What Asthma Meds Are Your Children Taking?

Updated on July 15, 2010
C.S. asks from Waterbury, CT
19 answers

My son has well-controlled asthma. We only run into an issue if its cold out and he is really playing hard, exposed to a dog for a long period of time, or whenever he has a bad cold. Colds go right into his chest. We had been using a nebulizer with Pulimcort for maintenance and Xopenex to treat wheezing and/or cough when needed.
My son (he will be 6 in Aug) loves his nebulizer. It doesnt bother him at all to do treatments when he needs them. I feel comfortable treating him with it. It took me awhile to get into the swing of how asthma works, what to look for, and how to treat him. He has been using these meds for the last 4 years.
At his last allergist appt, the doctor said he should be off the nebulizer by now and to get him using an inhaler, with an aerochamber. And he just happened to have all the samples I needed right there in the office. He said nobody really uses nebulizers anymore, and I should be switching him over to Flovent and Ventolin. I feel more comfortable with the nebulizer, mostly because its what I am used to. I almost felt like these new meds were being "pushed." If you know what I mean.

And with his asthma under great control, I dont really see a reason to switch. As they say, "If it aint broken, why try and fix it?"

He was on Albuterol for awhile a few years ago. It was making him a little jittery, that is why we switched to Xopenex. Has anybody had any jittery experiences with Ventolin?

I guess my question is to other moms of young children...Are you still using a nebulizer or have you switched to inhalers? I would be interested in Pros and Cons of either. Thanks!

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answers from New York on

My 4 year old son uses flovent in an inhaler with an aerochamber and generic zyrtec for day to day maintenance, and still uses albuterol or xopenex in a nebulizer for flareups. The pulmonogist tried him on an albuterol in an inhaler with an aerochamber for flareups for a while last year, and he just wasn't able to take a deep enough breath of the medicine when his breathing wasn't great. The pediatrician switched him back.
We got a small, quiet portable nebulizer with a rechargeable battery, and that got rid of the only drawback to the neb.



answers from New York on

My son has controlled asthma also, he has his nebulizer and takes albuterol, he knows how to use it...he really doesn't like the taste of the inhaler...so like you said..."if it aint broke, don't fix it"

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answers from New York on

According to my doctor the nebulizer is the most effective way to get the medicine to the lungs. Inhalers end up leaving much of the drug on the tongue.

To me this sounds like a doctor parroting some drug rep, not in the best interest of your child.



answers from Davenport on

I don't have an asthma child. But, the only issue I can see with the nebulizer would be convenience. What about school? Does he at least have a rescue inhaler with him? I think that nebulizer probably works better, but he should definitely learn how to use an inhaler. Flovent and Pulmicort are both corticosteroids. So, there really shouldn't be that much difference between the two. If you feel comfortable with the nebulizer, I guess I would stick with it for now.....but he definitely needs an albuterol inhaler to keep with him. They do make a Xopenex HFA inhaler.



answers from New York on

My son is also 6 with asthma, and I have it as well. When he is really suck we still use the nebulizer, but for exercise and mild wheezing we use Ventolin. I've used it too, it does not race your heart or leave you jittery like albuterol. It's something the school can use easier if he has issues during gym, that might be why his doc was suggesting a change to make it easier if he needs it at school. (I'm old school and miss the albuterol even though it made me jittery). Flovent and pulmicort are fairly interchangeable, just that one can be used in a neb and one with a spacer. However both are steroids and have a slight chance if interfering with growth, so I try to give in the am or at supper, but avoid right before bed if I can just to reduce that chance a little. Overall breathing well is most important!



answers from New York on

I have had asthma all my life and our daughter has it also. I can say, it is safer to keep an inhaler on hand when not at home (he should for this reason be used to using it). If he starts playing outside and doesn't want to come in to use the machine, he will help himself by using the inhaler. I have always been told by doctors to use the machine when I am sick, because it is more frequent. I do the same with my daughter. I have never had the jitters with Ventolin, which I have had with Albuterol.

I will also say from our experience with my daughter I would steer clear of singular. She started having major mood and depression issues on it.



answers from New York on

I don't know a lot about older kids (>3) with asthma but it seems like when he is a teen he might want something to use on the go. I've used both on my child and treatment with the inhaler with aerochamber is fast (matter of seconds compared to 10 minutes on the neb). On the other hand, sitting watching TV while having a the neb can be very relaxing downtime. Eventually the older kids skip the aerochamber and just carry the inhaler (especially for emergency situations). He will probably need it in school or in sports. I usually stay away from the newest medications (I remember how they pushed Vioxx on my husband and it made him feel ill...then a few years later there are all these lawsuits about Vioxx). But trying different alternative medications/methods, at least for a few months, is a good idea just for flexibility. I see no reason to stop the nebulizer. Just expand the choices.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter used to have terrible asthma leading to pneumonia. Her asthma is now well maintained since they started her on Advair twice a day. We still always take an inhaler with us for those occasional attacks. And of course she uses the nebulizer with Xopenex she gets too bad.



