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Asthma Medications
There are basic groups of medications used in the treatment ARNIE BAKER CYCLING
Generic names are listed before trade names. Adrenergic Drugs
Drug Delivery
This allows the breathing passages to open Many of the adrenergic and steroids medicines more, and then the steroid inhaler medicine will are available in tablet and inhaler form. Inhaler medicines go directly to the lungs. Tablets travel through the blood stream before reaching the lungs. Tablets have more side effects because Inhaler Use
they go throughout the body. Side effects are If you have an inhaler, it is important to check reduced by using the inhaler form of these that you are using it correctly. Most patients need one-to-one instruction to make sure of proper If your breathing problems are more severe, use. Inhaler “chambers” may make it easier to and you are “tight”, and unable to take a good use your inhaler, or to have the medicine go to breath, it may be that the inhaler medicines do your lungs and not deposit on the back of your not work well, because they cannot reach the deep parts of your lungs. At such a time, tablet forms of these medicines are often used. Side Effects
All medicines sometimes have side effects. The adrenergic medicines work the quickest to relieve spasm and constriction of the breathing passages. The steroid medicines are amongst the slowest of asthma medicines in their effect. Corticosteroid tablets have some immediate Combinations
side effects including weight gain. Oral steroids If you need both the steroid and the beta- also have some serious long term side effects: adrenergic stimulator inhalers, use the beta- These side effects include diabetes, weakening of bones, and a rounded face. Continued Copyright Arnie Baker, MD, 1989-2003. Revised 11/24/2003. This training handout may be photocopied for distribution only if used in its entirety; and only with written permission. Electronic transmission is expressly prohibited. Copyright notice and permission must accompany use. Distribution after December 2004 is unlicensed and prohibited. Please report unlicensed use. Sometimes it is necessary to use steroids for a Cromolyns may help a minority of patients. long time to help breathing. The side effects are They often require consistent long-term use to be sometimes a necessary problem to be coped with, effective. They seem to be more successful in in order to breathe. The long term side effects of children than in adults. They are marketed for oral steroid tablets should be minimized by using, exercise-induced bronchospasm, but I have not as much as possible, inhaled steroids and the found them very useful for that indication. correct doses of the theophylline and adrenergic Atrovent may help a minority of patients with asthma, usually those who also have with Preferred Medications
If you need something for asthma only once in a while, it makes sense to use the adrenergic inhaler, as needed, up to 2 puffs 4 times a day. It is the fastest working of asthma medicines, and you use it only when you need it. If you always need some medicine to help your asthma, then it makes sense to take a corticosteroid inhaler regularly. You can add the adrenergic inhaler when and if you need it. For those needing long-acting beta-adrenergics, the relatively new inhaled salmetrol is the only one currently available.


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