Difficult to control asthma

9) Nebulisers (asthma)

Female patient using a nebuliser

Nebulised medicines are often used for emergency treatment of asthma. They deliver doses of drugs deep in to the lungs quickly. A range of medicines can be given in this way.

  • The aim of using a nebuliser is to make sure that a drug is delivered in the correct dose to the lung in order to give improved treatment of symptoms.
  • The nebuliser works by turning a liquid medication into a fine mist so that it can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
  • The mist is made by a compressor pumping air or oxygen through the liquid in the medication chamber.

Once the asthma emergency is over, most people do not need to have a nebuliser at home. However some people with difficult to control asthma may be prescribed a nebuliser for use at home.

All regular medications to use with your nebuliser are available on prescription from your GP as long as the nebuliser has been prescribed for you.

Make sure that you reorder in time to ensure that you do not run out of your medication but
do not order too many medications at one time. Medications have a use by date (expiry date) and should not be used after that time.

If you find you are using your nebuliser more frequently than prescribed by your doctor, you should make an appointment to discuss why this is happening and why your nebulised medicine is not giving you the same relief of symptoms as it should. Your doctor maybe able to change the medication or dose to improve your symptoms or offer alternatives such as a breathing control assessment.

A word of warning!

If you have bought a nebuliser without having an assessment by your doctor you are not guaranteed to get a prescription from your GP for the medicine to go in it.