The lifelines for asthma care are steroids and other drugs which fall into the anti-inflammatory category. These medications are important in controlling asthma and preventing the infamous asthma attacks. The purpose of anti-inflammatory medication such as steroids is to reduce the inflammation and the production of mucus in the oral and nasal cavities. By doing so, the asthma sufferer is less likely to be sensitive to the allergens that irritated the passageways to cause the asthma reaction. That way the asthma sufferer will have a more productive life.
The main types of steroids and anti-inflammatory medications
The main types of these steroids and anti-inflammatory are what are called corticosteroids, which can be taken orally or inhaled, mast cell stabilizers, leukotriene modifier drugs and IgE blockers.
Inhaled steroids happen to be the most effective asthma medication, which reduces the inflammation in the airways of an asthma patient. Using these steroids will give an asthma patient better control over their condition, allow for fewer symptoms, and reduce the possibility of necessary hospitalization. These steroids would be used in an inhaler. However, it is important to note that even though they will prevent asthma symptoms they cannot relieve the symptoms you already are suffering from.
The actual dosage of steroids in the inhaler will vary and therefore are decided by your doctor.
These steroids should be taken daily and patients will begin to see improvement in their asthma in about three months.
Steroid brands for asthma sufferers
Advair, which is a combination steroid and bronchodilator drug, Aerobid, Plumincort, Asmanex, Flovent, Symbicort (again a combination steroid and bronchodilator drug) Azmacort, and Qvar.
Inhaled steroids can be purchased in three different forms: the dry powder inhaler, the metered dose inhaler and the nebulizer solutions. Are there side affects for using inhaled steroids?
If you are taking low dosages of steroids there are a few side affects from the medication. You might get some thrush, which is a yeast infection in the mouth and you may have some hoarseness. The thrush is easily prevented by rinsing your mouth and gargling with an anti fungal mouth wash after using the inhaler. You can also use a spacer device with metered dose inhalers to help prevent the thrust and or hoarseness.
Your doctor will prescribe the lowest steroid dosage that works for you. Steroid inhalers are also safe for children.
Parents are often concerned about steroids especially when they are given to children. Inhaled steroids are not anabolic steroids, which are the steroids that are popping up in the news. Inhaled steroids are not the same steroids which athletes use.
There are more benefits for using inhaled steroids to consider than there are side affects. You would have fewer asthma attacks. You would not have to use beta-agonist bronchodilators better known as asthma reliever inhalers and your lung function will improve. All of these benefits combined means you will have less emergency hospital room visits.
Prednisone and systemic steroids
Systemic steroids will act directly upon the bloodstream rather than just the lungs. Prednisone and other systemic steroids are fast acting and take about 12 hours to be affective. Prednisone will be used sparingly. It will be used in combination with other medications to control sudden and severe symptoms where the patient will be given high dosages of prednisone for a few days. This is called a steroid burst, which is often necessary in order to control the symptoms. Systemic drugs may also be given in low dosages every other day when asthma symptoms are chronic or very hard to control.
Systemic steroid brands
The medication used comprising systematic steroids are, Medrol, Methypred, Solu-Medrol (methylprednisolone), Delasone (prednisone), and Prelone, Pediapred, Orapred (prednisolone).
The side affects appear after several months or even several years. They could include: weight gain, acne, weight gain, behavior and mood changes, upset stomach, bone loss, eye trouble, and slowing of growth in children. These affects surface when prolonged use is necessary.
If you are using Accolate, Singulair or Zyflo, you are using a leukotriene modifier. These drugs block the production of leukotrienes in the body and tighten up the muscles in the airways.
Mast Cell Stabilizers
Intal and Tilate are two mast cell stabilizers, which prevent the production of mast cells mucous production. These medications are especially effective for children.
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) Blockers
Xolair is an immunoglobulin E (IgE) blocker which is the same medication given to allergy sufferers before asthma reactions can surface. These drugs are given by injection and are given to patients when steroid inhalers prove to be ineffective.