Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Asthma Medications

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the breathing passages of the lungs (bronchi and bronchioles).

What Causes Asthma?

Asthma is caused by chronic (ongoing, long-term) inflammation of these airways passages. Individuals with asthma are highly sensitive to various "triggers" that lead to inflammation of the airways. When the inflammation is triggered by one or more of these factors, the air passages swell and fill with mucus. The muscles within the breathing passages contract and narrow (bronchospasm). The narrow airways make it hard to exhale (breathe out from the lungs).

What Are the Risks of Asthma?

Asthma causes wheezing, breathing difficulties, chest pain or tightness, and spasmodic coughing that often worsens at night. Asthma may impair individuals' ability to exercise, to engage in outdoor activities, to have pets, or to tolerate environments with smoke, dust, or mold. Although asthma can be controlled with medications, asthma attacks vary in intensity from mild to life-threatening. Over the past several decades, the number of asthma attacks that result in death has increased dramatically.

Medical Treatment

Patient Comments

The main goals in the medical treatment of asthma are to prevent asthma attacks and to control the disease. Avoiding triggers that induce or aggravate asthma attacks is an important aspect of prevention. Medications used to prevent asthma attacks (controller medications) focus on decreasing the airway inflammation that causes attacks. Rescue medications help open up your airway and are used for quick relief when asthma symptoms occur despite the use of controller medications.

Most of the inhaler therapies have been changed recently because of the government mandate to remove chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) from the devices in an attempt to prevent further damage to the earth's ozone layer. These inhalers have changed to a new propellant, hydrofluroalkane (HFA) or powder devices. This change in delivery system has resulted inadvertently in removing all generic inhalers from the market and only proprietary (brand name) options are available for now.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/15/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Understanding Asthma Medications

Asthma
Asthma Asthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages of the lungs (bronchioles). Asthma may be caused by genes and environmental factors. Asthma causes wheez...learn more >>
Asthma FAQ
Asthma FAQs Asthma is a disease that affects the breathing passages, or airways, of the lungs. Asthma is a chronic (ongoing, long-term) inflammatory disease that causes dif...learn more >>
Asthma in Children
Asthma in Children Children account for 47.8% of asthma-related visits to the emergency department. Asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. Treatment focu...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Asthma Medications:

Asthma Medications - Treatment

What kind of medical treatment have you received for your asthma?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Asthma »

Asthma is a common disorder that accounts for almost 2 million ED visits each year in the United States.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary