Asthma in Teens and Adults - Medications
Medicine doesn't cure
asthma. But it is an important part of managing it. Medicines for asthma treatment are used to:
Asthma medicines are divided into two groups: those for
prevention and long-term control of
inflammation and those that provide quick relief for
- Long-term (controller) medicines are used daily for
- Quick-relief medicines are used as needed and provide rapid relief of
symptoms during asthma attacks.
How to take asthma medicine
Most medicines for asthma are
inhaled. Inhaled medicines are used because a specific dose can
be given directly to the airways .
Delivery systems include metered-dose and dry powder
nebulizers. A metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is used most
Doctors recommend using a
spacer with an MDI to better deliver the medicine to the lungs. For many people, a spacer makes an MDI
easier to use.
- Asthma: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler
- Asthma: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
The most important asthma
There are other long-term medicines for daily treatment. They
Other medicines may be given in some cases.
A quick-relief medicine, racepinephrine (Asthmanefrin), is available without a prescription. This medicine isn't used with an inhaler. It comes with an atomizer that delivers the medicine as a mist.
The right medicine for you
Medicine treatment for asthma depends on your age and type of asthma, and how well the treatment is controlling your asthma
- The least amount of medicine that controls the asthma
symptoms is used.
- The amount of medicine and number of medicines
are increased in steps. So if asthma isn't controlled at a low dose of one
controller medicine, the dose may be increased. Or another medicine may be
- If the asthma has been under control for several months at a
certain dose of medicine, the dose may be reduced. This can help find the least
amount of medicine that will control the asthma.
medicine is used to treat asthma attacks. But if you need to use
quick-relief medicine a lot, the amount and number of controller medicines may
Your doctor will work with you to help find the number and
dose of medicines that work best.