MEDICATIONS THAT RELIEVE and CONTROL SYMPTOMS
Based on your asthma symptoms, your health care provider will prescribe asthma medications designed to work best for you. The two main types of asthma medications are:
Quick-Relief Medication (Reliever)
Everyone with asthma should have access to quick-relief medication delivered with a metered-dose inhaler. Your quick-relief medication is used to treat asthma symptoms when they first begin. Within 10 to 15 minutes of use, your quick-relief medication should work to reduce squeezing of the muscles around your airways. If you are prescribed a quick-relief asthma inhaler, you should carry it at all times.
Long-term Control Medication (Controller)
This type of medication is taken daily (even if you are not experiencing symptoms) and works to reduce your airway inflammation and mucus production. This makes your airways less sensitive to triggers and prevents asthma flare-ups before they happen. Not everyone with asthma needs a long-term control medication. Your healthcare provider will determine your asthma severity and whether you need one.
There are several different asthma medication delivery systems. If you take inhaled medicines, you should practice using your inhaler at your health care provider’s office. If you take long-term control medicines, take them daily as your health care provider prescribes. Your health care provider may also advise you to use a peak flow meter to measure and record how well your lungs are working.
Every time you use an inhaler, it is important to also use a spacer or holding chamber. This device helps get more medication into the lungs. RHA provides a free Monaghan Z Stat Anti-Static Valved Holding Chamber courtesy of Monaghan Medical Corporation to each Fight Asthma Now© participant. Learn how to properly use an inhaler with a spacer.
Oral Corticosteroids in Asthma Care
Your doctor may prescribe oral corticosteroids (OCS) to treat moderate to severe asthma flares. These medications are designed to decrease airway inflammation and reduce mucus quickly, but they also come with a potential for serious side effects.
Patient advocacy groups, professional medical societies and industry stakeholders are partnering to raise awareness of oral corticosteroids and develop strategies to curb reliance on them. Read more about this collaborative effort to curb OCS overexposure at https://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/education/severe-asthma/oral-corticosteroids-asthma-care/
Be sure to create an asthma action plan with your health care provider so you can take care of your asthma before it gets out of control.