Sofie Wise

Leah McCabe

Read more posts by this author.

About Author — Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog.

Over the Counter Asthma Inhalers

While prescription inhalers are recommended for anyone who suffers from severe asthma, there are times when over the counter asthma inhalers are useful. Some common instances where an over the counter asthma inhaler may be beneficial are for infrequent treatment, or in case of an asthma attack emergency.

Many patients prefer the cost-effective nature of an over the counter asthma inhaler compared to the high price tag of prescription medication. But there are certain factors to keep in mind when using cheaper medication to treat asthma.

We’ll be taking you through what over the counter inhaler brands are available, and the health concerns to keep in mind.

How Over the Counter Asthma Inhaler/Treatment Works

Over the counter asthma inhaler brands use epinephrine or ephedrine to relax the muscles of your airways. This alleviates the symptoms of an asthma attack quickly by allowing air to flow in and out easily. Epinephrine also relaxes the muscles of your airways, but it does not reduce inflammation.

Nebulized epinephrine, found in inhalers, grants the highest bioavailability, opening the airways quickest. You can, however, also buy over the counter capsules, tablets and syrups containing ephedrine which delivers similar results.

Side effects can include an elevated heart rate and high blood pressure, although these are typically mild.

Over the Counter Asthma Medication | Asthmanefrin

Asthmanefrin (racepinephrine) is the only over the counter asthma inhaler which works as a bronchodilator acting upon inflammation. CFC-free and approved by the FDA, it is reported as a highly effective alternative to epinephrine and ephedrine-based treatments.

There are many potential complications from using Asthmanefrin containing racepinephrine. It cannot be used by anyone who has taken an MAO inhibitor in the last fourteen days. Racepinephrine is also not recommended for any pregnant or breastfeeding mothers without the recommendation of a doctor.

There could also be contraindications for patients with the following symptoms and conditions:

Additionally, you should avoid caffeine when using an over the counter asthma inhaler. As it is, some asthma sufferers are plagued by insomnia and restlessness as a side effect of their inhaler, caffeine will only enhance this.

OTC Health Considerations

Inflammation in the airways caused by asthma can result in permanent scarring which degrades the function of your lungs. If not properly treated, asthma will cause a decrease in lung function that will likely never return to normal.

An over the counter asthma inhaler will not treat the airway inflammation in the same way as prescription asthma inhalers. Over the counter asthma inhalers have little effect on inflammation, and instead address immediate symptoms.

Patients should always test any prospective medication before using it for an attack. If any pain, nausea, vomiting, or elevated blood pressure arises, you need to stop using the inhaler immediately and seek medical attention.

A consultation with a healthcare professional to discuss a prescription asthma inhaler is highly preferred to over the counter asthma inhaler brands for those with severe asthma.

Get Yourself the Right Treatment

The benefits and safety of prescription asthma inhalers cannot be overstated. Resort to an over the counter inhaler in emergencies only. It is extremely important for anyone with asthma to receive the proper treatment in order to lower their risk of long term breathing & heart problems.

PlushCare will have a healthcare professional ready to perform a real-time video diagnosis, and prescribe you the most beneficial asthma inhaler. You can book an appointment here.

After talking with the doctor they will prescribe you the necessary medication. Your prescription can be electronically sent to your closest pharmacy so you can pick up your inhaler whenever you want. PlushCare doctor’s can also discuss and answer questions you may have, as well as let you know if any over the counter asthma inhalers are right for you.

Read More About Asthma Inhalers


Allergy and Asthma

Table of Contents Understanding AsthmaUnderstanding AllergiesAllergic Asthma SymptomsAllergic Asthma CausesAllergic Asthma TreatmentAsthma and Allergies DifferencesWhat can we take away from this? Difference Between An Allergy and Asthma Respiratory illnesses come in many forms, two of which are more closely related than most; allergies and asthma. The risk of suffering from either allergies or asthma is […]

Bryan Welch

Adult Onset Asthma

Table of Contents Signs and Symptoms of Adult Onset AsthmaWheezingCoughingChest TightnessShortness of BreathAdult Onset Asthma CausesGenetic FactorsEnvironmental Factors Adult Onset Asthma Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects millions in the Unites States every day. Not only does it affect the daily lives of those afflicted, it can also be deadly if ignored or […]

Bryan Welch

Can You Get Advair Diskus Online?

Table of Contents How Do I Get Advair Diskus Online?What is Advair Diskus 250/50?How Does Advair Diskus 250/50 Work?Advair Diskus 250/50 Dosage and TreatmentWhat is the Drug Advair Diskus 250/50 Used For?Side Effects of Advair Diskus 250/50Considerations and Precautions of Advair Diskus 250/50Advair Diskus Drug InteractionsOther Advair Diskus WarningsAdvair Diskus 250/50 and Pregnancy or BreastfeedingCan […]

Jennifer Nelson

Best Asthma Inhalers

Table of Contents Short Acting Asthma InhalersProair HFAVentolinXopenexLong Acting Asthma Inhaler BrandsFloventFormoterolAdvairFinding the Best InhalerRead More About Asthma Inhaler Brands Review of the Best Asthma Inhaler Brands Asthma sufferers often stick to one type of inhaler without ever considering any other asthma inhaler brands. Each brand delivers a different approach to managing asthma. There are […]

Leah McCabe

Can You Get a Theophylline Prescription Online?

Table of Contents What is Theophylline?How does Theophylline work?Theophylline dosage and treatmentBenefits of TheophyllineSide Effects of TheophyllineConsiderations and Precautions of TheophyllineTheophylline InteractionsOther Theophylline ConsiderationsTheophylline and Pregnancy or BreastfeedingCan You Buy Theophylline Online?Read More About Getting a Theophylline Prescription Online Can You Get a Theophylline Prescription Online? If asthma or COPD have you wheezing, you may […]

Jennifer Nelson