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Inhalers Safer For Asthma
Dr Pradyut Waghray
Asthma medication, preventers or bronchodilators, are safer when taken in inhaled form than as an oral tablet.

Steroids used in preventers are safe in the inhaled form, but not in the oral tablet form. This is because in the inhaled form, steroids are given in micro grams, which is almost a thousand times lesser than the dosage present in tablet form.

What this means is that even if you take the minimum dose prescribed for oral steroids, it would still be 2mg, whereas the inhaled steroid would be in micrograms. This makes a huge difference between the two forms of medication in terms of the amount of steroid ingested. The patient ends up taking almost two thousand times more of the steroid in its oral tablet form than in its inhaled form.

Drug Absorption
Also, when the patient is taking just micrograms of inhaled steroid, any question on amount of drug in absorption does not arise, for it is of negligible proportion, unless you are being administered an extremely high dosage of inhalers, which is unlikely.

As for oral bronchodilators, side-effects such as tremors or ‘shaking’ may be seen in patients who take oral bronchodilators like Asthalin, whereas similar side-effects are not seen in patients using bronchodilators in inhaled form.

Moreover, in the inhaled form, the drug acts directly at the site of the disease, in the lungs. This means that the onset of action is within minutes of taking the inhaled bronchodilators, and lasts for 4-6 hours. The patient experiences immediate relief from asthmatic symptoms, and is able to function normally. But when administered in oral form, bronchodilators take about 30 minutes to begin acting. In fact, doctors find inhaled steroids so safe that they prescribe them even for pregnant women when required.
Dr Pradyut Waghray, Consultant Chest Physician, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Specialist, Senior Consultant Pulmonologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad.

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