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dulwich (@dulwich)

Advice about airway clearance devices

MAC & Bronchiectasis | Last Active: Apr 16, 2019 | Replies (24)

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@soflo– Morning. You bring up a great topic- what are the different kinds of inhalers. It really can be very confusing because there are so many. I believe that what is prescribed by your Pulmonologist depends on the breathing test results and your ability to tolerate the medicines. When I first started it was the middle of the summer, very humid and very very hot. I complained to my surgeon that I was having difficulty breathing. He sent a message to my Pulmonologist that it was ok to prescribe an inhaler. One type of inhaler has a steroid in it and this was what was prescribed for me. Mine is called QVAR. It helps reduce swelling. It made a huge difference. My second inhaler was Spiriva, a bronchodilator. I use this because it can prevent bronchospasms caused by COPD and helps asthma patients as well. I do not have asthma. It relaxes the muscles around the airways so that they open up and you can breathe more easily. It's an anticholinergicst. According to Wikipedia :" An anticholinergic agent is a substance that blocks the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and the peripheral nervous system. These agents inhibit parasympathetic nerve impulses by selectively blocking the binding of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to its receptor in nerve cells."
The final type of inhaler is called a rescue inhaler that you use in an emergency. These are also bronchodilators but have albuterol as the main ingredient. It's quick acting and opens airways. Let's say you unfortunately inhale an allergen and your airways start to close. Albuterol will open them back up- temporarily, and help relax the controlling muscles giving your pipes a chance to relax.
I also use my pro-air- or Ventolin HFA first thing in the AM to open my tubes so that my airways can more easily absorb my other inhalers. Pulmonologists have their own ways of prescribing how to take these so don't go by me. Albuterol makes me shake and my heart race. There are very normal reactions and aren't usually dangerous – and I resisted it for a long time. It does help. I also have a nebulizer at home in case I get bronchitis.
Your medicine treats bronchospasms (narrowing of the airways). It's used for COPD and asthma. It does take time for it to build up in your system so that it works at its maximum. It's very important to inhale the medicine properly- from deep down in your belly, not the top of your lungs. When you inhale your tummy should expand and shoulders should not move. It takes time to learn but there is a big difference in the amount of medicine that is absorbed. I use a spacer too, which allows me to inhale slowly. By doing this I get less shaky.
Are you seeing a difference now that you are taking it? Are you having any side effects?

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@merpreb — Merry – Excellent information! Stay well!

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