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Nebulisers in the treatment of asthma

Abstract

A nebuliser makes an aerosol by blowing air or oxygen through a drug solution. Many inhaled drugs including β2-agonists such as salbutamol, atropinic drugs such as ipratropium, and prophylactic drugs such as sodium cromoglycate and beclomethasone can be delivered in this way. Nebulisers have become increasingly popular, but the possibility has been raised that their widespread use in New Zealand has contributed to a recent increase in asthma deaths.1, 2 The cause of death in asthma is difficult to analyse retrospectively, but in most cases failure to recognise the severity of the asthma and delay in starting other treatment appeared to be responsible rather than the use of nebulised bronchodilators.3 Over-reliance on a home nebuliser can lead to such delay.

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