Types of asthma medicines- There are two types of asthma medicine:
- Controller medicines are used every day. They relax and widen the airways over time. This can help control inflammation. And that may prevent attacks.
- Quick-relief medicines are used during an asthma attack. They start working in a few minutes.
An inhaler is used to take the most asthma medicines. You use this device to breathe in the medicine. The medicine goes straight into your airways and lungs.
You may have to take more than one medicine every day. It is very important to take your medicines the way your doctor tells you.
If exercise makes your symptoms worse, you can use your quick-relief inhaler 10 minutes before you start. This may help prevent an attack.
Inhaled steroid (corticosteroid) medicines are the best medicines for long-term treatment. You use them every day. They control your asthma, and they prevent attacks. They include beclomethasone, budesonide, fluticasone, and mometasone.
Long-acting beta2-agonists are inhaled with a steroid medicine. They make it easier to breathe for more than 12 hours. They include formoterol with budesonide (Symbicort) and salmeterol with fluticasone (Advair). If your medicine causes wheezing or makes your wheezing worse, call your doctor right away.
Corticosteroid pills or shots may be used to control your asthma before you start daily medicine.
You may also need them to treat attacks. They include prednisone and prednisolone.
If your asthma is not under control, your doctor may prescribe other medicines. These include:
- Leukotriene pathway modifiers. These include montelukast, zafirlukast, or zileuton. They come as regular or chewable pills. You use them with inhaled steroid medicines.
- Mast cell stabilizers, such as cromolyn. These are inhaled.
- Methylxanthines, such as theophylline. These come as a pill or liquid. Or they can be given as a shot. They are usually used with an inhaled steroid medicine. They may help control symptoms at night.
Short-acting beta2-agonists (bronchodilators) relax the airways within 5 minutes and make it easier to breathe. They work for 3 to 6 hours. They are usually inhaled. But you can also take them as a pill or liquid. Or they can be given as a shot. They include albuterol and levalbuterol.
- Always have a 30-day supply of your quick-relief medicine. Keep some of it with you at all times.
- Do not overuse these medicines. They only treat symptoms. If you use them more than 2 days a week (except for exercise), talk with your doctor. You may need more controller medicine.
Anticholinergics, such as ipratropium, are inhaled. They are sometimes used with albuterol for severe asthma attacks. One example is the combination of ipratropium and albuterol (Combivent). Omalizumab (Xolair) is for people with moderate or severe asthma. It may be used if other treatments don't work. It is given as a shot.