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Asthma Treatments

Treatment

The treatment approach to asthma is four-fold:

  • Regular assessment and monitoring
  • Control of contributing factors (eg, gastroesophageal reflux and sinusitis ), avoidance of allergens or irritants
  • Patient education
  • Medications

Often, you'll need to take more than one type of medication.

Asthma Medications

Medications Used to Control Asthma

These medications are used to control the condition and avoid asthma attacks, not to treat an acute attack:

  • Inhaled corticosteroid—used daily to reduce inflammation in your airways
  • Long-acting beta agonists—(eg, inhaled salmeterol ) used daily to prevent asthma attacks; should not be taken without an inhaled corticosteroid
    • May increase the risk of asthma-related death, intubation (putting a tube in the windpipe to breath), and hospitalization—If you have any concerns, talk to your doctor.
  • Cromolyn sodium or nedocromil sodium inhaler—used daily to prevent asthma flare-ups or to prevent exercise-induced symptoms
  • Zafirlukast , zileuton , and montelukast —taken daily to help prevent asthma attacks
  • Omalizumab (Xolair)—a monoclonal antibody against immunoglobulin E (IgE), given as an injection under the skin, used along with other medications
  • Theophylline —taken daily to help prevent asthma attacks, not as commonly used because of interactions with other drugs

Medications Used to Treat an Asthma Attack

These medications are used to treat an asthma attack:

  • Quick-acting beta agonists—(eg, inhaled albuterol , xopenex ) relax your airways so that they become wider again, may also be used to avoid exercise-induced asthma attacks
  • Anticholinergic agents—inhaled medications, such as ipratropium , that function as a bronchodilator, typically only used in an emergency setting
  • Corticosteroids—pills, injections, or intravenous (IV) medications given to treat acute flare-up of symptoms
    • Pills may be taken for a longer period of time if you have severe asthma that isn't responding to other treatments.
  • Epinephrine —a shot given to stop an asthma attack

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2019 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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