To get the most out of your asthma medications you must use them properly, but many people with asthma don't. Common problems include poor inhaler technique (not using inhaler devices properly), overusing reliever medications, and not using controller medications enough.

Here's how to avoid asthma medication pitfalls:

  • Understand what your medication is for (controller, reliever, or both), how to use it, when to use it, what side effects to expect, and how to deal with them. If you're not sure, ask your pharmacist or doctor.
  • Have a plan in place in case your asthma gets worse. Your doctor can give you an asthma action plan that explains how to adjust your medications if your asthma flares up.
  • Demonstrate how you use your inhaler to your doctor or pharmacist to ensure you are using it properly. Poor inhaler technique could mean you're not getting the medication you need. There are many different types of inhaler devices that can be used to treat asthma, and each type has different instructions for use. Depending on which medication you're using for your asthma, it can sometimes be confusing to figure out how to use each type of inhaler. Below is a list of the various types of inhaler devices that are available:
    • metered dose inhalers (also called MDIs, HFAs, or aerosol inhalers)
    • Diskus®
    • Turbuhaler®