Ask the Allergist
Do all asthma inhalers contain lactose?
Lactose is milk sugar and would not cause food allergy, which is an immune response to milk protein. Lactose is found only in dry powder inhalers. Many people with a milk allergy avoid them to avoid potential contamination with milk protein. Ask your doctor if switching to a different inhaler is possible. Metered-dose inhalers do not have lactose.
Douglas T. Johnston, DO, FAAAAI, FACAAI, is an allergist/clinical immunologist at Carolina Asthma & Allergy Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Assistant Professor at Edward Via School of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI). He has lectured at national and international medical conferences and has publications in several medical journals, including “Clinical Immunology,” “World Allergy Organization Journal,” “Journal of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology,” “The Journal of the American Medical Association,” and the “New England Journal of Medicine.”