answers from Buffalo on

Hello there..yes my daughter has been also having issues with asthma..she started with the nebulizer since she was about 6 months old...she started the areo chamber unit when she was 7 and we have been doing well with it...it does take getting used to it...but makes it much easier to take with us on trips or a day out...we have the mask with ours..and she knows how to use it properly..i too felt it was pushed on at first but then realized it was much easier..she does do her daily preventative treatment and then as your son prolong dog time and other issues makes it trigger in an attack...but we still have the neb just in case... During the winter months she usually gets really sick and it is easier while she is on the couch to use the machine seeings how it is needed more often..good luck with your choice..you will get used to it..rosie



answers from New York on

I absolutely agree with you. My daughter who is 7, has well controlled asthma and only needs Xopenex when she has a cold. She was also on Pulmicort 1 time a day. When she turned 6 we got the whole speech exactly like you did. They also gave me some samples of the pulmicort in the pump form and when i tried it for a few nights she would complain that her chest hurt right after. Plus who knows how well she was actually getting the medicine in her lungs. So I called my pediatrican (whose husband is an adult pulminologist) and I asked her why is my Allergist trying to get me to switch. She said probably because it's faster, instead of waiting for almost 10 mins for the nebulizer to be done it's 2 puffs and go. She also said they work the same if done properly. If I don't think she is using the pump 100% then it's not going to have the same effect. So I said I understand people would switch because it is faster, makes sense, but I feel it is still different since the medicine is in a different form. She said if i am comfortable with the nebulizer then stick with it. Really no reason to change besides the fact for convenience.

Here's history, this all happened when she was 6 1/2. I was so "indifferent" about giving her medicine everyday. I hate meds. So I just decided to stop. We stopped in December 09. When we went for her well visit in March 2010 the pediatrican asked me why I stopped, I told them I was not comfortable giving her all this medicine for years. She gave me the speech about how the inhaled steriod is so low dose, etc. But she finally said ok but if she gets a problem again you must start again. I said absolutely. This is like a trial for me. It is now July and she has been off meds since December, 1 time in June I gave her the Albuterol pump 3 nights when she had a summer cold but that was it. maybe I got lucky, but for now until she needs it I will not be giving it.


answers from Milwaukee on

My daughter is 4yr and has the same symptoms of triggers as you little one. What has worked for us immensely is Singular granules for her milk.. its once a day. No need for the inhaler or nebulizer treatments unless she has a cold. We did try flovent but it didnt do nothing. We have the inhaler just for those emergencies where we are out of the house. Ask your doctor if they can give you a prescibtion for singular. Its easy and you can put it in his milk or juice and he wouldnt even know its in there. :) .



answers from Boston on

There's nothing more anxiety-producing than watching your child struggle to breathe. I have asthma, as does my (now grown) daughter. A few things I've noticed:

- a ventolin (albuterol) inhaler is easy, effective & portable -- a bonus as your child gets older, more active and less likely to be with you every moment. Once, I had that "jittery" feeling from using it. Turns out, my inhaler was past the expiration date. Not sure why (maybe because I've never met a carbohydrate I didn't like), but eating an English muffin made me feel much better (same when I overdo the coffee).

- although a nebulizer is a slower method of administration, my daughter finds it very, very helpful still when she's having difficulty (& she's in her 20s). As others have mentioned, it requires some down time for the treatment and I think that's part of why it works for her.

- I use Advair for long-term control and find I need much less Ventolin / rescue inhaler when I'm consistent with it. Inhaled steroids are a blessing in preventing attacks & managing this illness.

As with most things, there's no one right answer. Use every tool available for what it has to offer. Prevent what you can (BTW-- pay attention to diet, weather, environment & other triggers). Treat what you need to, in a manner that's effective for the condition, the individual & the particular situation at the moment. I believe in a full toolbox -- and all these drugs & methods of administration have a place.

One last word: I'm not sure they're still prescribed, but years ago my daughter was on Slobid & I was on Tedral (?); both asthma preventatives in pill form. DON'T go for pills! I found their systemic effect caused incredible jitteriness, anxiety & "out of control" behaviors. Stick with the inhaled meds. The only exception I've found is the occasional steroid (usually prednisone) for treatment during an illness like bronchitis or pneumonia.

