Alvesco is approved to help prevent asthma attacks -- not treat them. This corticosteroid (or steroid for short) is inhaled directly into the lungs to reduce inflammation in the airway. In some cases, a healthcare provider may prescribe Alvesco "off-label" to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. If you use Alvesco, you should always have a "rescue medication" available in case of emergencies.
What Is Alvesco Used For?Alvesco® (ciclesonide inhaler) is a prescription medication used to prevent asthma attacks. It is taken twice a day, every day, and is part of a class of asthma medications known as inhaled corticosteroids, or simply steroids for short.
Asthma is a common, chronic disease that affects the airways. In people with asthma, the inside of the airways becomes inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to irritants or allergens (see Asthma Triggers).
When the airways react, they narrow and less air flows to the lungs. This is called bronchospasm; it causes asthma symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound during breathing), coughing, tightness in the chest, and trouble breathing.
While there is no asthma cure, the condition can be controlled. There are many different asthma treatments, including fast-acting "rescue medications" for treating an asthma attack and longer-acting "controller medications" used to prevent attacks.
Alvesco is a longer-acting controller medication, used to help prevent asthma attacks but not to treat them. Everyone who uses Alvesco should also have a rescue medication, such as an albuterol inhaler, available for emergencies.
(Click Asthma Treatment to learn more about managing this condition.)