21 doctors weighed in:
If I have asthma must I use an inhaler?
21 doctors weighed in

Dr. Bhavin Patel
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
3 doctors agree
In brief: For persistent asthm
You need a daily anti-inflammatory inhaler if you have persistent asthma.
That means that you have airway inflammation (swelling) that needs to be assessed by a bronchospasm evaluation that is done as a diagnostic procedure by board certified allergists.

In brief: For persistent asthm
You need a daily anti-inflammatory inhaler if you have persistent asthma.
That means that you have airway inflammation (swelling) that needs to be assessed by a bronchospasm evaluation that is done as a diagnostic procedure by board certified allergists.
Dr. Bhavin Patel
Dr. Bhavin Patel
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Dr. Yoram Padeh
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
3 doctors agree
In brief: No, but...
People with asthma do not always require an inhaler.
There are 2 categories of inhalers: rescue and controller. All asthmatics should always carry a rescue inhaler (albuterol) in case of a flare of symptoms which can happen anywhere at any time, but only need to use them for such a flare. Other asthmatics may need to use a controller inhaler regularly and then the rescue inhaler as needed.

In brief: No, but...
People with asthma do not always require an inhaler.
There are 2 categories of inhalers: rescue and controller. All asthmatics should always carry a rescue inhaler (albuterol) in case of a flare of symptoms which can happen anywhere at any time, but only need to use them for such a flare. Other asthmatics may need to use a controller inhaler regularly and then the rescue inhaler as needed.
Dr. Yoram Padeh
Dr. Yoram Padeh
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Dr. (Liz)Phuong Tran
Family Medicine
2 doctors agree
In brief: Depends
If pt has symptoms withactivities or daily living including cough at night.

In brief: Depends
If pt has symptoms withactivities or daily living including cough at night.
Dr. (Liz)Phuong Tran
Dr. (Liz)Phuong Tran
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Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Family Medicine
2 doctors agree
In brief: No, but.....
Properly used, inhalers can be a very effective way to treat asthma.
However, there are oral medications that can also treat asthma. These tend to be older and less favored as these must be "systemic" medications (they go throughout your body just to get to the lungs) where inhalers go directly to the lungs. Why take an oral medication that goes to the heart when we want it to go to the lungs?

In brief: No, but.....
Properly used, inhalers can be a very effective way to treat asthma.
However, there are oral medications that can also treat asthma. These tend to be older and less favored as these must be "systemic" medications (they go throughout your body just to get to the lungs) where inhalers go directly to the lungs. Why take an oral medication that goes to the heart when we want it to go to the lungs?
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
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1 comment
Dr. Theresa Willett
It is most important to understand what 'kind' of asthma you have, and what types of inhaler(s) you have been given. There are daily inhalers (anti-inflammatory) and rescue inhalers (albuterol, short acting) for specific attacks or exercise. If your dr did not explain what you have and what is needed, please ask for clarification! Missing asthma meds can be deadly!
Dr. Terri Graham
Pediatrics
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Asthma
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder, and you should know your triggers.
Some people only need medications under certain conditions, (illness, cold, exercise), and therefore need medication infrequently. Some people require it daily and there are several treatments depending on your need. Inhalers currently are the mainstay; with controllers (inhaled steroids) or immediate need (albuterol).

In brief: Asthma
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder, and you should know your triggers.
Some people only need medications under certain conditions, (illness, cold, exercise), and therefore need medication infrequently. Some people require it daily and there are several treatments depending on your need. Inhalers currently are the mainstay; with controllers (inhaled steroids) or immediate need (albuterol).
Dr. Terri Graham
Dr. Terri Graham
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Dr. Jason Campbell
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Not Necessarily
Most people with a true diagnosis of asthma do utilize or at least have a "rescue" inhaler such as albuterol inhaled.
However, some utilize other medications such as oral singulair (montelukast). It depends on both the frequency and intensity of your symptoms, but having an inhaler is a very wise decision to protect your ability to breath in case of an episode of asthma.

In brief: Not Necessarily
Most people with a true diagnosis of asthma do utilize or at least have a "rescue" inhaler such as albuterol inhaled.
However, some utilize other medications such as oral singulair (montelukast). It depends on both the frequency and intensity of your symptoms, but having an inhaler is a very wise decision to protect your ability to breath in case of an episode of asthma.
Dr. Jason Campbell
Dr. Jason Campbell
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Dr. Steven Machtinger
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: You proably want to
Inhalers work much faster than medications that you swallow.
The doses are a lot lower because they go directly to the lungs. That makes them safer. If using an inhaler is hard to do adding a valved holding chamber, like a vortex or aerochamber, will help. Your physician, nurse or certified asthma educator can help with inhalers. Ultimately, there are oral alternatives if that is your preference.

