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Treatment Using Asthma Medications
What medicines are used to treat asthma?
Medicines that relax tightened airways to make breathing easier.
Medicines that reduce the swelling or inflammation in the airways. They can also prevent the swelling from starting.
How are asthma medicines prescribed?
- Each patient's asthma is different
- Each patient's airways react to different triggers at different times and with different symptoms
- Asthma medicines must be given for each person's special needs.
- It may take some time to find out which medicines work best for you.
What is a Medicine Plan?
There are two kinds of medicines:
QUICK RELIEF - relieves (stops) symptoms
- If you have symptoms less than once or twice a week, a quick relief medicine may be the only medicine you need to control your asthma.
- If exercise is one of your triggers, your doctor may prescribe a quick relief medication before exercise.
LONG-TERM CONTROL - prevents the swelling
- If you have symptoms more than once or twice a week, you may need an anti-inflammatory medicine
- This medicine is taken EVERY DAY.
Your asthma medicine plan may not be working if you still have symptoms with exercise, at rest, at night or early in the morning. Your doctor may need to change the dose or the type of your medicine.
Are asthma medicines safe?
- Asthma medicines are safe, if you follow your doctor's orders. Physicians closely watch dosages at each visit to decrease the risk of side effects.
- Some people are afraid that they will become addicted to their medications. This is not true.
- Others are concerned that if medicine is taken all the time, it will no longer work. This problem occurs rarely and can be managed.
What to do IF side effects occur?
- Report all unusual symptoms to your doctor.
- Do not stop the medicine completely until you talk to your doctor. This can cause your asthma to get worse.
Tips for correct use of medicine:
Use your quick relief medicine at the earlier sign that your asthma is getting worse:
- First sign of an upper respiratory infection
- Drop in your peak flow number
- Chest tightness
- Short of breath
- An asthma episode is easier to stop if you take your medicine as soon as symptoms start.
- Quick relief medicines relieve symptoms, but they cannot prevent the swelling that causes the symptoms.
- When you have to use a quick relief medication frequently, it may be a sign that the underlying swelling in your airways is getting worse.
- If you use a quick relief medicine to relieve symptoms every day or if you use it more than three or four times in a single day you may need evaluation of your long-term control.
- Anti-inflammatory or long-term control medicines must be taken every day, even if you are not feeling symptoms.
- Anti-inflammatory or long-term control medicines must be taken regularly for them to work.
- If you are taking your quick relief medicine and your long term control medicine at the same time, always take the quick relief medicine medicine first.