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    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 asthma attacks.

    • Long-term (controller) medicines are used daily for persistent asthma.
    • 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 camera.gif.

    Delivery systems include metered-dose and dry powder inhalers and nebulizers.

    Doctors recommend using a spacer camera.gif with an MDI to better deliver the medicine to the lungs. For many people, a spacer makes an MDI easier to use.

    actionset.gif Breathing Problems: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler
    actionset.gif Breathing Problems: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler

    Medicine choices

    The most important asthma medicines are:

    There are other long-term medicines for daily treatment. They include:

    Other medicines may be given in some cases.

    • Anticholinergics (such as ipratropium) are usually used for severe asthma attacks.
    • Omalizumab may be used if asthma doesn't improve with standard treatment. Or your doctor may recommend this medicine if you have severe allergic asthma and your symptoms aren't relieved by avoiding allergens or taking other medicines.

    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.

    Be safe with medicine. Read and follow all instructions on the label.

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