Asthma and your pharmacist

Find out how your local pharmacist can help you to manage your asthma and asthma medicines without needing an appointment

How do pharmacies work?

You’ll find a pharmacy on your local high street. You can also find pharmacies in supermarkets, GP surgeries and hospitals.

You can walk into your local pharmacy and ask to see a pharmacist. This is useful because:

  • you don't need an appointment
  • some pharmacies are open outside of GP surgery hours
  • many pharmacies have a private consultation room

You can ask your pharmacist about any concerns with your asthma, repeat prescriptions, stop smoking advice, and advice on losing weight.

Not all pharmacies are the same, so it’s worth asking them about the services they offer and how they can help you.

How can a pharmacist help with my asthma?

Your pharmacist can help with many aspects of managing your asthma, from repeat prescriptions to helping with your inhaler technique.

New asthma medicine

If you live in England and you’ve just been diagnosed with asthma, or you’ve been prescribed a new asthma medicine, you can talk to your pharmacist about the New Medicine Service.

This free service gets you help and advice from your pharmacist during the first few weeks of taking your new medicine. You can ask them questions and talk through any problems you’re having.

Asthma medicine reviews

If you’re living in England, Northern Ireland or Wales, you can ask your pharmacist for a free 20-minute consultation called a Medicines Use Review. This is a chance for you to understand what medicines you’re taking.

If you're worried about side effects from your asthma medicines, and it's putting you off using them as prescribed, you’ll be more at risk from an asthma attack.

Why not ask your pharmacist about any side effects you're worried about, and get advice on how to reduce or manage them?

Inhaler technique

If you think you’re not getting the full benefit of your inhaler(s), you may need to check that you’re using them right. As well as your GP or asthma nurse, you can ask your pharmacist to check your inhaler technique.

Using your inhaler(s) in the best way helps you to keep your asthma well managed.

Asthma management

Your pharmacist can help you to understand if your asthma is well managed. They can do this by using questionnaires, such as the Asthma Control Test.

They’ll ask questions based on how you felt over the past four weeks, such as:

  • Has asthma affected how much you get done at work, school or home?
  • How often have you had shortness of breath?
  • How often have you had asthma symptoms? (coughing, wheezing, chest tightness)
  • How often have you used your reliever inhaler?

Repeat prescriptions

You can set up electronic repeat prescriptions with your pharmacy for your asthma medicines. When you’ve ordered a prescription once, your GP then approves a series of refills. These can be sent to your pharmacy automatically. Find out more about how electronic prescriptions work.

When you’ve used your inhalers, return them to your pharmacy. They can dispose of them in a safe, environmentally friendly way.

Other useful pharmacy services

Pharmacists can help you to manage your asthma better with other services too. They can help with stop smoking advice, weight management, hay fever medicines and the flu jab.

Stop smoking advice

Smoking triggers asthma symptoms. It also stops your asthma medicines from working as well. If you want to know how you can give up smoking, a pharmacist can help with this.

They'll be able to give you advice about the right stop smoking products to try. They can also give you information on local stop-smoking courses and services.

Managing your weight

If you want some help and advice about the best ways to lose weight, your pharmacist can help. Being overweight can make asthma symptoms worse.

So, if you'd like to try losing some weight ask your pharmacist about weight-loss products, or local courses to support you.

Hay fever medicines

You can ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines you’re taking to help your asthma, such as antihistamines for hay fever.

Flu vaccines

If you have a preventer inhaler or have been in hospital for your asthma in the last 12 months, you can get the flu vaccine on the NHS. Some pharmacies can offer the flu vaccine. If you do have your flu vaccine at a pharmacy, the pharmacist should tell your GP.

Find a pharmacy that offers the NHS flu vaccine.

Get support

Call our Helpline for support with your condition. Get advice on your medicines, symptoms or travelling with a lung condition, or just call us to say hello.

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