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Understanding Asthma Diagnosis & Treatment

Asthma Medications continued...

An anti-IgE drug, omalizumab (Xolair), is an injection usually taken once every two to four weeks and works by inhibiting the allergic inflammation that often causes constriction of the airways. Because of its high cost, Xolair is usually reserved for patients with difficult-to-control allergic asthma.

There are also some over-the-counter (OTC) drugs purported to treat asthma including Bronkaid Mist (epinephrine). These drugs are very short-acting bronchodilators, relaxing the muscles around the airways. They provide relief of symptoms for up to an hour, but they don't prevent asthma attacks and are much more likely to cause side effects (including dangerous abnormal heart rhythms) when compared to prescription bronchodilators. They aren't recommended for people with chronic asthma.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on March 24, 2014

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