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Inhaled Corticosteroids for Asthma Control

Young woman using inhaler

Inhaled corticosteroids are recommended for the long-term control of asthma in most people. Inhaled corticosteroids are safe for long-term use. They are not the steroids that you hear about athletes abusing. The normal prescribed doses of corticosteroids don’t usually cause side effects. That’s because they’re inhaled directly into your lungs, where they’re needed. So they have little effect on the rest of your body. The chance of side effects can be lowered even more if you:

  • Ask your healthcare provider about using a spacer or holding chamber with your inhaler. They are devices that help the medicine get to your lungs more easily.

  • Rinse your mouth and spit out the water after using the inhaler. This simple step will help to prevent some side effects of the medicine.

  • Work with your healthcare provider to find the lowest dose that controls your asthma.

  • Show your healthcare provider how you use your inhaler to make sure that you are using it correctly. 

7 steps for using your inhaler

  1. Remove the cap and shake well.

  2. If you use a spacer or holding chamber, attach it to the inhaler.

  3. Take a deep breath in and then breathe out.

  4. Place the inhaler in the correct position. This step isn’t the same for everyone. Make sure you know how your health care provider wants you to position your inhaler.

  5. Breathe in and press on the inhaler at the same time.

  6. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. This means slowly count to 10.

  7. Slowly let your breath out.

Medicines play a key role in controlling your asthma. It’s important to use them the right way. Use your Asthma Action Plan as your guide. Bring the plan with you to every appointment so you can review and update it with your healthcare provider. And don’t stop taking your asthma medicine if you feel better. If you have any questions, ask your healthcare provider, nurse, or pharmacist.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Blaivas, Allen J., DO
  • Fraser, Marianne, MSN, RN