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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do I have to fill my Albuterol prescription?

The following is a question from a fellow asthmatic at

Your humble question:  I just left for college and I guess my new dorm room caused me to have an asthma attack. I haven't had one in years and so the only inhaler I have is from 3 1/2 years ago. I went to the health center and after a nebulizer treatment I feel better. My question is can i just keep this old inhaler with me or do I have to get a new one. What are the odds of even having another asthma attack. I really don't want my parents to know because they will over react and panic if they knew so I dont want to have to fil the prescription. Thank you for any help.

My humble answer:  I always find the older the inhaler the worse it tastes.  Old asthma medicines are proven to be safe.  However, the longer the inhaler sits around the less potent the medicine becomes.  So your 3.5 year old inhaler will probably work about 1/2 (if that) as well as a new inhaler. 

It seems to me obvious your "old" inhaler wasn't working well enough to keep you out of the health center.  So I'd recommend you bite the bullet and go see your doctor and get a new one.  That way you'll have one to keep on hand for the next emergency.  A fresh inhaler may be all you need to avoid the health center.  You should toss out old inhalers and get new ones at least once per year.

I wrote a post about this recently.  You may want tock it out by clicking here.

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