Good for you for taking an active & involved role in helping your son understand and manage this condition. It'll never slow him down for long as long as he's armed with information & a full toolbox.



answers from Albany on

Hello...I personally have asthma and have had it since I was a kid, though it wasn't so severe so it was overlooked until my teenage years. Anyway in college I got a nebulizer when I got bronchitis (again - I used to get it ALL the time as a kid) and it worked well, tho i used Albuterol w.it and always got a little shaky for a bit but it went away after a few mins. I don't bother w/the neb. unless Im really sick and havent used it in a long time. It's small but still a pain to haul out, set up and sterilize all parts, plus expensive. Ive been using both Flovent and Ventolin, but only when necessary. I gotta say from my personal experience that I do not seem to get jitters and it seems to work better and faster. It's compact and easy to use. Ventolin is still Albuterol Sulfate but I seem to tolerate it well. I'd say its worth a try, especially if there are samples available. insurances are funny about what they will cover these days. I wish u luck and commend u about taking such wonderful care of your child!



answers from New York on

Just wanted to let you know that I use ventolin for MYSELF and it makes me VERY jittery at times. When I expressed this at my allergist I was told its b/c I wasn't inhaling all the medicine that more than likely much of it was staying in my mouth and therefore just entering my bloodstream directly which is what causes that jittery feeling b/c now the meds are reacting on all your blood vessels instead of just your lungs. She suggested I tilt the inhaler up slightly so it points to the back of my throat - now this does not always alleviate the problem, but just thought I'd share. Plus your son is only 6 so who knows how well he is using it. Its a bit strange to use one IMO. I also use Advair (for prolonged maintenence and when I use that I don't need the ventolin). My son is still young - 3 so he uses a nebulizer...maybe ask your pediatrician what they think - a 2nd opinion. You are right, the meds probably ARE being pushed on you, so ask around the medical community and see if its REALLY necessary. The good thing with the inhaler though is he can have it with him ANYWHERE and it acts quickly and now that he's getting older I'm sure he's quite active and not always with you.



answers from New York on

Hi Crystal. My son is now almost 21 years old and still uses a nebulizer as needed. He was diagnosed with asthma at under 2 yrs. of age and has been using various meds without a problem. When he gets a cold it almost always goes right into his chest which is when the asthma symptoms appear. I would get a second opinion on the nebulizer or just find a new allergist. If you ever have to visit the ER for your son, they give a nebulizer treatment right away. If they still use them, then why shouldn't you at home when necessary? Good Luck



answers from Chattanooga on

My dd is 6 and has had bad asthma since age 3 1/2. She was on Flovent for a while and it made her extremely aggressive...a totally different child! I researched it online and found lots of similar stories.

If what you are doing is working, then why switch?
I have to tell you though that my dd's asthma doc put her on Singular over 2 years ago and after 6 weeks or so on it, her asthma was so under control she hasn't had to use an inhaler at all! Before that, every cold, cough, allergy season she would have terrible flare-ups...to the point of having to go to the emergency room. Our Aerochamber (albuterol) has been sitting on the shelf collecting dust for a loooong time. I don't know what I'd do without the Singular. But, each child is different. I don't know that you'd want him to have to rely on the nebulizer forever. It's a bit restrictive and time consuming...? If you can find a preventative like Singulair that would work for him, that would be ideal. Good luck! Keep us posted.... :)

You are getting lots of different advice here, but what seems consistent is that every single person is different, reacts differently to each medication and you have to find what works best for your son. We had to try several different things before we found Singulair which was like a miracle for her. It's as if she had NO asthma at all (she still does...we tried weaning her off the Singulair at one point to see if she'd out grown the asthma and within 1.5 weeks it was back full force and took 3 months to get it back under control--won't try that again anytime soon!), For your son, it could be something else (even Flovent), but you need to find what works for HIM.


answers from San Francisco on

Hi Crystal,
My son was diagnosed with the possibility of having asthma when he was one.He was on inhalers etc.I brought him to a holistic centre to have a bio resonance test donewhich shows up any allergies or weakness.
My son was allergic to wheat,apples and dairy. It also showed that he had an infection in his nose that was causing mucus to dripping down into his chest.I adjusted his diet and he went on a course of remedies.
He is now three and on no inhalers.Colds too affect him strongly so at the first sign I get a remedy for him and burn some eucaliptis oil in his room before he goes to bed.
I just showing things from a different angel,thats all,maybe it might help some bit.
Take care and good luck



answers from New York on

my son is using the chamber or spacer. it is much more convenient although we do still use the nebulzer on occassion. i like to use it when he is really tight, i feel like the "steam" helps to loosen him up. he also was on xopenex because albuterol made him jumpy. he is currently on Combivent which seems to help. it is available in inhaler form and ampules for the neb. he is also on Flovent as the steriod during flu season. hope that helps.



answers from New York on

My daughter uses both inhaler and nebulizer. She's four and was diagnosed with asthma when she was 6 months. I prefer to use the nebulizer when she has a cold. The pulmonologist has told me that the inhaler works better than the nebulizer but I don't think so. She is currently on Flovent 44mg inhaler 2 puffs and 2 puffs in the evening for preventative and Xopenex inhaler when she is coughing/wheezing. I do keep Xopenex for the nebulizer on hand for when she does get ill. The doctor told me it's my preference in refernece to the Xopenex when she is ill. The advantage of the inhaler is the time for usage. My daugher was also on Singulair gradules for about a year and the doctor discontinued her use of them because she was doing so well. Albuterol made her jittery to the point that one time I called 9-1-1 and took her to the ER because I thought she was having a seizure from using it. May I suggest you take your son to a pulmonologist since they specialize in the lungs. I hope this is of some help to you. Good Luck !

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