Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways in your lungs. More than 25 million Americans have asthma. There is currently no cure for this condition, but you can manage it. Everyone’s asthma is different, so different medications may be recommended as part of an asthma treatment plan.
How Asthma Medications Work
Different types of asthma medications work in various ways and can offer either quick relief or be used as a long-term control medicine.
- Quick-relief medications, sometimes called rescue medications, are used to quickly relax your airway, relieve asthma symptoms, and help you breathe easier. They are taken as needed and as soon as asthma symptoms begin. Short-acting bronchodilators work in this way.
- Long-term control medications, like anti-inflammatory medicines, are also called corticosteroids or steroids. You take these medications regularly – sometimes daily, and even when you feel well – to reduce swelling and inflammation in your airways and help prevent asthma attacks.
- A few medications are classified as combination medications. These act as both quick-acting and long-term control medications.
- Biologics are used to treat severe, persistent asthma. These medications are delivered by injections or infusions and target specific cells to help prevent swelling from triggers.
People with asthma are often prescribed a combination of these medications. Most are taken using an inhaler or nebulizer, but some are available orally or by injection. Some medications can cause side effects, but most are mild, treatable, and temporary.
Stay on Schedule with Asthma Medications
Following your asthma medication schedule is vital to managing the condition and controlling your symptoms. This means taking the right medication, at the right time, and in the right way as prescribed by your doctor. Doing so will help you make the most of your medications. Consider completing an asthma medication schedule, setting a daily alarm, using a pill box, or incorporating taking the medicine into another daily routine (like brushing your teeth) to help stay on track.
Talk to Your Health Care Provider
Be sure to discuss any asthma questions or medication concerns with your doctor. Questions you may want to ask include:
- What treatments other than medications should be included in my asthma action plan?
- How long will I need to take my medications?
- Will my medications always remain the same?
- What side effects are possible with my medications?
Remember, you can manage your asthma. Follow your asthma action plan and take your medications correctly to live a healthier, happier life.