Asthma Medicines


Asthma is a lung disease that can make your breathing difficult. There are three main categories of medications for managing asthma. They are medicines for long-term control, for quick relief and for managing allergic responses.

Medicines for Long-Term Control

Medicines used for long-term asthma control are taken regularly. Some of these medicines help reduce inflammation in your airways. Others keep your body from reacting to asthma triggers. Medicines in this category include corticosteroids that you inhale into your lungs. Other medicines for long-term control may be taken by mouth or injected into the body.

Medicines for Quick Relief

The second category of asthma medicines includes fast-acting drugs that provide quick relief when your symptoms flare up. These are known as "rescue" medicines. They are meant to be used occasionally. They work for a short period of time, but they can quickly stop an asthma attack. The most common types are called short-acting beta agonists. They are designed to be inhaled. Other quick-relief medicines are taken orally.

Medicines for Managing Allergic Response

A third category of medicines are used to manage the body's allergic response, which is a major cause of asthma symptoms. These medicines may be taken regularly, or they may be taken as needed. Allergy shots are included in this category. So are antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids that come in oral or nasal sprays. Your doctor will decide which types of asthma medicines are right for you.