Asthma medication plays a key role in how well you control your condition. There are two main types of treatment, each geared toward a specific goal.
Controller medicationsare the most important because they prevent asthma attacks. When you use these drugs, your airways are less inflamed and less likely to react to triggers.
Quick-relief medications -- also called rescue medications -- relax the muscles around your airway. If you have to use a rescue medication more than twice a week, your asthma isn’t well-controlled. But people who have exercise-induced asthma may use a quick-acting med called a beta-agonist before a workout.
The right medication should allow you to live an active and normal life. If your asthma symptoms aren’t controlled, ask your doctor to help you find a different treatment that works better.
Identifying your triggers is the first step in preventing asthma attacks. Keep a diary for several weeks, detailing all the environmental and situational factors that are associated with your asthma attacks. When you have an asthma attack (exacerbation), go back to the diary to see which factor, or combination of factors, might have contributed to it. Some common asthma triggers are not always obvious, such as house dust mites, molds, and cockroaches. Ask your doctor about allergen skin testing to...
Anticholinergics. These are bronchodilators that can be paired with, or used instead of, short-acting beta-agonists.
Systemic corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory drugs that get symptoms under control quickly.
Inhalers, Nebulizers, and Pills as Asthma Medicine
There are a few ways to take asthma medications. Some are inhaled, using a metered dose inhaler, dry powder inhaler, or a nebulizer (which changes medication from a liquid to a mist). Others are taken by mouth, either in pill or liquid form. They can also be given by injection.
Some asthma drugs can be taken together. And some inhalers mix two different medications to get the drugs to your airways quicker.