Thursday, September 25, 2014

Side effects of asthma treatments

Side effects of relievers and presenters

Relievers are a safe and effective medicine and have few side effects, as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands, headache and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
Presenters are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially over long-term use. The main side effect of presenter inhalers is a fungal infection (oral candidacies) of the mouth or throat. You may also develop a hoarse voice. Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects. Also, rinse your mouth or clean your teeth after taking your presenter inhaler.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.

Side effects of add on therapy

Long-acting relievers may cause similar side effects to short-acting relievers, including a mild shaking of the hands, headache and muscle cramps. Your GP can discuss the risks and benefits of this drug with you. You should be monitored at the beginning of your treatment and reviewed regularly. If you find there is no benefit to using the long-acting reliever, it should be stopped.
Theophylline tablets have been known to cause side effects in some people, including headaches, nausea, insomnia, vomiting, irritability and stomach upsets. These can usually be avoided by adjusting the dose.
Leukotriene receptor agonists do not generally cause side effects, although there have been reports of stomach upsets, feeling thirsty and headache.

Side effects of steroid tablets

Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently (three or four courses of steroids a year). Side effects can include:
  • osteoporosis (fragile bones)  
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)  
  • diabetes 
  • weight gain  
  • cataracts and glaucoma (eye disorders)  
  • thinning of the skin  
  • easy bruising  
  • muscle weakness
To minimize the risk of taking oral steroids:
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of calcium. 
  • Maintain a healthy body weight. 
  • Stop smoking (if you smoke). 
  • Do regular exercise.

You will also need regular appointments to check for high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.


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