sure but it's 2am here and the lucky ones are asleep at the mo! Libby

  • Agreed I Have Only Had It In Hospital .... But I Loved It Tried Sucking Bottle And Mask Down Me Lung .... It Was Like That Play Oliver When It Was Gone ..... When I Please Sr Can I Have More

  • Hi Daz

    If I can say without offending you, you have a highly developed and somewhat eccentric sense of humour. Stay well. Martin

  • That not offending really :)

  • having that much mkes me tacicaridic and end up in hosp sorry can t spell lol

  • i have a nebuliser 4 times a day im the same as you i dont feel like its doing any thing till it was broke for a fue days then i could till what it had been doing

  • I have very severe COPD stage 4 and used to nebulize 3 times a day but since I started using my salbutamol with a spacer I find that about 4 puffs on that are just as good and I'm not sat around for about a quarter hour doing nothing. I only nebulize now when I have an infection. Keep smiling.

    Carole x

  • I am also stage four and recent hospital tests showed that a nebulizer made no difference to me. Great shame really, I'd had such high hopes. Bob

  • My husband is severe COPD and nebulises when he has an infection. He has an infection - second in two weeks! coupled with severe cold. He does find relief from nebulising when his breathing is so poor. NIghtimes are the worst because of the cold, everytime he lies down his tubes fill up, throws him into a coughing fit, which triggers a panic attack. He has slept only 3 hours each night for the last five nights - just exhausting. TAD xx

  • i have severe enphaseima just had chest throat and ear infection has he got v pillow x

  • Hi Martin,

    Considering the cocktail of drugs most of us with advanced COPD take, we have to be careful about what works for us and how they interact. If you are taking Ventolin and Atrovent as maintenance drugs, then if you take other inhaled drugs, timing and intervals between applications become important. Spiriva and Atrovent should not both be taken on the same day, except under strict medical supervision. Both work on the same receptors in the lungs, and the first one to a site will block that site to the other drug for the time that it is effective (Atrovent 6 to 8 hours, Spiriva 24 hours). The problem comes when a significant quantity of either is in the lungs but not attached to a receptor site, then it becomes absorbed into the blood and can then cause problems with heart rhythm or speed.

    Our bodies are much more tolerant of Ventolin, however Seretide (which contains a long acting version combined with an inhaled steroid) can sometimes block the action of it.

    I think you need to discuss this part of your treatment with your GP, Consultant, Respiratory Nurse.

    Try not to worry,

    Breathe easy


  • neb gives my father some help when he has an infection and its harder for him to do his inhaler .The only thing which makes him worse is the oxygen !!

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