Medications to try other than Ventolin

I feel like for the past couple of years, Ventolin does not work as well and I feel like I am using it more frequently.

I used pro-air in the past after they discontinued warrick albuterol inhalers. But that red inhaler was terrible and never worked.

I do not like taking advair because it is so expensive, even with my insurance. If it were not so expensive, I would absolutely use it. I am familiar with the bridges to access program, but I no longer qualify because I make too much money.

Is there anything else that I can try that is less expensive? I am open to suggestions for both a new rescue inhaler and maintenance medication. I plan on visiting an allergist as soon as I get back from a business trip.

Also, my name is Jill, not Jilk. For some reason, autocorrect on my phone messed up my name when I signed up and I realized I cannot change it.


Comments 16

  • K8sMom2002

    Hi, and welcome, Jill! Glad to hear you are planning seeing an allergist when you get back home.

    So you're on Advair as your maintenance med? I hear you on the expense … asthma meds can be super expensive. And it sounds like you've tried Proair Respiclick?

    You may be eligible for help through other .

    AAFA also has a blog post with tips on what to do  medicines. ().

    Some of our members like Shea and Pljohns (Lynn) use nebulizers instead of or in addition to rescue inhalers. Today's nebs are a lot more convenient and smaller than the old clunky countertop kind. There's a nebulizer that you can fit in your hand or the pocket of a pair of jeans that Lynn found … 

    I think a good talk with your allergist about where you are now and what you're up against finance-wise is a good plan! 

  • Kathy P

    Welcome Jill! I had trouble with the ProAir Albuterol as well. I never figured out what the difference was except the propellant change. 

    Currently, I use the ProAir Respiclick. It's a breath actuated version of Albuterol. 

    Are you using a spacer with your inhaler? That can make a big difference in the amount of medicine that gets into your lungs. It's bulky and can be a pain to carry around, but really can make a difference. My doc insists on a spacer for any preventative inhalers. He's ok with skipping for rescue, but only if it works ok without. That's one reason I switched to the Respiclick. No spacer needed. 

    As for the Advair, it's important to take your preventative medicine. It means needing the rescue med less often. I don't recall if Advair has a coupon. 

  • Pljohns

    Jill-welcome-I had the same issue with albuterol inhaler, changed to xopenex and then provental.  At one time I was carrying all 3 and if one didn't work, would literally go from one to the other to the other.  With me, my lungs didn't like the propellant and I had to change to levabuterol (generic xopenex) in a nebulizer.  That has worked great.  I can't use anything in an inhaler-everything has to be in a nebulizer so I carry them and have them everywhere (car/work/purse/home + spare in case one dies).  You might want to try a nebulizer and see if that works for you.  

  • LK

    Hi Jill,  Everyone has already given you many good suggestions above.  I second the idea of using a spacer with your rescue inhaler if your doctor agrees.  I find that without a spacer, my albuterol  ProAir rescue inhaler makes me cough more.  With the spacer I inhale more evenly and know this gets the medicine down into my lungs better.  I also think the rescue inhalers have improved from what they were several years ago in terms of how well they work.

  • Jilk

    I would take advair if I can afford it. I am not qualified to use the coupons. I have already tried those.

    Taking a nebulizer to work is not feasible for me. I need to be discreet. I would definitely do this if I had a car, but I do not have a car. I cannot show any vulnerability or weakness at work. And using a nebulizer would be disruptive to my work day. I have a difficult enough time because I also have ADHD.

    Also, I am a minimalist and I do not need more things in my work bag or purse. I travel a lot for work and things get heavy. Because of the ADHD, so I would always forget to bring a spacer or the medicine to put in the nebulizer. Or I would just lose them. I cannot have these extras because I will lose them or forget.

  • Jilk

    This is very frustrating that I need so much junk to carry around and medicine that does not work well.

    I would rather pay $10 a year for that 1 rescue inhaler that worked well before they stopped making them in the early 2000s.

