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Medications

Asthma medications are generally divided into two broad categories: Quick Relievers, and Long-Term Controllers.

The Quick Relievers(or rescue) medications are medications that work quickly to open the airways to make breathing easier. They are taken only as needed for asthma symptoms or prior to exercising.

Long-Term Controllers are medications that do not work quickly. They are used to help prevent and decrease the inflammation (swelling) and constriction (tightening) in the airways, and must be taken daily.

Quick Relievers

Medication Brand name How it's taken What it's used for
Short-Acting
Bronchodilator
Albuterol®
Maxair®
ProAir®
Proventil®
Ventolin®
Xopenex®
Inhaler
Nebulizer
Gives quick relief by relaxing the muscles around the airways
Oral Corticosteriod Methylprednisolone® Orapred®
Pediapred®
Prednisolone®
Prednisone®
Prelone®
Pills
Liquid
Taken for severe asthma flare-ups. Reduces swelling and mucus in airways.

Long-Term Controllers

Medication Brand name How it's taken What it's used for
Inhaled Corticosteriod Asmanex®
Azmacort®
Aerobid®
Flovent®
Pulmicort®
QVAR®
Inhaler
Nebulizer
Controls swelling in the airways. It is the first choice of controller medication for asthma. Always rinse and spit after taking these!
Long-Acting Bronchodilator Foradil®
Serevent®
Inhaler Controls tightening of muscles around the airways. Used only in combination with inhaled corticosteroids.
Combination Therapy Advair®
Symbicort®
Inhaler Helps control both swelling and tightening of airways. Always rinse and spit after taking these!
Leukotriene Modifiers Accolate®
Singulair®
Zyflo®
Pill
Liquid
Reduces the amount of chemical reaction to allergens. Reduces swelling and tightening of airways.
Methylxanthines Theodur®
Theophylline®
Uniphyl®
Pill
Liquid
Reduces tightening of bronchial muscles
Non-Steriodal
Anti-inflammatories
Intal (Cromolyn)®
Tilade (Nedocromil)®
Inhaler
Solution
Nebulizer
Reduces swelling of airways
IgE Blocker Xolair® Injections Helps to block production of IgE (an antibody released with exposure to allergens). Reduces airway allergic response.

Allergy Medication

You may also be taking medications to help control your allergies symptoms. It is important to take these as prescribed. There is a close relationship between asthma and allergies, so decreasing your allergy symptoms will also help greatly to control your asthma.

Medication Brand name How it's taken What it's used for
Anti-Histamines Allegra®
Claritin®
Zytrec®
Pill
Liquid
Reduces amount of swelling in the nasal passages and reduces the amount of post nasal drip
Nasal Corticosteriods Beconase ®
Flonase®
Nasocort®
Nasonex®
Rhinocort®
Vancenase®
Nasal Spray Reduces amount of swelling in the nasal passages and reduces the amount of post nasal drip