The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

July 18, 2013

Asthma meds can cause surprising side effects

DEAR DR. ROACH: I read your column on asthma regarding inhalers. I have tried Spiriva, Advair, Symbicort and an oral pill, which I cannot remember the name of.

All of these caused the same side effects: extreme fatigue, difficulty urinating and tremors, so I do not take any of these at present and have talked to my lung doctor, and he has me use Ventolin and oxygen.

I am able to use the Ventolin once without any side effects, and I do not use oxygen during the day. I do use it at night while sleeping.

You mentioned fluticasone inhaler for asthma. Do you think this could work for me? I have COPD. — R.R.

ANSWER: The medication side effects of difficulty urinating (in men) and tremors lead me to suspect the bronchodilators. Advair and Symbicort both contain bronchodilators. (Bronchodilators reverse the airway constriction in asthma, and to a lesser extent, in COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). A small amount of the medicine is absorbed through the lung into the blood. The bronchodilator is a relative of adrenaline (which is the same thing as epinephrine). This causes tremors, dry mouth and a sensation similar to drinking several cups of strong coffee.

Fortunately, in most people, that sensation goes away after a week or two. Some men are very sensitive to the effects on the prostate of the absorbed medication. It acts to constrict the muscles in the prostate, causing difficulty urinating. Most elderly men will notice this when taking a cold medication containing pseudoephedrine, and I have occasionally had men in the emergency room unable to urinate at all.

Spiriva is a kind of bronchodilator as well that doesn’t usually cause tremors but can cause difficulty urinating.

Ventolin also can cause these side effects, but perhaps just one inhalation isn’t enough to cause the symptom in you. A steroid like fluticasone is useful for some people with COPD, but it does not have the immediate effect albuterol (Ventolin) does. It’s worth discussing with the provider taking care of your COPD.

Text Only
Local News
  • Wednesday's police report CITY REPORT Tuesday 2:01 p.m. - Steve Myers, 604 Sunset Ave., said his strawberry patch was run over. A neighbor was contacted and the situation was resolved. COUNTY REPORT Monday 7:57 p.m. - An employee of Par-T-Pac liquors in Montgomery said two ma

    April 23, 2014

  • ND board looks at handbook ND board looks at handbook BY Lindsay Owens Times Herald

    April 23, 2014

  • KipKelley Kelley sworn in as new parks supervisor Mayor Joe Wellman administered the oath of office to Kip Kelley, the city's new parks and recreation supervisor, on Tuesday. Present at the ceremony were Mike Singleton, president of the Washington City Council, and John Baldwin, vice president of th

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - WT042314 - GOPDinner - MG Coats rallies Republican faithful at Lincoln Day dinner Indiana Sen. Dan Coats called upon Republicans to get engaged in the upcoming elections. Coats made the comments in front of about 250 people at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Day dinner Tuesday. "There is a lot at stake and everyone needs to be engaged,"

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports Briefs Hatchets lose to Boonville BOONVILLE -- The Washington softball team lost in a Big 8 conference game to 3A No. 1 Boonville Monday night 10-0 in six innings. Senior pitcher Ashley Elliot went all six innings for Washington, striking out three. Washi

    April 23, 2014

  • IndianaTheatre Shuttered theater part of push to improve quality of life Shuttered theater part of push to improve quality of life By Mike Grant Times Herald

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • New initiative aimed to keep teen drivers safe With three area high schools set to hold proms this weekend, a group of local elected officials and volunteers are working to educate teens on safe driving. The newly-formed group is the Daviess County Child Fatality Review Team. The team comprises o

    April 23, 2014

  • Shots fired at officer's homes in Knox County VINCENNES — Early Sunday, the Vincennes Police Department began investigating a report of damage to a marked city police vehicle parked outside the home of an officer. Upon further investigation, it became apparent that the damage was from a gunshot.

    April 22, 2014

  • Tuesday's police report CITY REPORT Monday 7:09 a.m. - Randall Dexter, 511 Maxwell Ave., reported a scooter was missing. Sunday 11:05 a.m. - An employee of Chuckle's, 201 N.E. Fifth St., reported a drive-off worth $7.40 in gas. The driver returned 15 minutes later to pay fo

    April 22, 2014

  • BRplayground02 Barr-Reeve students reap benefits of 'Pennies for Playgrounds' MONTGOMERY -- Last fall, Barr-Reeve students in kindergarten through fifth grade raised money for new playground equipment that would be purchased through a matching grant through Gametime. During the "Pennies for the Playground" campaign, students

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos