Understanding Inhaled Medications for Asthma

If you or one of your children has asthma, you are well aware of the confusing and ever changing guidelines about inhaled medications. Asthma is a chronic disease that needs constant management, and most asthma sufferers carry around at least one type of inhaler. Understanding inhaled medications for asthma and which type to use, and when, is the best way to control symptoms.

What Is an Asthma Attack?

During an asthma attack, you experience three things:

  • There is a bronchospasm when the muscles around your airways tighten making those airways more narrow. Air can’t flow normally.
  • Inflammation causes the lining of the airways to become swollen.
  • Mucus production increases, making the airway even more clogged.

Asthma Affects All Ages, Many Varied Symptoms

Children, adolescents, and adults are all susceptible to asthma and their attacks. There are wide ranges of symptoms and severity as well as various treatment options. The most common being an inhaler.

child with an inhaler.

Since asthma is caused by inflammation and swelling of airways, the inhaled medication works two ways. A bronchodilator relaxes the muscles that tighten airways, and an anti-inflammatory reduces any swelling and mucus.

Recent studies are showing that overuse of bronchodilators can increase the frequency of symptoms and attacks, whereas anti-inflammatories can lead to better symptom relief.

Latest Asthma Treatment Recommendations

Researchers agree that short-term relief bronchodilators like albuterol should be used immediately for quick relief which can last up to 6 hours. Long-acting controller meds in combination with anti- inflammatory inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) can keep airways open for up to 12 hours. This is usually taken as a maintenance daily-use medication to control or prevent asthma symptoms by reducing inflammation. Therefore, a rescue inhaler will not be needed as frequently.

New guidelines from National Institutes of Health (NIH) state the preferred line of treatment for many asthma patients is a combination single maintenance reliever therapy or SMART. It can also be an option for some people. It consists of one inhaler with two meds: an ICS and formoterol, a long-acting therapy. This can be used for both maintenance and during an attack.

It is best to speak with a specialist like Towson Pediatrics in Towson and Fallston about your options and which therapy is best for you or your children.

Contact Towson Pediatrics for Towson clinic (410) 769-8801 and Fallston clinic (443) 981-3337 for additional information and recommendations for asthma treatment.