What Are Some Commonly Used Asthma Drugs?

Steroid Medicines for Asthma

Inhaled corticosteroids, or steroids for short, go directly into the lungs and help to decrease the inflammation of airways that makes asthma attacks more likely. Because steroids do not work quickly, they should not be used for treating an asthma attack. Rather, they are used on a daily basis to help prevent them. Medications in this category include:
Oral steroids, such as prednisone (Deltasone®) or methylprednisolone (Medrol®), are also used to treat asthma. These are best used on a short-term basis to control severe asthma symptoms.



Bronchodilators are the most basic type of medication for asthma. These are medicines that directly relax, or "dilate," the muscles of the airway. Rapid-acting bronchodilators are "rescue medicines" used to help relieve an asthma attack. Everyone with asthma should have a rapid-acting bronchodilator. Asthma medicines in this category include:
In addition to rapid-acting bronchodilators, long-acting bronchodilators are available. These are taken on a regular basis to prevent asthma attacks (but are not used to treat them). These medicines include:
Please note that a few other bronchodilators are available that were not mentioned in this article because they are not approved for asthma treatment.
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