The three general categories for asthma medications are relievers, controllers and combined medications. Reliever medications can help stop the symptoms that accompany an asthma attack. The medications are used when they are needed and are often most effective when you use them at the very first sign of any asthma symptoms. Some of the symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and tightness of the chest. These reliever medications are commonly used by asthma sufferers to help prevent the symptoms of asthma caused by exercise. You should carry reliever medications with you wherever you go because you may not be aware of when or where you need to use them.
Reliever medications are in the form of an inhaler and they contain a variety of very fast acting bronchodilators. They are available either as a single or a combination inhaler. Sometimes the reliever medication comes as a separate inhaler or it might come together with a controller medication in a single inhaler.
The controller medications help with keeping the asthma under control over a period of time by reducing the inflammation and the mucous that is in the airways. These controller medications help to reduce the sensitivity of the lungs to any triggers that could cause an asthma attack. They are sometimes often referred to as maintenance medications. They need to be used on a regular basis as prescribed even if you do not experience any symptoms to help to prevent any complications that may arise by an asthma attack. Some of the controller medications are, corticosteroids, long lasting bronchodilators, omalizumab, and sodium chromoglycate and ketotifen.
The combination medications work by combining two medications in a single inhaler. They are normally used by someone who has a regular schedule of taking two medications. Some of the combination medications contain both a reliever and a controller in the one single inhaler. Some are two controller or two reliever medication combinations.
Used alone, reliever medications won’t control asthma over time. Unless you have an extremely mild case of asthma, you will also use a controller medication.
It is very important to use any medications as they are prescribed. Often people stop taking their medication when the symptoms subside but they should only do so on the advice of the doctor. Many who suffer from asthma always have a degree of inflammation and a narrowing of the airways and may not be aware of it. Therefore, if you stop taking your medications all together then you could start the cycle of both inflammation and the constriction over again and you might have a very serious asthma attack. Talking to your doctor about a plan of action for your asthma is a very smart move in order to know how and if to change which type of medication you should take as well as the amount.
It is wise to remember that asthma is an ever changing disease and therefore the dosage of the medication that you need to control your symptoms may have to be changed as time goes by.
In order for you to get the most effect from the medications you have been prescribed, it is very important for you to be using the medications properly. Many people who have asthma seem to have one common problem and that is that they do not use the medications properly. Some of the most common problems usually include a poor technique of inhaling by not using the devices properly. Another common problem is the overuse of the medication and another is not using enough of the controller medication.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to help you become educated on exactly what the medication is for, how it is used, when you should use it, what the side effects might be if any, and how to over come them if they should occur.