Types of Inhalants

An inhalant is anything that can be inhaled through the mouth and nose. Although there are many medical types of inhalants that are used to cure or control illnesses and diseases, there are many others that are used for recreational purposes. Inhalants can be harmful if they are not used as directed or contain substances that were not meant for inhalation.

Medical Inhalants

Types of Inhalants

Types of Inhalants

Medical inhalants can come in different forms such as nasal sprays, powders and aerosol sprays. For example, broncho-dilators like Arformoterol, Epinephrine, Albuterol and Levalbuterol are all used to treat and prevent asthma attacks.

Aerosol Inhalants

Combivent and Atrovent can be used for COPD, bronchitis or asthma. Spiriva, Proventil and Pulmicort are mostly used for COPD. These types of inhalants are mostly aerosol types. Spiriva and Advair come in a powder form that is breathed into open airways and helps keep them open. These inhalants, used for respiratory problems, can include some uncomfortable side effects like rapid heart rate, shakiness, drowsiness, dry mouth and throat irritation.

Anesthetic Agents

Other inhalants are used as anesthetic agents, some mainly for simple surgery or dental procedures. Nitrous oxide and chloroform are most common in the dentist office. These inhalants are usually administered through a mask that covers the mouth and nose. These provide a sedative effect that allows the patient to relax or even sleep for a short period of time while the procedures are being performed. The patients rarely feel any side effects from these two inhalants, with the exception of some drowsiness.

Different inhalants have also been manufactured and approved by the FDA for pain, inflammation, influenza, hypertension. These types of inhalants are usually available only by prescription from a doctor. Nasal inhalants like Flonase and Nasonex are used to help clear sinuses.

Although some generic or store band asthma inhalers used to be available over the counter, most large store chains have quit manufacturing them. Generic and brand name nasal sprays are still available.

Many Different Dangerous Chemicals

There are many different medical uses for inhalants. Some of them actually help to prevent severe attacks and save lives, such as asthma inhalers. Unfortunately, not all of them are used correctly and misuse can lead to addiction, other health problems, and even brain damage, organ failure or death.

Inhalants used for recreational purposes usually come from over-the-counter household products that are full of dangerous chemicals. Included in these are aerosol hairsprays, room deodorizers, butane, propane, toluene, xylene, and acetone. Inhaling these can be very dangerous and even cause brain damage, heart and liver failure, and death.

These types of inhalants, if spread about in the air in an enclosed area, can cause health problems without actually or purposely inhaling them. When using these products, be sure to use in a well ventilated area.

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