How do you manage asthma?
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, asthma self-management includes leading a healthy lifestyle, avoiding triggers, and making every effort to stop smoking.
Of course, a big part of this is medication adherence or compliance. That means taking the right meds at the right time.
Asthma medicines are either preventers/controllers or relievers. Doctors may prescribe controllers to be taken every day or at certain times of the year. Relievers (e.g. Bricanyl inhaler), on the other hand, should only be taken when needed.
Inhalers at a Glance
An inhaler is a medicine-containing device. From the name itself, you can gather that it works by letting the patient breathe in the medicine. This way, the medicine goes straight into the airways.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, inhalers can either be preventers or relievers. Preventer inhalers usually contain a steroid medicine to be taken twice a day. If you’re experiencing a flare-up of asthma symptoms, your doctor may advise you to use your steroid inhaler more often.
Reliever inhalers can ease asthma symptoms when you’re feeling tightness in your chest, wheeziness, or breathlessness. The medicine in a reliever inhaler is a bronchodilator, meaning it relaxes the muscles in the airways. Doctors usually prescribe relievers to asthma patients who only have symptoms every now and then.
Bricanyl Inhaler: Preventer or Reliever?
Terbutaline is the generic name of Bricanyl. It’s a bronchodilator that can relieve symptoms of asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.
Bricanyl inhalers come in two dosages: 0.25mg and 0.5mg. You only need one inhalation to relieve symptoms unless your doctor says otherwise. If you have to take a second dose, wait 5 minutes after the first dose.
IMPORTANT: Seek immediate medical help if the second dose didn’t do anything to relieve your symptoms.
How to Use a Bricanyl Inhaler
Your doctor will teach you how to use your inhalation device. But if you need detailed instructions, you can check the package. Remember not to exhale into the device and always put the cover back on after each use.
You can use a dry tissue to clean your inhaler’s mouthpiece. Do this at least once a week. Once liquids enter your inhaler, it may not work properly.
Since Bricanyl inhalers should be used only when needed, do not take more than prescribed without consulting your doctor. Make sure to store it at room temperature, away from light and moisture. If you have kids at home, don’t put it a place where they can easily reach it.
Like many other medications, terbutaline can cause side effects. Some are manageable, while others need immediate medical attention.
If you experience difficulty breathing, severe allergic reactions, and heart palpitations after using the medication, call emergency services. For other side effects, talk to your pharmacist. He or she can advise you on how to best manage them.
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