Asthma Inhaler Not Bringing Relief? It May Be the Way You're Using It

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 19-May-2017

With more allergens in the air, the spring and summer months can be difficult ones for asthma sufferers. Many asthma patients control their symptoms using a variety of inhalers, but often they still wind up in urgent care or emergency rooms because their inhalers aren’t producing the intended results. If a recent study reported in the Pharmaceutical Journal is correct, if your inhaler doesn’t seem to be effective, chances are you’re using it incorrectly.

As the journal reports, 3660 asthma patients were observed across 8 countries using both metered-dose inhalers (MDI) and dry powder inhalers (DPI) to determine whether they were being used properly. The study revealed that for MDIs, patients often receive less medicine from the inhaler through incorrect posture during usage, resulting in reduced results. For DPI users, the primary culprit is a failure to exhale before taking the inhaler, followed by a failure to breathe the medicine in deeply enough. The study also concluded that proper training in inhaler use could greatly improve asthma outcomes.

Is Your Asthma Under Control?

Controlling asthma is a key to preventing dangerous or life-threatening respiratory attacks. Even if you have no wheezing or trouble breathing, it’s not an automatic indicator that your asthma is under control. If you don’t use your inhaler properly, the stage could be set for an acute attack even if you are experience no difficulties at the moment.

If you feel the need to use a rescue inhaler (a bronchodilator, like Albuterol) more than twice a week, most doctors agree your asthma is not under control. If this is the case, or if you experience regular difficulty breathing despite using a DPI or MDI, you should check to be sure you’re receiving the proper dose and/or using the inhaler correctly to prevent an emergency respiratory situation from occurring.

Doctors and pharmacists have a responsibility to make sure patients know how to use their inhalers properly to control their asthma. If failure to do so results in uncontrolled asthma or asthma attacks, it may fall into the category of medical error. If your doctor or pharmacist hasn’t trained you in the proper use of the inhaler, ask them to make sure you’re doing it properly. For more information on medical errors, check out our previous blog post on the topic here.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of a prescription-related medical error, Washington D.C. medical malpractice attorneys may be able to help. Call our office for more information.

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