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Bricanyl Turbohaler (terbutaline)

What is the Bricanyl Turbohaler?

Containing terbutaline, a Bricanyl Turbohaler is prescribed to patients who have asthma. Being a "reliever" inhaler, it makes it easier to breathe by relaxing the muscles within the lungs.

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How does the Bricanyl Turbohaler work?

Terbutaline, when inhaled, works very quickly to improve breathing – within a few minutes –and its effects last for up to six hours. This should be only used when necessary, as it is a short-acting medicine.

How to use the Bricanyl Turbohaler

The Bricanyl Turbohaler (terbutaline) inhaler is only available in one strength, containing 500 micrograms of terbutaline sulphate per inhalation.

To relieve the symptoms of asthma, adults should take one inhalation from the inhaler. The "turbohaler" device is very easy to use and is slightly different to a normal inhaler device – the leaflet and the inhaler technique video give full details.

Speak with your asthma nurse or doctor if you need to use your inhaler more than four times within 24 hours. They may be able offer a better way of managing your condition.

Check you are using your inhaler correctly by visiting the Asthma UK website. Your doctor, asthma nurse, or pharmacist will have already shown you how to do this, but the site has plenty of helpful inhaler techniques for the most common types of inhalers.

Rinse your mouth out once you have used the inhaler, as some of the powdered medicine from the inhaler can get left behind in the mouth.

Is the Bricanyl Turbohaler suitable for me?

The Bricanyl Turbohaler (terbutaline) inhaler is particularly suitable for patients with stable asthma to keep with them at all times, in case of the onset of asthma symptoms. If you know what symptoms are likely to trigger your asthma – for example, exercise, house dust, pollen, or animals – you can use the inhaler 10-15 minutes before you are exposed to the trigger to help prevent breathing problems.

Although you should already be aware of what to do in case of an attack, speak with a medical professional for further advice.

As with most other medicines, using Bricanyl may not be recommended in some circumstances, or in certain cases, should be used with caution. Those who have thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism), hypokalaemia (low potassium levels), a heart disease (such as angina, heart failure, or heart rhythm problems), or diabetes may be advised against this treatment. If you have an allergy to terbutaline or any of the inactive ingredients, or if you notice your asthma symptoms worsening, Bricanyl will not be recommended. It should also be used sparingly by pregnant or breastfeeding women, and children.

You should make your doctor aware if you are taking any other medications – including "beta blockers", such as propranolol (theophylline or aminophylline) and steroids. Whether they have been prescribed, or if they have been bought over the counter, your doctor needs to know.

During your consultation, make your doctor fully aware of your general health, and how well managed your asthma is. This way, they'll be able to recommend an appropriate treatment.

What are the side effects of the Bricanyl Turbohaler?

Whilst using the Bricanyl Turbohaler, you may experience side effects. However, please note that not everyone will suffer these.

Common side effects are; muscular cramps, a lowering of potassium levels in the body, an increase in heart rate, frequent headaches and the feeling of nervousness and shaking. There are also some less common side effects to look out for too, including skin rashes, throat and mouth irritation, disturbances to your heart rhythm, and the feeling of nausea. If you experience an unexpected increase in wheezing after using the inhaler, use a different type of "reliever" inhaler and seek medical assistance. See the patient leaflet provided for full product details and potential side effects, before you begin the treatment. The leaflet can also be viewed online here.