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Asthma Treatment: Steroids and Other Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

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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 mast cell stabilizers, 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)
  • Aerobid
  • Arnuity Ellipta
  • Asmanex
  • Azmacort
  • Dulera (a combination drug that also includes a long-acting bronchodilator drug)
  • Flovent
  • Pulmicort
  • Symbicort (a combination drug that includes a steroid and a long-acting bronchodilator drug)
  • Qvar

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

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