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Side effects of inhaled medication

The leaflet that comes with your prescription will have more specific information than is given here and a full list of possible side effects so it’s important to read it before you start taking your medication.

RELIEVER INHALERS have few side effects but can sometimes cause:1,2

Headache
Muscle shakes
Fast heartbeat

They usually only last for a few minutes, but can sometimes last for a few hours.

PREVENTER INHALERS have corticosteroids (not anabolic) inside them, and can cause:1

  • Sore tongue or throat
  • Oral thrush — this looks like a white coating, usually on your tongue

Rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth after using your preventer inhaler can prevent thrush. But getting thrush may be a sign you need your inhaler technique checking — if your medication is causing problems in your mouth, it might not be making it to the lungs.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you get any of these, or other side effects.

Approval code: UK/RESP/17/0032j(1)

Date of preparation: January 2020

References
  1. Live well with asthma. Asthma UK. Available at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/globalassets/health-advice/resources/adults/live-well-with-asthma-booklet.pdf Last accessed: January 2020.
  2. Treatments for asthma. NHS. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/pages/treatment.aspx Last accessed: January 2020.

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