Asmanex Twisthaler Malfunction

Lauri Says:

I am 58 years old and have a life long history of asthma & have been using the Asmanex 120 dose twisthaler successfully and gratefully for 4 years without complaint. But last night I discovered, without a doubt, that the inhaler I have been using for the past 6 weeks malfunctioned. Not only was the counter randomly going backward giving me many “additional†doses I also believe it never dispensed any medicine – not hard to miss because the powdered medication is tasteless. My first clue came when I was down to my last 5 inhalations before starting my new inhaler. I took my double night-time dose & just happened to note the counter afterward. Instead of the expected number 3 in the counter window it said 15!

On two other occasions when using this same inhaler I suspected a glitch in the dose numbers but could never confirm as it didn't happen with any regularity but I was suspicious enough after one suspected incident to keep a log for a week but without results.

After using this medication for 4 years without any problems I can say with confidence that I know how to open & close the twisthaler properly. So I know this was not misuse on my part that caused this problem.

I want to add that for the past 35 days I have been seriously, seriously ill with asthma that did not present itself in its traditional form - no cold, no cough, no wheezing - a bolt out of the blue - very odd. I purchased that inhaler Feb 8 and began experiencing serious asthma on Feb 14. By my calculations I used the inhaler 4 x D for 40 days and, according to the inhaler’s counter, which shows I have 15 doses left adds up to 160 doses from a 120 dose inhaler - that has malfunction written all over it!

When I saw the blatant screw up I immediately took an inhalation on my NEW inhaler and for the first time in six weeks was able to sleep through the night without distress. My 2nd dbl dose this morning has already increased my feeling of well being. I know it is not an emergency inhaler but I think my body has been so starved for help it is making an immediate difference.
Because I was so sick and not responding favorably to any of the previous treatments (see below) my doc prescribed an albuterol ventilator treatment to be used 3 to 4 times a day. I began treatment Friday March 16th in the evening. While I felt somewhat improved for the 3.5 to 4 hours following each treatment - I would quickly become breathless shortly thereafter. So breathless they had to increase my dosage to 5 X daily but I only seemed to get worse. This morning I took a ventilator treatment at 8 am. Followed by my morning’s double dose from the NEW Asmanex inhaler & I am thoroughly impressed by how much better I feel. It is now 3pm – 7 hours later! – I don’t feel any oxygen deprivation anxiety at all!

I think that the malfunctioning counter was only the tip of the iceberg – I truly believe that over those 40 days that none of the medication I depend on was ever dispensed from that inhaler. Basically – no medication for 45 days!

Med info:
As a lifelong asthmatic I take a group of preventative medications:
Asmanex 220 – 1 to 2 inhalations 2 X daily
Flonase – 1 inhalation each nostril 2 X daily
Claritin – 1 tab each morning
Ventolin/Albuterol – emergency inhaler taken on and as need basis

When I started experiencing extreme shortness of breath on Feb 14th I increased my dosage of Asmanex to 2 inhalations 2 X daily. As well as my Ventolin use.
My first doctor’s visit on February 17th the doctor prescribed a short run of prednisone – 20 milligrams for 3 days tapering to 10 milligrams for 3 days to 5 milligrams for 3 days – with no results.

A return visit on March 2nd the doc prescribed a more intense run of prednisone – 40 milligrams for 6 days, 30 milligrams for 2 days, 20 milligrams for 2 days and 10 milligrams for 2 days. At first it seemed to help but by the 4th day, before I had even begun the taper, I again felt the onset of breathlessness which became worse with each day following. I felt like I was drowning. Yet this whole time I had no cough or wheeze, no cold symptoms. My peek flow was less than usual but not significant and my oxy saturation about 97. Nothing added up.

The third visit to the doctor on Friday March 16th the doc prescribed Zithromax (at my request) and ventilation treatment (which I need to purchase) to use 3 to 4 X daily. It helped me feel better but not great for the 4 hours following each treatment. After that I would drop back down to extreme breathlessness and basically could not make a whole day on 4 treatments so it was increased to 5 treatments daily.

The big change came the night of March 19th when realizing my inhaler was malfunctioning I took a dose off the new inhaler and could immediately feel a difference. Slept a comfortable 6 hours (first time in many weeks)

FIVE WEEKS plus I lived like this! I seriously thought I was going to die! All because the inhaler I depend so heavily on for my wellness and quality of life did not dispense any of the medication I needed.

Has anyone experienced this kind of malfunction with the Asmanex Twishaler (120 metered doses)?

6 Replies

Earliest Newest Votes
Verwon Says:

Wow! Very sorry about what you went through, that's awful.

Have you reported this to the FDA? They do take reports on such things and can look into it. You can find out how to make a report by calling 888-463-6332.


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Rick Says:

Yes, I have had several Asmanex Twisthalers that I believe were defective. Schering-Plough replaced those for me but did not admit they were defective. As soon as I would start a new device I got relief from symtoms within a day or two. In fact, the one I have been using for the past three weeks is probably defective because my asthma is getting worse. I will know in a day or two because I will start a new device tonight.

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first time user Says:

I used my asmanex twisthaler 3 times before the counter malfunctioned. Now the top number is stuck on 0 and I don't know how I will know if I am getting the right dosage or when it will run out of medication. Any tips how to reset the indicator/ticker?

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ME Says:

im having the same problems with my symbicort inhaler the only difference is i started it last week and i only use it maybe 2 times a day if that and it is almost empty already can i take it back to the pharmacy where i got it?

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jay Says:

I have taken a number of spent twisthaler apart, and have found a large amount of dispensed powder. I have no idea if it helps me or not as I also take foradil.

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freetob Says:

Hi Lauri, It has been about 5 years here but I just googled this question. Yes, I am using the inhaler asmanex. I feel like crap with this last months doses. I realized now that it is my inhaler. It has went up and down and this is why I cant breath. I dont understand how they can sell a defective product for such a serious illness. I dont know if it even dispensed my medication when I inhaled either. Seems as though it was empty. What if this was a child? Anyway, it is still happening.

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