Apply for asthma treatment

The information that you provide is covered by the same patient-doctor confidentiality as in a normal face to face consultation.

If medically suitable, your prescription will be sent directly to your chosen pharmacy by secure email (Healthmail).

We refund the full amount if our GPs cannot treat you.

Please consider your responses and answer honestly and clearly. The questions will be based on:

  • The treatment you are requesting
  • Your health
  • Your medical history

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is due to an exuberant inflammatory reaction of the immune system as it is deployed in the bronchioles of the Lungs. If (as occurs in Asthma) the lining of the bronchioles becomes inflamed, then the diameter of the tube is markedly narrowed. This is what gives rise to the high pitched ‘wheeze’ of asthma. This inflammatory process is controlled by the anti-inflammatory action of the steroid inhalers (also called preventer inhalers).

As with many long term illnesses such as asthma there is a genetic component and an environmental trigger such as exposure to a cold or flu virus or to cigarette smoke.

Anyone with a history of asthma or family history of asthma should NEVER smoke, this may provoke the illness.

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What are the different inhalers for?

By international agreement, the reliever or rescue inhaler is coloured blue. This reliever inhaler acts on the muscle which surrounds the bronchioles. This causes this muscle to relax and hence it eases the narrowing effect of this muscle on the tube. This acts within 10 to 15 minutes of being inhaled. But this reliever inhaler has a short period of effect of 3 to 5 hours.

Again, by international agreement, the preventer inhaler is coloured brown (or sometimes tan coloured). These inhalers contain steroid medication and these are used for it’s anti-inflammatory effect to control the inflamed lining of the bronchioles and are known as ‘Preventer’ inhalers.

Unlike the blue inhalers, the onset of action is slower for the steroids and can take several days or even a few weeks for their effect to become evident. However once they have worked, they continue to work for days to weeks compared to the 3 to 5 hours of the reliever inhaler.

With the proper use of the modern inhaled medicines, asthma can be well controlled and have no or minimal effect on your quality of life. This means you must use the steroid inhalers to CONTROL the asthma.

Steroid inhalers have been around for more than forty years and there are no major long term side effects because the inhaled doses to control the asthma are much smaller.

Monitoring your Asthma

Asthma is a dangerous condition and every year in Ireland between 40 and 50 persons die from acute sudden asthma attacks.

Monitor your use of the BLUE inhaler. An increase in the use of this indicates that your control of the asthma is slipping and you may need to increase use of the steroid inhalers for a period.

Equally if you do not normally use the steroid inhaler and only use the blue inhaler sporadically (i.e. less than 3 times a week), then it may mean that you need to add in a course of the steroid inhaler for several weeks until the asthma comes back under control.

The service is provided in accordance with your scheme rules and table of benefits, which you can find on Member Area on or by calling 021 202 2000.

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