Steroid inhalers and osteoporosis

5. Thinking a written prescription for a COPD inhaler means the patient knows when to use it: The drug's purpose. For treatment purposes all inhalers for COPD & asthma fall into one of two broad categories:

a) to provide quick relief ('rescue inhalers') and
b) to improve chronic symptoms and prevent flareups ('maintenance inhalers'). Examples of rescue inhalers are albuterol (brand names Proventil HFA, ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA) and ipratropium bromide (brand name Atrovent). Combivent contains a combination of albuterol and ipratropium bromide. Maintenance inhalers include any inhaled steroid (IS), either alone (brand names Azmacort, Qvar, Pulmicort, etc.) or in combination with a 'long acting bronchodilator' (LABD; brand names Symbicort, Advair). PROBLEM: The SAME type of delivery device (size, shape, mechanism of action) is commonly used for both rescue and maintenance inhalers. For example, as shown below, ProAir HFA (a rescue inhaler, on left) and Symbicort (a maintenance inhaler, on right) both come packaged as pressurized metered dose inhalers, and both are deep red in color. There is nothing intuitive about this. For a patient who may have both inhalers (quite common), and who becomes short of breath, it is all too easy to forget which is which.

SOURCES:
National Jewish Medical and Research Center: "Inhaled Medication with a Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI)." 
Asthma Society of Canada: "How to Use Your Inhaler."
Science Daily: "New Asthma Inhaler Propellant Effective, But Costlier." 
American College of Chest Physicians: "Using Your MDI-Closed Mouth Technique, Patient Education Guide." 
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI): "Cumulative effects of formoterol administered by a dry powder inhaler;" "Inhalers;" and "Anti-inflammatory effects of inhaled steroids delivered by HFA-MDI vs delivery by dry powder inhaler."
News release, Merck.
Boehringer Ingelheim: "US FDA Expands Approval of Tiotropium Respimat® for Maintenance Treatment of Asthma in Children."
FDA. Prescribing Information: Spiriva Respimat.

Steroid inhalers and osteoporosis

steroid inhalers and osteoporosis

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