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3 October 2017

So what do you really know about nebuliser medication?

Don't know your Saline from your Salbutamol? Confused about Colomycin? Here's a little help to understanding what your medication does for you.


Unfamiliar words and best practice instructions don’t always get your undivided attention when you are distracted by the anxiety and worry of coming to terms with a new and possibly long term illness. Added to that is the stress of having to learn to live with a new machine. Initially it can seem overwhelming and confusing but the best place to start for advice is always with those closest to you. Your local pharmacist will know your medication history as well as everything there is to know about all your prescriptions, it would be a good idea to start there.

Nebuliser medication.

Medications are used to treat, prevent or control an illness. Some such as Salbutamol are used in breathing disorders to relax the muscles in the airways of your lungs, helping to keep the airways open and making it easier to breathe, and can bring almost immediate relief from your symptoms. Others like Ipratropium take longer to become effective but the effect lasts longer if taken at routine prescribed intervals through the day.

Nebulised saline (0.9% saline) is used to aid airway clearance and sputum induction in a variety of respiratory disorders, such as cystic fibrosis and bronchiectasis. Occasionally you may be recommended a stronger solution (7-9% saline) for short or long term use. It is also prescribed to provide moisture for those of you with a laryngectomy or tracheostomy.

Medicines such as Pulmicort are used to prevent attacks of breathlessness by reducing inflammation in your airways while others, such as Colomycin, are used to reduce any infection by killing certain types of bacteria. Both have very different usage and storage instructions and carry their own warnings. All medications carry risks and not all are suitable for everyone. Again, your pharmacist or health professional will be able to provide you any with specialist knowledge. Don’t be afraid of asking even if it may seem a silly question. They know you and your condition best.

If you want to read more about your medication then check out this link: - Electronic Medicines Compendium or for more information on your condition in general then look at NHS Choices - Health A-Z or have a look at our Useful Links for more resources.

Which nebuliser to choose?

The health professional who suggested your course of treatment will know you and just what benefit they hope you will achieve from having a nebuliser. They may have recommend a particular unit but if they haven't we are always happy to help. Get in touch if you need any assistance.

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