Warning to over a million asthma patients over reliever inhaler use

A warning has been given by a charity to around a million people with asthma in the UK due to the overuse of reliever inhalers.

Asthma and Lung UK said that an estimated one in five people with asthma in the UK is using their reliever inhaler instead of their preventer one.

Preventer inhalers should be used every day to keep down inflammation and swelling in the airways and prevent someone from having an asthma attack, while a reliever inhaler, which is usually blue, should be used when someone has asthma symptoms like coughing and wheezing.

A poll from the charity found that 21% are using at least six reliever inhalers a year – triple the amount experts suggest.

Redhill And Reigate Life: Around a million people are overusing their reliever inhaler, Asthma and Lung UK has said (PA)Around a million people are overusing their reliever inhaler, Asthma and Lung UK has said (PA)

Additionally, the survey of 8,300 people from across the UK with asthma found that 70% missed out on getting the three elements of basic asthma care from their GP or asthma nurse – an inhaler technique check, a written asthma plan and an annual review.

Asthma and Lung UK has warned that overusing a reliever inhaler actually puts people at higher risk of an asthma attack.

Sarah Woolnough, chief executive of Asthma and Lung UK, said: “People with asthma are being let down by dismal rates of basic care caused by pressures on the NHS and outdated treatment guidelines.

“Four people still die of an asthma attack every day but deaths from asthma are often preventable. We don’t want to see any more lives needlessly cut short.

“We are urging the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to update its guidelines for healthcare professionals so that relievers are no longer prescribed without preventative treatment and we need to see an urgent increase in basic care such as yearly asthma reviews and inhaler technique checks so people are better equipped to manage their symptoms and use their inhalers effectively.”

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