Asthma in Children - Medications
Medicine does not cure
asthma. But it is an important part of managing the
condition. Medicines for asthma treatment are used to:
- Prevent and control the
airway inflammation to minimize long-term lung
- Decrease the severity, frequency, and duration of
- Treat the attacks as they
Asthma medicines are divided into two groups: those for
prevention and long-term control of inflammation and those that provide quick
relief for asthma attacks. Most children with persistent asthma need to use
long-term medicines daily. Quick-relief medicines are used as needed and
provide rapid relief of symptoms during asthma attacks.
Most medicines for asthma are
inhaled, because a specific dose of the medicine can
be given directly to the bronchial tubes. Delivery systems include metered-dose and dry powder
nebulizers. A metered-dose inhaler is used most
Most doctors recommend that every child who uses a
metered-dose inhaler (MDI) also use a
spacer , which is attached to the MDI. A spacer may
deliver the medicine to your child's lungs better than an inhaler alone. And
for many people a spacer is easier to use than an MDI alone. Using a spacer
steroid (corticosteroid) medicines can help reduce their side effects and
the need for the oral (pill) kind.
- Asthma: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler
- Asthma in Children: Helping a Child Use a Metered-Dose Inhaler and Mask Spacer
- Asthma: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
The most important asthma
- Inhaled steroid medicines. These are the
preferred medicines for long-term treatment of asthma. They reduce inflammation
of your child's airways and are taken every day to keep asthma under control
and to prevent sudden and severe symptoms (asthma attacks).
Examples include beclomethasone, budesonide, flunisolide, and fluticasone.
- Short-acting beta2-agonists (quick-relief medicines) for asthma attacks. They relax the airways, allowing your
child to breathe easier. These medicines include albuterol and levalbuterol.
- Oral or injected steroid medicines (systemic corticosteroid medicines) to get your child's asthma
under control before he or she starts taking daily medicine. Your child may
also need these medicines to treat asthma attacks. Examples include
dexamethasone, prednisolone, and prednisone.