How Your Asthma Medication Works

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Asthma is a condition that happens when your airways become narrow and swollen and produce excess mucus. This can make it hard for you to breathe and may cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. While theres no cure for asthma, your symptoms can be controlled using both quick-relief and long-term control medications.

Asthma medications are usually taken by breathing them in using an inhaler or nebulizer. This allows the medicine to go directly into your lungs.

When you have a flare-up, quick-relief medicines are taken at the first sign of symptoms and can ease asthma symptoms within minutes. These types of drugs work by quickly relaxing the tightened muscles around the passageways to your lungs. This allows more air to flow through them and improves your breathing. They also help loosen and remove mucus from your lungs. While quick-relief medicines can control your asthma symptoms, you may still need to take a preventative, long-term control medication to reduce the chronic inflammation that caused your symptoms.

One effective option is a group of anti-inflammatory drugs called inhaled corticosteroids. When taken daily, these medications reduce inflammation and swelling in your airways. This helps prevent the chain reaction that causes asthma symptoms, so youre less likely to have an attack.