Nebulized Asthma Therapies

Another form of asthma therapy is nebulized asthma therapy. Healthcare providers often use nebulized asthma therapies to treat young children and people with severe airway limitations. 

What Is a Nebulizer?

A nebulizer is an electric device 1 that administers mists of asthma medication. The primary benefit of this form of therapy is that the nebulizer does all of the work. Unlike the inhaler, which has two steps, a nebulizer has one easy step: put on the mask or mouthpiece. Before opting for nebulized asthma therapies, there are things you should consider. 


  • They’re not portable.
  • Nebulized therapies are time-consuming. 
  • Medications are expensive

Anesthetic Vapors

Anesthetic vapors 2 are a kind of nebulized asthma therapy. However, healthcare providers tend to use them in serious situations. For instance, when you are at risk of respiratory failure, experience an asthma attack, or when your medication does not work.

Respiratory Failure Due to an Attack

Your breathing is limited when you have an asthma attack. Without medical intervention, your breathing will worsen. You face many risks when this happens. The primary risk is oxygen deprivation, a condition where there is not enough oxygen in your body. Healthcare providers respond to oxygen deprivation with intubation or mechanical ventilation. You can still receive your asthma medication through anesthetic vapors.

How They Work

The anesthetic vapors help relax the muscles in your airways and lungs. A mask delivers a mix of vapors and oxygen directly to your lungs.


  • Tightly-fitting face masks can worsen feelings of not being able to breathe
  • Long term use of vapors can cause heart disease and organ toxicity
  • High levels of vapors can cause confusion and hallucinations
  • Vapors can interact with other asthma treatments


Ipratropium 3 is another nebulized therapy that is an aerosol. Healthcare providers use this therapy when you have airway muscle constriction. It reverses your constriction and opens your airways.


  • The effects are short. They don’t last longer than 24 hours.
  • Toxicity is possible
  • Ipratropium can cause behavior changes like confusion and agitation in some people. 
  • Doses aren’t regulated. What this means is there is no guidance on how much or little to use. 
  • Side effects, like urinary issues, upper respiratory infections, severe allergic reactions, and irregular heartbeat can happen. 

Pressure Ventilation

Intubation happens as a last resort, namely in situations when you experience oxygen deprivation. Intubation ensures that air goes to your lungs through a second airway. However, intubation is an invasive and traumatic process that can cause trauma to your airways.

Non-invasive ventilation is an alternate, less invasive nebulized asthma therapy. These kinds of procedures support your breathing without the need for intubation. Healthcare providers deliver them in one of three ways. The first is alone as continuous airway pressure (CPAP). Another way is with occasional positive pressure ventilation (IPPV). Finally, healthcare providers can deliver non-invasive ventilation with continuous airway pressure (NPPV). Ultimately, the goal is to open your airways. Healthcare providers determine the best route of administration.


  • You can experience a lack of oxygen to the brain or a lack of consciousness before receiving this therapy.
  • These therapies work best if administered early. However, that does not always happen
  • First responders may not have the training to administer this asthma therapy
  • NPPV increases the risk of injury