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Asthma treatment

Asthma treatment

There are two primary kinds of medicine to treat asthma, fast-acting "rescue" medication and long-acting "controller" medication.

Fast-acting or "rescue" medication

  • These fast-acting inhalers act quickly and wear off quickly.
  • This type of medication, called Albuterol, has several brand names such as Ventolin, ProAir, Proventil and Xopenex.
  • They work to relax the muscles around airways that have been narrowed by tightened airway muscles (bronchospasm).
  • They can be used as needed for wheeze and cough and should always be used with a spacer.
  • Asthma inhalers (sometimes called pumps or puffers) work as well as nebulizers if you use a spacer.

Long-acting or "controller" medication

  • These long-acting inhalers act more slowly, but last longer.
  • This type of medication, called inhaled corticosteroids, has several brand names such as QVAR, Flovent, Advair, Dulera and Symbicort.
  • They work to reduce the swelling, irritation and mucus inside the airway so that the lungs can easily move air in and out.
  • They must be used daily, and most are used with a spacer.

three asthma medication delivery devices

 
Cathy Blair-Perrine
Cathy Blair-Perrine MSN, RN, AE-C Pulmonary medicine, UCAN Read more
Kathleen Bowden
Kathleen Bowden MSW, AE-C Pulmonary medicine, UCAN Read more
Ginger Mary
Ginger Mary CPNP, MSN, AE-C Pulmonary medicine, UCAN Read more
Michael Schechter
Michael Schechter MD, MPH Pulmonary medicine, UCAN Read more

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