In brief: You proably want to
Inhalers work much faster than medications that you swallow.
The doses are a lot lower because they go directly to the lungs. That makes them safer. If using an inhaler is hard to do adding a valved holding chamber, like a vortex or aerochamber, will help. Your physician, nurse or certified asthma educator can help with inhalers. Ultimately, there are oral alternatives if that is your preference.
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Dr. Steven Machtinger
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Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Not necessarily
If you are referring to daily inhalers, these are required for those using their rescue inhalers (albuterol) more than once weekly.
If you don't use your rescue inhaler that often, a daily inhaled medication, i.e. Advair or symbicort, (budesonide and formoterol) is not required.

In brief: Not necessarily
If you are referring to daily inhalers, these are required for those using their rescue inhalers (albuterol) more than once weekly.
If you don't use your rescue inhaler that often, a daily inhaled medication, i.e. Advair or symbicort, (budesonide and formoterol) is not required.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Dr. Dean Giannone
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Dr. Kathleen Cullen
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Not necessarilly
Asthma can vary from mild intermittent(<2 x/month)in which inhalers are used infrequently to severe persistent(frequent).
If you have known triggers such as dust, pollen, cat dander etc, limiting your exposure can limit your need for inhalers. Some only need inhalers prior to exercise or cold exposure. Shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing are 3 signs that you need your inhaler.

In brief: Not necessarilly
Asthma can vary from mild intermittent(<2 x/month)in which inhalers are used infrequently to severe persistent(frequent).
If you have known triggers such as dust, pollen, cat dander etc, limiting your exposure can limit your need for inhalers. Some only need inhalers prior to exercise or cold exposure. Shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing are 3 signs that you need your inhaler.
Dr. Kathleen Cullen
Dr. Kathleen Cullen
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Dr. Paige Gutheil
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Usually
Asthmatics should always have a rescue inhaler on hand to use if you were to have an asthma attack.
Many asthmatics should also use a medicine (inhaler or pill sometimes) to help prevent asthma attacks. It is generally recommended that if one has to use a rescue inhaler more than twice per week, then a prevention medication is recommended to avoid potentially dangerous attacks.

In brief: Usually
Asthmatics should always have a rescue inhaler on hand to use if you were to have an asthma attack.
Many asthmatics should also use a medicine (inhaler or pill sometimes) to help prevent asthma attacks. It is generally recommended that if one has to use a rescue inhaler more than twice per week, then a prevention medication is recommended to avoid potentially dangerous attacks.
Dr. Paige Gutheil
Dr. Paige Gutheil
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Dr. Theodore Cole
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No......but depends
It's always better to treat the causes.
Most asthma is caused by allergies, so allergy therapy is the best approach. I suggest lda (low dose antigen) and srt (sensitivity removal technique) as treatments for the allergies. Both have the potential to eliminate allergies to all items, including food, inhalants, and chemicals. In the meantime, medication might be needed to control symptoms.

In brief: No......but depends
It's always better to treat the causes.
Most asthma is caused by allergies, so allergy therapy is the best approach. I suggest lda (low dose antigen) and srt (sensitivity removal technique) as treatments for the allergies. Both have the potential to eliminate allergies to all items, including food, inhalants, and chemicals. In the meantime, medication might be needed to control symptoms.
Dr. Theodore Cole
Dr. Theodore Cole
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Dr. Scott Rogers
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Not necessarily
Most pts with asthma have a rescue inhaler for symptom control.
However, many asthma cases are mild enough that regular inhaler use is not required, especially if you can avoid various triggers that might exacerbate your symptoms (pollens, dust, animal dander, infections, etc).

In brief: Not necessarily
Most pts with asthma have a rescue inhaler for symptom control.
However, many asthma cases are mild enough that regular inhaler use is not required, especially if you can avoid various triggers that might exacerbate your symptoms (pollens, dust, animal dander, infections, etc).
Dr. Scott Rogers
Dr. Scott Rogers
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Dr. Andrew Carroll
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees
In brief: No
I completely agree with dr. Cheng.
Oral inhalers are much more favored for treatment of asthma because they deliver medication exactly where you need and want it. Oral medications, even singulair, (montelukast) though indicated for asthma, run through your entire system, and are not felt to be as effective as the inhalers.

In brief: No
I completely agree with dr. Cheng.
Oral inhalers are much more favored for treatment of asthma because they deliver medication exactly where you need and want it. Oral medications, even singulair, (montelukast) though indicated for asthma, run through your entire system, and are not felt to be as effective as the inhalers.
Dr. Andrew Carroll
Dr. Andrew Carroll
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