Inhalers are the most common for treatment of asthma. There are two main types of inhalers:
1) Quick relief medications: Known as ‘rescue inhalers’, they quickly relax the airway muscles and ease the air flow, providing quick short-term relief. If these inhalers are used for more than two days a week, it is recommended to inform health care providers and re-evaluate asthma control.
2) Long-term control medications: Used to target airways’ inflammation processes and prevent symptoms from worsening, these maintenance medications are taken daily, even when there is no active asthma symptom. Inhalers with inhaled corticosteroids Inhalers that combine Inhaled corticosteroids and a long-acting beta agonis (LABA)
3) Single Maintenance and Reliever Therapy (SMART): Combination of Quick relief and Control inhalers as one inhaler. This maintenance inhaler is used to control and prevent asthma symptoms.
Other Medications Added to the treatment plan if asthma symptoms are not well controlled when using standard treatment. These may include:
- Long-Acting Muscarinic Antagonists (LAMAs). Used to prevent tight airways and relax the muscles.
- Oral corticosteroids: Anti-inflammatory medications
- Leukotriene Modifiers: Reduce chemicals that cause inflammation and excess mucus.
Biologics: Treatments for people whose asthma is not well controlled with standard inhalers.
Biologics target a specific cell or protein in the body that causes inflammation in the airways.
These are given by injections or intravenous infusion over several weeks.
For more information, click here for a short video on "Diagnosing Severe Asthma".
Asthma inhalers and other types of respiratory medications vary in price. If you cannot afford the cost of your asthma inhaler or other respiratory medication, the Allergy and Asthma Network provides guidance about contacting resources that can help with low-cost asthma/respiratory medicines.