Ireland’s Award-Winning Online Doctor Service
—Roisin, 27th February 2023
Asthma Treatments That We Prescribe
Most Common Brands
Please check your dispensed prescription before leaving the Pharmacy as no changes can be made after that point. If you do not see your inhaler listed, please email us us for advice.
Reliever (rescue) Inhalers
- Relvar Ellipta
How It Works
Get an online prescription for Asthma Treatment for as little as €30 – there’s no need for an in-person appointment. Here’s how it works:
Prescription Is Sent
Important Medical Information
Who Is This Service Suitable For?
This service is suitable for you if:
- You are 17 years of age or more
- You have been diagnosed with asthma by a doctor and commenced on inhaler treatment
- Your symptoms are stable and well controlled
Please note: as this service is only suitable for patients who have well-controlled asthma – we issue a maximum of 2 preventer inhalers in 6 months.
Who Is This Service Not Suitable For?
This service is not suitable for you if you:
- Are less than 17 years of age
- Have never been diagnosed with asthma by a doctor
- Are pregnant
- Feel your symptoms are not controlled with your current treatment
- Are feeling unwell (shortness of breath/ cough/ wheeze/ chest pain/ high temperature)
- Are concerned you are having an acute asthma attack or have a chest infection
- Need rapid access to a prescription for inhalers (this is a next business day service)
If you are feeling unwell, are very short of breath, have chest pain or feel you are having an acute asthma attack, please seek urgent medical care – Call 999!
If you are concerned you may have a chest infection, please arrange a review with your local GP or book a video consultation with one of our doctors.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a very common breathing condition that affects the smaller airways of the lungs (bronchioles). It can affect both children and adults.
About 1 in 13 people in Ireland currently have asthma. While there is no cure, there are very effective treatments that if used correctly, can minimise your symptoms and thus limit the impact asthma has on your daily life.
What Causes Asthma?
Pollution, modern hygiene standards and genetics are all believed to play a role.
What Are The Symptoms of Asthma?
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and last for an hour, days or until treated.
In very rare cases asthma can be fatal, but this can be prevented, which is why it is so important to use your treatment regularly and as advised by your doctor.
What Causes Asthma Symptoms?
With asthma, the airways are overly sensitive and react to things (triggers) that would not usually cause any problems. The immune system interprets these triggers as ‘an attack’ and launches an inflammatory response:
- The muscles of the small airways squeeze and spasm (contract), making the airways narrow and reducing the amount of air that can get in and out of the lungs. These changes are responsible for wheezing and breathlessness.
- The lining of the small airways produces more mucus, which leads to further blockage of the airways. This causes coughing.
What Are The Common Triggers Of Asthma?
This varies greatly between people, and even from one asthma flare to another in the same person. Often, there is no trigger identified and other times there are things that frequently cause asthma symptoms.
Examples of common triggers include:
- Infections (especially viral colds and coughs)
- Allergies to animals, pollen, dust mites
- Certain medications e.g. ibuprofen, aspirin, beta-blockers
- Fumes/ chemicals/ pollution
We cannot avoid all of these things. If your symptoms are triggered by an avoidable cause e.g. smoking, then you should avoid this.
What Is An Asthma Attack?
It is important to get to know your asthma symptoms and triggers, how to adjust your treatment and when to call for help.
Asthma is a variable dynamic illness which can vary with the weather or seasons. It can be ‘quiet’ over seasons/ years/ decades and then can become very unstable or even life-threatening over hours or days!
Does ‘Exercise Induced’ Asthma Exist?
What Can I Do To Ensure My Asthma Is Managed Properly?
You should take an active role in the management of your asthma to reduce the impact of the symptoms on your daily life. Try to get into a good daily routine with your inhaler use so you don’t forget.
Managing your asthma well will reduce your risk of having a potentially serious asthma attack.
- Use your steroid preventer inhaler EVERY day, even when your symptoms are well controlled.
- Check your inhaler technique
- Have an asthma review with your doctor every year
- Carry your reliever inhaler with you at all times
- Check your asthma review plan for guidance if your symptoms change e.g. if you start to need your reliever inhaler more than 2-3 times per week
- If you smoke, stop
- Try to maintain a healthy weight
- Get the flu vaccination every year
What is An Asthma Management Plan?
This is a written plan that gives you clear advice on what changes to make to your inhaler doses, depending on your symptoms and when to seek medical advice.
If you do not have an asthma management plan, you can discuss this with one of our Irish-registered online GPs.
How Do I Know If My Asthma Is Well Controlled?
Well-controlled asthma is when:
- Daytime symptoms occur less than 3 times per week
- No waking at night due to asthma symptoms
- No symptoms during exercise or activity
- You use your reliever inhaler less than 3 times per week
If after reading this, you feel your symptoms are not well controlled, consult your asthma management plan for advice on how to adjust your treatment, contact your local GP, or speak with one of our GPs via video consultation.
Why Are There Different Types of Asthma Inhalers?
You can control asthma with the proper use of modern inhaled medications meaning that it has little to no effect on your day-to-day life.
There are 3 main types of asthma inhalers:
- Rescue/Reliever inhalers
- Preventer inhalers
- Combination inhalers
Reliever or ‘rescue’ inhalers are used to ease acute asthma symptoms as they work quickly to relax the muscles in the small airways, making it easier to breathe. They contain a bronchodilator medication such as salbutamol.
If your asthma is well controlled, you should not need to use this type of inhaler more than twice per week and therefore one or two reliever inhalers per year are all that should be needed.
These inhalers are usually brown, red or purple and contain a steroid medication. They are the foundation for good asthma management.
The inhaled steroids help control airway inflammation, and therefore reduce the symptoms of asthma and the risk of having an asthma attack (the aim is to prevent an attack – hence the name).
These inhalers can take days to weeks to have an effect on symptoms. In an emergency, focus on using the rescue inhaler for the management of acute asthma symptoms.
These inhalers contain both a reliever and preventer medication in the one device, which is more convenient. They can improve symptom control.
The international guidelines on the use of reliever inhalers (e.g.ventolin) have changed radically, they are called the GINA guidelines.
Steroid inhalers are now the essential medicine to manage asthma and their daily regular use is key to good asthma control.
When asthma is properly controlled, Ventolin should NOT be needed more than once per week.
What Are The Side Effects Of Asthma Inhalers?
When used at the standard doses, preventer (steroid) inhalers do not usually cause significant side effects provided your inhaler technique is appropriate. Some people can experience a sore/ irritated mouth, oral thrush or a hoarse voice. Brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth after you use this type of inhaler can help prevent these side effects.
Very rarely, if you use these inhalers at very high doses for a very long time, then you can have more serious side effects such as problems producing natural steroid hormones in your body (this is most unusual for patients using this service, as we will be prescribing within the standard doses, but please speak with your doctor if you are concerned about this).
When using a combination inhaler, you can potentially experience side effects as described for the reliever and the preventer inhalers.
For full information about the potential side effects of your inhalers, please read the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) that comes with your inhaler.
Where Can I Get More Useful Information About Asthma?
The Asthma Society of Ireland is an excellent source of information about all aspects of this condition. We would strongly recommend you check out their website.
Why Choose Webdoctor.ie?
Affordable healthcare with prescriptions from just €30 and video consultations starting from €39.
Webdoctor.ie is an Irish-based healthcare provider that has carried out over 130,000 patient consultations.
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