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This page/column contains information which may be of interest to consumers. The information is based on articles which appear in Australian Prescriber. As Australian Prescriber is written for health professionals, you should discuss any issues raised by this page/column with your doctor or pharmacist. They will be able to give a more detailed answer to your questions by reading the main article.
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Combination inhalers for asthma
Patients with asthma need different medicines depending on how severe their asthma is. Most patients inhale a medicine such as salbutamol to stop wheezing. People who wheeze a lot may also inhale a steroid to prevent wheeze.
Medicines are now available that act like salbutamol, but their effect lasts longer. These long-acting medicines may be prescribed for patients whose asthma is difficult to control. As these patients will also be taking an inhaled steroid, they may be able to have a combination inhaler. These inhalers contain a long-acting medicine and a steroid.
The combination inhalers work well, but it is not possible to adjust the dose of each medicine individually. While they are good at keeping asthma under control they do not work fast enough to stop sudden attacks of asthma.