Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Asthma Medications Side Effects

Side effects of medicine concept. Many pills and drugs.

In every Asthma Medications there are a some asthma medication side effects that you need to know.While asthma medication side effects prevent some people from actually taking their medication, asthma medications in general are well tolerated. 

But, knowing your asthma medication side effects is an essential part of caring for your asthma. Asthma medication side effects can often be prevented, but it is equally important to know which asthma medication side effects you need to urgently seek care for and which ones you can monitor at home.

Inhaled Corticosteroids

Asthma medication side effects for inhaled corticosteroids happens as:-

  1. Local adverse effects – in only one area of the body
  2. Systemic effects – throughout the body

Local side effects of Inhaled Corticosteroids

Meanwhile local side effects can be very annoying and bothersome, they are normally not serious. Nevertheless, there are simple steps you can take to prevent these local side effects.

Read the steps after these effects below:-

  1. Oral Candidiasis or Thrush - is a fungal infection (mycosis) of any of the Candida species (all yeasts), of which Candida albicans is the most common. Also commonly referred to as a yeast infection, candidiasis is also technically known as candidiasis, moniliasis, and coccidiomycosis
  2. Dysphonia [trouble with the voice when trying to talk, including hoarseness(the quality of being hoarse; of having a dry harsh voice) and change in pitch or quality or voice]
  3. Reflex Cough and Bronchospasm (a spasm of the bronchi that makes exhalation difficult and noisy; associated with asthma symptoms and bronchitis)
While most people will not develop side effects from inhaled corticosteroids, there is still risk. 

There are a number of things that can assist you in preventing inhaled corticosteroid side effects by doing the following:-

Using Spacers [see diagram below) (also called holding chambers) work with your Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) to deliver inhaled medication more easily and effectively, and can reduce side effects.

Asthma Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI) Spacer

Spacers hold the puff of medicine between you and the MDI, so that you can inhale it slowly and more completely. As a result, more of the medicine gets into your airways.
  1. Rinsing your mouth and spitting after each inhalation.
  2. If your asthma symptoms are poorly controlled after low-dose inhaled steroids, talk to your medical healthcare professionals about adding a Long Acting Beta Agonist or LABA instead of increasing the dose of your inhaled steroid. Lower doses of medication mean less chance of developing side effects.
  3. If it is your child who is on an inhaled steroid, make sure to regularly see your pediatric healthcare provider to ensure that proper growth is being maintained.
  4. Both male and female adult patients should consider 1000 to 15000 milligrams of calcium and 400 to 800 units of vitamin D supplementation per day. If you are at high risk for Osteoporosis* or already have Osteopenia you and your Doctor may want to consider sparing treatments like Bisphosphonates (- are a class of drugs used to treat conditions associated with excessive bone loss*)

Systemic Side Effects Of Inhaled Corticosteroids

Nevertheless uncommon, a number of systemic effects(affecting the entire body) can occur with inhaled corticosteroids. Normally, there is a higher risk with increasing doses of inhaled asthma corticosteroids. 

Potential asthma medication side effects with inhaled steroids include:-

  1. Poor Growth
  2. Decreased Bone Density
  3. Disseminated Varicella Infection (chickenpox that spreads to organs)
  4. Easy Bruising
  5. Cataracts and Glaucoma (a condition of increased pressure within the eyeball, causing gradual loss of sight)
  6. Adrenal Gland Suppression or Exogenous adrenal insufficiency (a condition in which the adrenal glands release too little of the hormone cortisol, but there is no problem with the glands themselves.

Short Acting Beta Agonist or SABA Side Effects

Meanwhile ,Albuterol side effects will not be experienced by most patients using Albuterol and other relief medicines, being knowledgeable of common and serious Albuterol side effects is an important fact.

Subsequently, overusing your asthma rescue inhaler is a sign of poor asthma control. If you are overusing your asthma inhaler, you need to speak to your medical professionals about adjusting your Asthma Action Plan.

Long Acting Beta Agonist or LABA Side Effects

The side effects of LABAs are similar to those for the SABAs. But, there have been concerns regarding the possibility that LABA treatment increases severity of asthma exacerbations and risk of fatal asthma episodes.

These concerns have resulted in a black box warning from the FDA-Food and Drug Administration. Even though a LABA may decrease the frequency of asthma episodes and severity of asthma symptoms, a LABA may make asthma episodes more severe when they happen. You should never be using a LABA alone to control your asthma. Make sure you discuss any concerns that you may have with your asthma medical healthcare professionals.

Oral Steroids Like Prednisone Side Effects

If you require treatment with oral steroids two or more times per year, your asthma is not well controlled and you should discuss with your asthma medical healthcare provider. The longer you need oral steroids and the larger dose required to get your asthma under control puts you at greater risk for side effects. Side effects are similar to the systemic side effects noted for inhaled steroids above*.

Montelukast And Other Leukotriene Modifiers Side Effects

Singulair (montelukast) and other leukotriene modifiers are generally well tolerated, but yo should be aware of potential side effects which include:-

  1. Stomach upset
  2. Headache
  3. Liver test abnormalities
  4. Skin rashes
  5. Rarely, Churg Strauss syndrome (also known as “Allergic granulomatosis”) is a medium and small vessel autoimmune vasculitis, leading to necrosis(the death of most or all of the cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply)
Subsequently, Singulair (montelukast) and other Leukotriene modifiers have changed their labeling to make providers and parents aware of potential mental health side effects noted with this class of drugs. It is very essential to discuss any mental health side effects with your asthma medical healthcare provider so the both of you can decide how to best manage these side effects.

The FDA has the following recommendations to patients and providers regarding Singulair side effects and side effects of other leukotriene modifiers:

  1. Patients and healthcare professionals should be aware of the potential for neuropsychiatric events with these medications.
  2. Patients should talk with their medical healthcare providers if these events happen.
  3. Medical healthcare professionals should consider discontinuing these medications if patients develop neuropsychiatric symptoms having to do with physical and mental diseases of the nervous system (the brain, spinal cord, and nerves).

“Do Not Let Side Effects Of Asthma Medication Interfere With Your Asthma Control”

DISCLAIMER The information contained above are for educational and basic guide purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for any ASTHMA personal care. Please see your medical healthcare providers for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.