Different Kinds of Asthma Medication

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Asthma is a respiratory condition commonly manifested by tightness in the chest and difficulty in breathing. Asthma attacks result from environmental triggers like pollen grains, animal fur or certain chemicals. Physiological triggers like colds and the ingestion of chemicals such as food sulfites can also result in an asthma attack.

There are several asthma medications for treating this condition, the most common of which is the inhaler. These are handy devices used to provide immediate relief from the symptoms of asthma.

There are two kinds of inhalers currently available to asthma sufferers — the dry powder and the metered-dose. Both of these asthma medications work by delivering medication straight to the lungs through inhalation. The metered-dose inhaler is preferred by most patients because it is much easier to use. All you have to do is to press down on the asthma medications container while inhaling at the same time, and the right dose of medication will immediately be moved to your lungs.

Although most inhalers look similar, their contents may vary. Different types of asthma medications may be prescribed, depending on the severity of the patient’s asthma condition. The most popularly recommended are bronchodilators that can provide either short-term or long-term relief. Short-term bronchodilators, such as pirbuterol and albuterol, are good for instantly reducing the symptoms during an asthma attack. Long-term bronchodilators provide more of a maintenance treatment.

There are also some asthma medications that can reduce the risk of having asthma attacks, such as corticosteroids. These medications may be taken to prevent the onset of an anticipated asthma attack. Two popular kinds of corticosteroids are budesonide and beclomethasone dipropionate.
For people who are averse to using steroid-based medications, there are other forms of preventive asthma treatment such as cormolyn and nedocromil. During an asthma attack, the walls of the lungs and airways are constricted, making it hard to breathe. These preventive medicines stop this from happening. The best way to provide long-term control over asthma is to take corticosteroids in tapering dosages in conjunction with a long-term bronchodilator.
There are more than a hundred brands of asthma medications to choose from today, most of which can be purchased even without a prescription. However, before taking any kind of asthma medication, particularly the ones for long-term relief, it is best to consult with a doctor first. If you are susceptible to acute asthma attacks, taking preventive medication is crucial. You must also keep an inhaler with you at all times, especially if you travel frequently. This will be your lifeline in case of a sudden unexpected asthma attack.

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