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Proper Use of Asthma Medication

Today, there are many effective medicines to treat asthma. Most people with asthma need two kinds.

Quick-relief medicines — taken at the first sign of any asthma symptoms for immediate relief:

  • Short-acting inhaled beta2-agonists
  • Anticholinergics

Your doctor also may recommend you use these medicines before exercise for treatment of asthma. Quick-relief medicines can stop asthma symptoms, but they do not control airway inflammation that causes the symptoms. If you find that you need your quick-relief medicine to treat asthma symptoms more than twice a week, or two or more nights a month, then your asthma is not well controlled. Be sure to tell you doctor.

Long-term control medicines — taken every day to prevent symptoms and attacks:

  • Antileukotrienes or leukotriene modifiers
  • Cromolyn sodium and nedocromil
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Long-acting inhaled beta2-agonists (never taken alone)
  • Methylxanthines
  • Oral corticosteroids
  • Immunomodulators

These medicines are taken every day even if you do not have symptoms. The most effective long-term control medicines reduce airway inflammation and help improve asthma control.

Your doctor will work with you to find the right medicine, or combination of medicines, to manage your asthma, and will adjust the type and amount based on your symptoms and control. The goal of asthma treatment is to have you feel your best with the least amount of medicine.

Asthma Relief Test

If you or your child has asthma, use the Asthma Relief Self-Test to review your symptoms and see if you need to find relief.


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Asthma Success Stories

Read stories of people just like you. Learn how they found relief from asthma symptoms by visiting an allergist.

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Find an Asthma Specialist

An allergist is a doctor who has the specialized training and experience to find out what causes your asthma, prevent and treat symptoms, and help keep it under control. Find an allergist in your zip code and find relief.

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