Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Asthma Health Center

Select An Article

Asthma Treatment: Steroids and Other Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Font Size

The key treatments for asthma are steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs. These asthma drugs both help to control asthma and prevent asthma attacks.

Steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs work by reducing inflammation, swelling, and mucus production in the airways of a person with asthma. As a result, the airways are less inflamed and less likely to react to asthma triggers, allowing people with symptoms of asthma to have better control over their condition.

What Are the Main Types of Steroids and Anti-Inflammatory Drugs for Asthma?

The main types of anti-inflammatory drugs for better asthma control are steroids or corticosteroids. Other anti-inflammatory treatments include leukotriene modifiers and immunomodulators.

What Are Inhaled Steroids?

Inhaled steroids are the mainstay treatment for controlling asthma. The use of inhaled steroids leads to:

  • Better asthma control
  • Fewer symptoms and flare-ups
  • Reduced need for hospitalization

Note that while inhaled steroids help prevent asthma symptoms, they do not relieve asthma symptoms during an attack. Dosages of inhaled steroids in asthma inhalers vary.

Inhaled steroids need to be taken daily for best results. Some improvement in asthma symptoms can be seen in 1 to 3 weeks after starting inhaled steroids, with the best results seen after 3 months of daily use.

Inhaled steroid medications for better asthma control include:

  • Advair (a combination drug that includes a steroid and a long-acting bronchodilator drug)
  • Arnuity Ellipta
  • Asmanex
  • Dulera (a combination drug that also includes a long-acting bronchodilator drug)
  • Flovent
  • Pulmicort
  • Qvar
  • Symbicort (a combination drug that includes a steroid and a long-acting bronchodilator drug)

Inhaled steroids come in three forms: the metered dose inhaler (MDI), dry powder inhaler (DPI), and nebulizer solutions.

Next Article:

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

When Is Your Asthma Worse?

Take the WebMD Asthma assessment to get Personalized Action Plan

Start Now

Today on WebMD

Lung and bronchial tube graphic
5 common triggers.
group jogging in park
Should you avoid fitness activities?
asthma inhaler
Learn about your options.
man feeling faint
What’s the difference?
Madison Wisconsin Capitol
woman wearing cpap mask
red wine pouring into glass
Woman holding inhaler
Man outdoors coughing
Lung and bronchial tube graphic
10 Worst Asthma Cities