Running the Gambit on Nebulizer Solutions

As a child, I learned pretty quickly how to deal with my mild asthma. I stayed inside and read books and avoided extreme physical activity at any cost. Being a bookworm has saved my sanity many times over during my struggles with chronic illnesses, but that’s another post.

Nebulizer solutions for asthma

Today I want to discuss the numerous choices for nebulizer solutions. When I was young since I only had to use my nebulizer a few times a week - and then a few times a month to hardly ever - I used albuterol and never thought to ask my doctor for a different medication.

Side effects of albuterol

My hands shake uncontrollably when I try to read, my eyes dart frantically across the page, not focusing on any line of text long enough for my brain to process the information. My legs bounce against their will, drumming a rhythm against the carpeted floor. In a medicine-induced haze, I wander my house, a bit unsteady on my feet.

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These were side effects of using albuterol medication that I always assumed were normal. My heart would pound in my chest for hours, causing my anxiety to spike so badly that all I could do to cope was force myself to fall asleep until the side effects eventually wore off. I dealt with these side effects for decades.

COVID and asthma

In March of 2020, I had a moderate to severe case of COVID. Thankfully, I avoided hospitalization - though likely only due to the fact that most hospitals were not accepting Covid patients in March, at least not in the area in which I live. I went from hardly ever using my nebulizer to inhaling medical solutions every four hours. Pretty soon, I felt like my heart rate would never drop below 140 again.

I suffered like this for weeks, not mentally with it enough to put together the fact that albuterol was only increasing my anxiety, making my Covid symptoms worse. My mom called my doctor as I was in no position to talk to anyone, least of all about anything important. I switched medications to levalbuterol, a lesser steroid that my doctor hoped would alleviate my symptoms.

Levalbuterol, too, proved not to be the right option for me. I had many of the same side effects as when I had been on albuterol, though not to as great an extent.

Trying different medications

Next, I tried budesonide. This nebulizer solution has finally proven to be the one my body can handle. I have minor side-effects: slight haziness or brain fog (typically goes away within a few minutes), a sense that my lungs are full, and a lingering bad taste in my mouth even after I rinse.

I had to try a few different combinations of nebulizer solutions this past year in order to determine which one controlled my worst asthmatic symptoms without providing me with irritating or debilitating side-effects.

If you are also struggling to find a nebulizer solution that works for you, I would suggest first looking at a chart of all the available medications. Perhaps you already know what type of medication your body is more sensitive to; you can make a plan with your doctor to stay away from those medications and find one that will both ease your symptoms and not make your daily struggle more difficult with unpleasant side effects.

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