    I want that quality of life back.

    Is there anything out there that worked like the old inhalers?

  • Pljohns

    Jill-I'm guessing you mean the old inhalers with the CFC propellant that they changed out to HFA a few years back?  I remember when they did that, I heard a lot of people complaining that the new ones just didn't work as well.  Unfortunately, I think we're stuck with the new ones although some of the companies are going to ones with no propellant at all-they are a dry powder that discharges when you inhale-my steroid (QVAR) is like that.  

    Believe me, I totally understand how you feel about more junk to carry-I told DH if my purse got any bigger, I was just going to go for carry on luggage.  I have since moved some stuff to just a bag that I carry to work and now my neb and essential stuff fits in a smaller purse.  It's a pain to carry everything but my small neb is about the size of a sunglasses case and I can fit 2 vials of meds in the case and a spare set of batteries.  It is 100% silent-you can't hear it at all so I can use it in meetings etc and unless someone notices what I'm doing, no one can tell. 

    For YEARS I was like you are-couldn't show any weakness at work at all-so I didn't do nebs, didn't tell anyone I had asthma and when I finally did, I had a jerk of a boss that humiliated me in front of everyone I worked with.  He left and I decided I wouldn't tell anyone else after that episode-until it landed me in the hospital because I needed nebs and wouldn't do them.  After 4 week long stays in the hospital in less than a year and 3 days in MICU and 30 days of medical leave, it wasn't worth it anymore-I changed jobs and found this forum.  Due largely to the support and encouragement here, I told my new boss that I had asthma and how bad it was.  My new boss immediately removed everything from the office that has a scent at all, has told people to stay away during flu season-even though less patients per day impacted our business and is perfectly fine with me using a neb in front of everyone if I need it and wearning a mask to keep from getting the flu.

    I said all of that to say this-yes, it's a pain and I think all of us would prefer to carry less than we do, but, like my pulmonologist told me, breathing is important and blue is a pretty color-as long as it's not your lips or finger nails.  I hope you can find something that works for you and doesn't require more stuff to carry but you might have to bend some.  Finding something to keep you breathing is the most important thing.

  • Shea

    I have had issues with inhalers in the past. I recently found these three to be helpful

    1- Combivent (ipatroprium-bromide and albuterol) is great at opening up the airways for me.

    2- Flovent – it is an inhaled steroid that really knocks out the inflammation but works better for me and gives me less issues than the powders like advair. 

    3- Ventolin (which is your typical albuterol-sulfate rescue inhaler but I feel like it works better than pro air which is just a different brand). Also it is good to remember to pull the medicine off the mouthpiece and rinse out the mouthpiece weekly because sometimes it can get clogged up and you dont get as much medicine with each pump.

    I like using nebulizers and so I typically will take my morning and/or night meds in the neb and then travel with the inhalers if I needed a third dose when I am out. When I am having a severe attack, the nebs are the only things that keep me outta the ER and breathing, so if I travel more than an hour away, I have my portable neb with me. But I am a severe case so… to each their own!

  • Jilk

    cool. I will ask about combivent and flovent. Are those brand names or generics? If those are brand names, are generics available?

  • K8sMom2002

    Those are brand names. I don't think Combivent or Flovent has a generic available. You may be eligible for patient assistance programs for either  or .

  • Jilk

    I am still using ventolin. But I haven't needed to use it since I started using Breo. I have samples from the doctor. And I got my first month's supply free. It will be $10 for each month's supply of breo after that. I think I like Breo way better than Advair. It feels more effective.

    Next time I get my rescue inhaler filled, I will continue to get Ventolin.

  • Kathy P

    That's great that the Breo is working better. I switched from Advair to Breo and it seems to work better for me too. And I like that it's once a day instead if twice. I have had to add extra inhaled corticosteroids yo be able yo exercise though. 

  • Melissa G

    Yay! That's fantastic that the Breo is working! My dh was just switched from Advair to Breo, and he said he likes it too.