Normally, air moves easily into and out of the lungs through a network of airways. If you have asthma, however, the inside walls of your airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating (see Asthma Triggers). When the airways react, a few things happen: the muscles around these airways tighten, inflammation inside the airways increases, and cells inside the airways produce more mucus. This narrows the airways and makes it harder to breathe.
Aerobid is an asthma medication that belongs to a group of drugs called inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short. Inhaled steroids go directly into the lungs and help to decrease the inflammation of airways that makes asthma attacks more likely. Because Aerobid does not work quickly, it should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, it is used twice a day in order to prevent asthma attacks.
Because Aerobid is inhaled directly into the lungs, the rest of the body is exposed to lower steroid levels, compared to steroids taken by mouth. This helps reduce or eliminate many of the side effects associated with long-term steroid use.
(Click Asthma Treatment for information about other medicines used for treating asthma.)
Aerobid is not an asthma cure.
Following are some general considerations for when and how to use this medication:
- It comes in a metered-dose inhaler (called an "MDI").
- The medication is taken twice a day every day. It is used to prevent asthma attacks, not to treat them.
- Be sure to shake the inhaler gently before each use.
- Wait at least one minute in between inhalations (if you take more than one inhalation at a time), making sure to shake the inhaler before each inhalation.
- Rinse your mouth (without swallowing) after each Aerobid dose, in order to prevent thrush.
- It is important to learn exactly how to use your inhaler. It may be difficult at first and may require practice.
- The spray should be inhaled into the lungs, not sprayed onto the back of the throat and swallowed. To accomplish this, you will need to breathe in while spraying the inhaler.
- Each inhaler contains 100 sprays. Try to keep track of approximately how many sprays you have used in order to know when to replace the inhaler. Do not place the inhaler in water to see if it is empty (although doing so was recommended in the past).
- For Aerobid to work properly, it must be used as prescribed. The inhaler will not work if you stop using it.