Asthma Home > Treatment for Asthma

Two kinds of medicine are usually used for asthma treatment: quick-relief medicines, such as bronchodilators, and long-term control medications, such as corticosteroids. Another tactic used for managing asthma includes avoiding triggers -- things that cause asthma symptoms or make them worse. You also may use a peak flow meter at home as part of your treatment plan.

Treatment for Asthma: An Overview

Asthma treatment includes avoiding asthma triggers and using asthma medicines.

Triggers and Asthma Treatment

If you react strongly to certain triggers, do everything you can to avoid them. This can reduce your need for medicine to control your asthma. Anti-allergy medicine and allergy desensitization shots are sometimes useful for people with allergies who also have asthma.

Medicines for Treating Asthma

Two kinds of medicines are often used for asthma -- those used to relieve acute symptoms and those used on a long-term basis to control asthma.
Fast-acting, inhaled bronchodilators are used to help open up airways to allow air to move more freely.
Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as corticosteroids (also known as steroids), are used every day on a long-term basis to help reduce the swelling of airways. These may be sprays (inhalers) or pills.
If you have mild asthma, you may only have to use a bronchodilator as needed to relieve your symptoms. If you have more severe asthma, you may need both kinds of medicines. It is important to use your medicines exactly as your doctor tells you.

Peak Flow Meter

Many people with moderate or severe asthma use a device called a peak flow meter at home to measure lung function. The peak flow meter can help warn of a possible asthma attack, even before you notice symptoms. You can then stop the attack by taking your medicine right away. The meter can also tell you how well you are responding to medicine.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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