What is an asthma inhaler?
The asthma inhaler is a form of drug therapy that can be very effective in treating asthma. It is taken as a spray (also called aerosol) from a small can. You must inhale slowly and press the spray button at the same time. The drugs in the spray are various substances that dilate the airways and thus reduce the symptoms of asthma. If possible, the use and application of an asthma spray should always be discussed with a doctor in advance.
When do you need asthma inhaler?
Depending on the severity of the asthma disease, various medications are used to prevent further progression of the disease and improve the symptoms. Most of these drugs are taken in inhaled form, i.e. as an asthma inhaler. Depending on the classification of the severity of the disease, different medications are also combined. The indication for an asthma spray should always be discussed with a doctor, as the dosage is very important.
Active ingredient salbutamol in the asthma inhaler
Salbutamol is the most frequently used drug, which plays an important role especially at the beginning of an asthma illness. It is a so-called beta2-sympathomimetic. This name refers to the special mode of action of salbutamol: it binds to beta2 receptors in the body, which are mainly located in the lungs in the airways.
There, salbutamol, by binding to the receptors, leads to a widening of the airways and thus to an alleviation of respiratory distress. Furthermore, beta2-receptors are located on vessels, where the binding also causes an expansion. It also has an effect on the uterus, where – due to the binding – the contractions of a mother in labour can be inhibited.
In addition, the beta2 sympathomimetics prevent the release of histamine, a substance that supports the allergic reaction in the lungs. Salbutamol belongs to the class of short-acting beta2 sympathomimetics. The effect takes place after only a few seconds, but also lasts only between 4 and 8 hours. Alternatively, fenoterol or terbutaline may be used. As a short-acting drug, salbutamol is mainly used at the beginning of the asthma disease in occasional attacks of shortness of breath.
Asthma inhaler with cortisone
As the asthma disease progresses, at some point the therapy used only for seizures is no longer sufficient and permanent therapy, i.e. daily use of medication, is required. For this purpose, asthma sprays containing cortisone are used and dosed at different levels depending on the severity of the disease. From a certain therapy level onwards, these can also be used as an alternative to the beta2 sympathomimetics described above in a fast-acting form.
Known representatives for this are budesonide and beclometasone. These are preparations which have a glucocorticoid effect, i.e. act similar to cortisone. The desired effect in asthma lies in the suppression of the immune system, whereby this should be achieved primarily locally in the lungs. The use of cortisone-containing asthma sprays stops the inflammatory reaction in the lungs and inhibits the release of certain substances that lead to an increased accumulation of mucus and irritation of the airways. The use of asthma sprays containing cortisone should always be clarified with a doctor due to the possible side effects of cortisone.