Bronchodilators are a type of medication that widens the airways, making it easier to breathe.

Bronchodilators relax the lung muscles and are prescribed for conditions that restrict the airways, causing them to become narrow or inflamed. Bronchodilators, like inhalers, are prescribed to treat respiratory conditions like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


How do bronchodilators work?


When people are struggling to breathe, often their airways narrow. Bronchodilators work by stimulating the muscles that line airways, causing them to relax, which widens the airway and allows more air to flow through, making it easier to breathe. 

Some offer quick relief to asthma symptoms, whilst others help to control long-term symptoms and prevent them from getting worse. Some anticholinergics, which are a type of bronchodilator used to treat COPD, block the nerves responsible for tightening the airways, whilst other bronchodilators like theophylline reduce inflammation to make breathing easier. 

Some research suggests that certain cannabinoids may have bronchodilatory effects, however this area requires further investigation as the research in this area is still in its infancy stages. 


How are bronchodilators used?


For bronchodilators to be effective, they have to be administered correctly. To administer a bronchodilator, first the inhaler must be shaken, then the medicine should be deeply inhaled. After the medicine is administered, patients should rinse out their mouth. Bronchodilators are not steroids, but they are often used in combination with inhaled corticosteroids for anti-inflammatory purposes, and it is especially important to rinse the mouth in these cases. 


Do bronchodilators have side effects?


Like all pharmaceuticals, bronchodilators come with the rsk of side effects. Some of the most common include an increased heart rate, nausea or vomiting, muscle cramps, headaches, dry eyes and an increase in nervous shaking. 

Chronic use of bronchodilators, or using them for years on end, can cause the body to become particularly sensitive to respiratory triggers, and so it is important that these medications are only used under the guidance of a healthcare professional, and they are used following clinical instructions. 


Do bronchodilators interact with other medications?


Bronchodilators can interact and interfere with other medications, especially prescription medication, and so it is crucial to check with healthcare providers that this will not happen. When medications interfere with each other, they can be less effective, or increase the risk of serious, adverse, or unpleasant side effects. 

If you are interested in learning more about cannabis-based medicine options in the UK, Releaf is here to help.