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Asthma in Teens and Adults - Other Treatment

Bronchial thermoplasty

A new treatment called bronchial thermoplasty is available for adults with severe asthma. For this treatment, bronchoscopy is used to apply heat to the airways. This reduces the thickness of the airways and improves the ability to breathe.12, 13

Allergy shots

Allergy shots (immunotherapy) may be recommended for people who have asthma symptoms that are triggered by allergens.

For some people, allergy shots reduce asthma symptoms and the need for medicines.16 But allergy shots don't work equally well for all allergens. Allergy shots should not be given when asthma is poorly controlled.

Allergies: Should I Take Allergy Shots?


Some people have used ephedra—a stimulant sold for weight loss and sports performance—to try to treat asthma symptoms. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale of this dietary supplement because of concerns about safety. Ephedra, also called ma huang, has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and some deaths.

Other complementary medicine

Alternative treatments such as homeopathy, acupuncture, and breathing exercises have been used to treat asthma. The research on these treatments is limited. Reviews of research show:

  • No evidence to support using homeopathy, air ionizers, manual therapy, or acupuncture for asthma.17, 18
  • A possible but not clearly established role for using antioxidants.17, 18
  • That breathing exercises, such as Buteyko breathing or the breathing practiced in some forms of yoga may improve lung function or reduce the use of quick-relief medicines.17, 18, 19

A review of complementary and alternative treatments for treating asthma in children concluded that none have been proved to reduce asthma symptoms and some may have harmful side effects.20 Some of these studies included teenagers and adults. The treatments reviewed include:

Talk with your doctor before trying a complementary or alternative treatment.

For more information on alternative treatments, see the topic Complementary Medicine.


WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 22, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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