An asthma attack can feel something like breathing out of a cocktail straw or trying to breathe with an elephant sitting on your chest. It is important to know what triggers your attacks, and it is even more important to know how to prevent attacks by getting your asthma under control.
There are a variety of medications available to help control asthma. Your doctor will help you decide which medication will be the best fit for you. It helps to know what your options are when it comes to asthma medications. With so many on the market it can be difficult to understand which will treat your condition most efficiently.
Asthma Medications Are Not All the Same
There are several factors involved in choosing the right asthma medication. Some of those factors include your age, the symptoms you experience and whether or not those symptoms are severe. Side effects of the different medications also come into play.
There are fast-acting medications generally used as rescue medications. These include albuterol and Atrovent. For serious attacks, oral and intravenous corticosteroids are used.
Some individuals have asthma that is triggered by allergies. Immunotherapy or allergy shots are often given on a regular basis. These injections help the body build up immunity to the allergens. Omalizumab is another medication used for allergy-induced asthma.
Long-Term Asthma Control Medications
Those suffering from chronic asthma are helped most efficiently by the use of long-term asthma control medications. These control meds are taken on a regular basis; however since asthma can change over time, it is important to stay under a doctor’s care even while taking long term medications.
These types of medications include inhaled corticosteroids. These are anti-inflammatory drugs which reduce the swelling and tightening of the airways. Optimum results may take anywhere from weeks to months, but the effects are worth the time. Popular medications in this category include: Fluticasone (Flovent HFA), Budesonide (Pulmicort), Mometasone (Asmanex Twisthaler), Beclomethasone(Qvar), Ciclesonide (Alvesco), and Flunisolide (Aerospan HFA) among others. As a rule, these medications do not cause serious side effects, but be sure to consult with your doctor about the possibilities.
Leukotriene modifiers are another type of long-term medication. These medicines block the immune system chemicals which cause asthma symptoms. Some of the more common examples are Singular, Accolate and Zyflo. Asthma symptoms are prevented for up to 24 hours with leukotriene modifiers.
Theophylline is a bronchodilator which is taken daily to treat mild asthma. This tablet relaxes the airways. The lungs’ response to irritants is decreased. Theophylline is sometimes used as a nighttime remedy for asthma symptoms.
There are also combination medications such as Advair Diskus, Symbicort, Breo and Dulera which combine both a bronchodilator and corticosteroid. There is a risk of having a severe asthma attack with these medications. Talk with your doctor about possible side effects.
There is a relief for asthma sufferers. Working with your doctor to find the proper medication will have you breathing clear and free. The doctors at Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center are happy to help you find the right asthma medication. Contact us for an appointment and consultation. We can help you stop breathing like a fish out of water.