ZocdocAnswersCan I see a primary care physician for a refill for my asthma inhaler?

Question

Can I see a primary care physician for a refill for my asthma inhaler?

I have sport induced asthma, also sometimes allergic asthma. It is very mild and actually has not bothered me at all in the past year and a half. However this past month I have had 2 pretty bad asthma attacks while working out, which really scared me. I now want to get a re-fill prescription for my inhaler ( that has been expired). What kind of doctor do I have to go to? also do I need to schedule tests for asthma again? In the past I went to a primary care physician.

Answer

Asthma attacks can be frightening and you should see your primary care physician for further evaluation. Asthma has three main components: airway inflammation, obstruction of airflow, and bronchial hyperreactivity. Albuterol, which is a bronchodilator, works by affecting the bronchial hyperreactitivty aspect and helping to open the airways acutely. Albuterol is considered a "rescue" medications for an asthma flare. When asthma is more persistent, a "controller" medication is required. This is often a low dose inhaled corticosteroid like Flovent (fluticasone). This helps reduce the degree of airway inflammation. There are various triggers for asthma and you can discuss your potential triggers with your physician. Common triggers include upper respiratory tract infections, environmental allergens, smoke, exercise, and medication noncompliance. Exercise induced asthma is an asthma variant in which the act of exercising causes bronchospasms and increased bronchial responsiveness. In general, patients with this type of asthma only have symptoms during exertion and not during other times of the day. Use of an albulterol inhaler prior to significant exercise is often useful, but this should be evaluated by your physician. Since it has been over a year since your last attack, follow up with your physician would be beneficial to evaluate the most recent attacks to ensure that they are truly asthma attacks. Your primary doctor can refill an albuterol inhaler and decide if further testing is required at this time. Occasionally for hard to manage asthma, Pulmonary or Allergy consultations are warranted.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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