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Bronchodilator aerosols in asthma


The pressurised aerosol provides an effective and convenient way of applying drugs directly to the bronchi, thus reducing the risk of unwanted effects accompanying systemic therapy. Bronchodilator aerosols contain either a β-sympathomimetic agent or ipratropium bromide, an anticholinergic drug. This article discusses the choice between the many bronchodilator aerosols now available; it ignores corticosteroid and cromoglycate aerosols, which are also very helpful in asthma but differ fundamentally in that they aim to prevent attacks. Patients often use them inappropriately in an attempt to relieve an attack, and should be warned not to do so.

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