Which asthma sprays are available without a prescription?
Depending on their exact mechanism of action and the possible side effects, some asthma sprays are available without a prescription. However, it is strongly recommended that if you suspect that you have asthma, you should first consult a doctor to discuss the diagnosis and any necessary therapy. Without consulting a physician, it is urgently advised not to treat asthma on your own, as many asthma sprays can lead to undesirable side effects if used incorrectly or due to interaction with possibly other medications that are being taken.
In an urgent emergency, at least a brief consultation should take place at the pharmacy. Various active ingredients are available without prescription. These include cromoglicic acid, ambroxol or bromohexine. These active ingredients are each contained in different medications and are mainly used to liquefy and dissolve the accumulations of mucus in the lungs. Some asthma sprays containing cetirizine or acetylcysteine are also available without a prescription.
Precise effect of the asthma spray
The effect of asthma sprays depends on the active ingredient of the medication, which is administered in inhaled form. In addition, the dose and the duration of use play a role in many medications. For example, asthma sprays with cortisone only develop their full effect after about one week when used as a long-term therapy.
The main aim of asthma sprays is usually to dilate the airways in order to enable more comfortable breathing. To achieve this, they bind to various receptors located on the surface of the airways. Furthermore, asthma sprays containing cortisone in particular can slow down the inflammatory reactions in the lungs by specifically suppressing the immune system, thus also leading to local swelling and a reduction in mucus production.
Other asthma sprays specifically dissolve the mucus already produced in the lungs so that it can be coughed up. Beta2 sympathomimetics additionally dilate the vessels in the lungs, thus promoting better blood circulation. In addition, they inhibit the excessive release of histamine, which, as a substance produced naturally in the body, plays a decisive role in the spread of the inflammatory reaction in the lungs.
Side effects of asthma spray
The side effects vary greatly depending on the type and dosage of the asthma spray and the stage of the disease, and can be very pronounced or even non-existent. Beta2 sympathomimetics can cause restlessness and sleep disturbances, especially with asthma sprays used as long-term therapy. As these drugs can also act on the heart, they can increase blood pressure (hypertension) and heart rate (tachycardia) and lead to sudden feelings of tightness in the chest (angina pectoris).
With long-term use, the body also develops a tolerance over time, which means that a higher dose is required to achieve the same effect. As an undesirable side effect, asthma sprays containing cortisone can lead to an increased susceptibility of the oral mucosa to infection with the candida fungus, which can lead to the clinical picture of oral thrush (whitish strippable deposits on the palate). This side effect can be prevented by a mouth rinse after the use of the asthma spray. Furthermore, long-term use can cause the muscles of the vocal chords to recede, which can lead to hoarseness.