A man painfully contemplates his swollen cheeks, hands, feet, and eyes and wonders if there's a connection between them and the inhaler he is using

Will There Ever Be a Non-Steroid Inhaler to Help Prevent My Asthma?

One wish I have always had is to get off all steroid treatment. Steroids have kept me chained to my inhalers and ointments all my life, and I have never felt free. It has to be said that these medications have also saved my life on occasion.

The relationship is a strange one. On the one hand, I am extremely grateful for these drugs, but on the other hand, I feel angry and trapped by them. When I wake up in the morning it is the first thing that is on my mind. Just before I go to bed I am thinking of my steroid medications. I am aware I sound like a privileged person having a moan, and I am, no doubt about it, but I wish there was another solution.

Steroid side effects

Most of us asthma warriors know all too well about the side effects that steroid medication can possibly bring. These can range from, weight gain, bloating, swollen joints, swollen glands, thinning of the skin, bone deterioration, and muscle weakness, among other things.

I have suffered from a number of these side effects. I have written about my moon face in a previous article. This is where the parotid glands become swollen and your face looks rounded and bloated. It does not look great, and has affected the way I feel about myself. Bloating has been a constant issue.

I have also noticed muscle weakness and thinning of skin when using certain ointments to control my eczema, which is often linked with asthma.

Another side effect that I have not mentioned above is my constant and reoccurring eye infections. I have one now. It affects both my eyes but more-so my left eye. This really gets me down because it affects not only my eyes but my skin around the eyes and it looks terrible. My left eye is red and swollen. The itch is unbearable and my eye is full of sticky gunk.

Are steroids the only way to treat my asthma?

The inhalers I have been on to control and prevent my asthma from coming on are Becotide and Seretide. I have not been able to get off these inhalers since the 1980s, and I really wonder if anyone knows of any asthma inhaler that is as effective as the steroid ones but does not have the side effects attached to them?

There most likely is not one, otherwise I am pretty sure I would have heard about it. However, it would be amazing to know if there are any treatments coming soon, that our top medical people are working on, that do not involve the use of steroids.

I do use, though not regularly, a pill called Montelukast. Again, this is something I have written about in previous articles. This medication is non-steroid but it is an extremely potent drug. I personally do not feel it is something that can be used as a substitute for steroid inhalers because it also has nasty side effects. All I can do is hope and pray!

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