Asthma Home > Asthma Treatment

Two types of medicines are used in the treatment of asthma: quick-relief medications and long-term control medications. It's likely that your healthcare provider will want you to use both types, but your treatment plan is something the two of you will come up with together. You may also use a peak flow meter at home as part of your treatment.

Asthma Treatment: An Overview

You and your healthcare provider can decide together about your treatment goals for asthma and what you need to do to control the condition. Treatment for asthma includes:
With proper asthma treatment, you should ideally have these results:
  • Your asthma should be controlled
  • You should be free of symptoms
  • You should have fewer attacks
  • You should need to use short-acting bronchodilators less often
  • You should be able to engage in normal activities without having symptoms.

Medications Used for the Treatment of Asthma

Two main types of medicines are used for asthma treatment:
Quick-Relief Asthma Medications
These medications are used only when needed in the treatment of asthma. One type of quick-relief medicine is a short-acting inhaled bronchodilator. Bronchodilators work by relaxing tightened muscles around the airways. They help open up airways quickly and ease breathing. They are sometimes called "rescue" or "relief" medicines because they can stop an asthma attack. These medicines act quickly, but their effects only last for a short period of time.
You should take quick-relief medicines for asthma when you first begin to feel asthma symptoms, such as:
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath.
Anyone who has asthma should always have one of these inhalers handy in case of an attack. For severe attacks, your doctor may use steroids to treat the inflammation.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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