Most people who have had childhood asthma or children with asthma would be familiar with the use of a spacer to administer medications. What is very little known is that the new recommendations are that adults use spacers too. The reason for this is simple – when using a metered dose inhaler or MDI (aka a puffer) up to 80% of the drug is lost in the mouth and stomach. This drug is still active – although not on the lungs unfortunately. When used with a spacer device more of the medication makes it into the bronchioles of the lungs – having a local absorption and local action. This means that you can use less of your medication to get the same results, meaning less potential side effects.
Medications to control asthma typically contain corticosteroids. This intake of steroids into the system can then have effects on digestion and other areas of the body. Common known side effects of long term steroid use include lower bone density and osteoporosis, high blood pressure, increased susceptibility to illness, stomach ulcers and mood changes.
Using a spacer does not mean you need to carry around a large solid spacer like children use – you can now get a foldable cardboard spacer from your pharmacist that you can easily carry in your pocket or handbag.
At Brisbane Natural Health we offer Naturopathy and Acupuncture as effective management strategies for asthma control. Treatments may involve herbal medicines, nutritional support and changes in your diet which can help to improve symptoms. These treatments are safe to use alongside your current medications. Many of our patients report that they need to use less of their medications while on treatment, with some not needing to use their puffers anymore at all.