Asthma is a common disease that can affect anyone, especially children and adults with a history of allergies. Asthma is a condition when the airways become inflamed, narrow and swell, and produce excess mucus which triggers breathing. It is triggered by certain allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, weeds, etc. The best way to deal with an asthma attack is to understand the triggers and symptoms so they can be treated proactively. An asthma attack leaves the patient breathless and unable to breathe normally even after using the inhaler several times in succession on different occasions. Fortunately there are many different asthma medications available today to effectively manage this condition. In this article we will discuss some of the most commonly used asthma medications that you should know about
What Are the Types of Asthma Drugs?
There are three main categories of asthma medications: inhalers, oral medications, and combination medications.
These are the most common asthma medications and are often recommended for treating mild to moderate asthma. Nebulizer inhalers are generally prescribed for patients with severe asthma. Inhalers work by relaxing the airway muscles and opening the airways so the person can breathe better. There are two types of inhalers: metered dose inhalers (MDIs) and breath-activated inhalers. MDIs are the most common type of inhaler and are used to treat asthma and COPD. Most MDIs use a gaseous propellant such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to dispense the drug. Breath-driven inhalers are not as common as MDIs. While MDIs require the person to manually squeeze the tube and administer the medication, breath-activated inhalers use sensors to detect the patient’s inhalation and deliver the medication.
This type of asthma medication is taken orally and works by preventing spasmodic contractions of the muscles around the airways. Oral medications are often prescribed for patients with mild to moderate asthma. The most commonly used oral medications are beta-agonists, antihistamines, and leukotriene blockers. Beta-agonists – Examples of these oral asthma medications are albuterol, salbutamol, and terbutaline. This medication works by relaxing the muscle passages and opening the airways so the person can breathe better. They are often used as rescue drugs for patients suffering from acute asthma attacks or preterm labor. Antihistamines – These asthma medications are used to treat allergic asthma by preventing spasms in the muscles around the airways caused by allergies. They are also commonly used to treat fever. The most commonly used asthma medications in this category are azelastine, cetirizine, and fexofenadine. Leukotriene blockers – These asthma medications work by slowing the production of certain types of inflammatory molecules known as leukotrienes. They are often used to treat allergic asthma as well as chronic coughs and allergies. Currently there are only two leukotriene inhibitors available as asthma medications and they are zileuton and montelukast.
This is an asthma medication that contains an inhaler and an oral medication. Combination drugs are prescribed for patients suffering from moderate to severe attacks. The most commonly used combination drugs are Symbicort and Advair. Symbicort contains a type of steroid called budesonide along with formoterol, a medication that relaxes the airway muscles and opens the airways. Advair is a combination of the inhaled steroid, fluticasone and the bronchodilator, salmeterol. Medications are often combinations used to reduce oral steroid use.
Asthma is a common disease that can affect anyone, especially children and adults with a history of allergies. This is an inflammatory condition of the lungs that causes difficulty breathing and makes the patient wheeze. There are three main categories of asthma medications – inhalers, oral medications, and combination medications. Inhalers are the most common asthma medications and are often recommended for treating mild to moderate asthma. Oral medications are taken orally and are used to prevent spasmodic contractions of the muscles around the airways. Combination drugs are asthma medications that contain an inhaler and an oral medication.