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Excessive use of inhalers can increase the risk of an asthma attack
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A recent study has brought to light the problem of excessive and inappropriate use of asthma inhalers, known as SABA (short-acting beta2 agonist), and how this can significantly increase the risk of serious reactions to the disease. SABA, which in the study revealed excessive prescription of asthma medications when administered, act as fast-acting bronchodilators, facilitating the passage of air through the bronchi during an episode of asthmatic crisis.

However, research carried out by the global general study called SABRINA, showed that when used exaggeratedly or incorrectly, these bomblets can lead to serious complications, warning of the need for a more conscious and targeted prescription and use.

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Impacts of excessive use of asthma inhalers in Brazil

The excessive prescription of inhalers for the immediate treatment of asthma has gained attention in Brazil due to their long-term effects on patients' health. This type of treatment, although effective in quickly reducing symptoms, should not be indicated as the only therapy to chronically control the disease. Abuse of this approach has led to a vicious cycle of dependence on these inhaled medications, which, by not acting on the root of the problem, often results in the need to resort to oral corticosteroids. These, in turn, are associated with a number of undesirable side effects and long-term health risks.



The situation is further aggravated by environmental and genetic factors, which play a crucial role in the development and progression of asthma, one of the most common respiratory diseases in the country, characterized by difficulty breathing, wheezing and chest tightness. Considering this reality, the need to review prescription practices and a greater focus on integrative and preventive approaches in asthma management becomes evident, aiming at the well-being and quality of life of patients.


Doctor Drauzio Varella explains what asthma is (Video: Reproduction/YouTube/Drauzio Varella)

Study reveals excessive prescription of asthma medications

The study analyzed 218 asthmatic patients, bringing to light the concern about the excessive prescription of SABAs (short-acting bronchodilators), revealing an average use of 11.2 vials per year per patient. Surprisingly, 71.4% of participants were prescribed three or more vials, while 42.2% were instructed to use ten or more vials over a 12-month period. This practice raises significant questions, particularly because 49.1% of these patients suffered one or more severe exacerbations of the disease, suggesting that frequent use of SABA may aggravate the inflammation associated with asthma.


This prescribing trend deviates considerably from recommendations in the medical literature, indicating a worrying pattern that may obscure perception of the severity of asthma and potentially require even more aggressive treatments. The conclusions of the study, led by Marcelo Rabahi, professor of pulmonology at the UFG Faculty of Medicine, highlight the urgent need to review prescription practices, prioritizing approaches that avoid excessive use of SABAs and, therefore, minimize the risks of exacerbations serious illness.

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The impact of using SABA pumps on the health of asthma patients

In the search for asthma control, the differentiation between immediate symptom relief and effective treatment of the disease is essential. SABA pumps, although essential for rapid relief during an acute episode, should not be viewed as a long-term solution for managing asthma. These devices, as they consist exclusively of short-acting bronchodilators, focus only on the emergency symptom, without addressing the underlying inflammation of the bronchi, the core of the asthma issue. On the other hand, the use of inhaled corticosteroid pumps appears as a crucial strategy for long-term treatment, acting directly on inflammation and preventing crises. Raising awareness about the importance of adopting recommended clinical guidelines, under the guidance of healthcare professionals, therefore becomes a pillar for effective asthma control, mitigating excessive dependence on SABA pumps and promoting more appropriate and safe treatment.

Advances in asthma treatment and impact on medical recommendations

Since 2019, the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) has significantly changed the approach to treating asthma, recommending the combination of bronchodilators with inhaled corticosteroids, a decision also reflected by the Brazilian Society of Pneumology and Phthisiology (SBPT) in 2020, which advised against the use of SABA monotherapy due to its increased risks for asthmatic attacks.

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These recommendations emerged after the consolidation of evidence demonstrating that the combined use of these medications can considerably reduce the risks presented by SABA monotherapy. The new guideline not only highlights the importance of adopting more effective and safer treatments, but also highlights the need to improve patient access to these treatments.


Featured Photo: Excessive use of asthma bombs can trigger more attacks (Reproduction/Bymuratdeniz/Getty images Embed)

Excessive use of inhalers can increase the risk of an asthma attack

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