|All about asthma types of asthma bronchial asthma exercise induced asthma adult-onset asthma status asthmaticus causes of asthma asthma triggers asthma and allergy asthma attack asthma in children asthma and pregnancy asthma in adults and older people complications of asthma symptoms of asthma warning signs of asthma asthma diagnosis asthma treatments asthma relief (rescue) medications asthma long-term control medications asthma inhalers asthma nebulizers control acute asthma attacks management of chronic asthma symptoms asthma relievers asthma preventers childhood asthma cures treatment for asthma in the elderly asthma prevention
What asthma relievers are available?
Asthma reliever is a drug that provides relief from asthma symptoms and is the most commonly used asthma medication. During an attack, the airways constrict, so short acting relievers are taken to relax the smooth muscle. Relievers do not reduce the underlying inflammation associated with asthma and therefore do not prevent asthma attacks.
Beta-2 agonists: Beta2-agonists are the standard asthma therapy. Beta-2 agonists act on molecule-sized receptors on the muscle of the bronchioles. The medicine fits the receptor like a key fits a lock and stimulates the muscle to relax. Examples of those which act for a short time (three or four hours following a single dose) are salbutamol and terbutaline. These medicines are inhaled from a variety of delivery devices, the most familiar being the pressurised metered-dose-inhaler (MDI). They are used when required to relieve shortness of breath. Short-acting bronchodilators should be used on an "as needed" basis to overcome attacks. Long-acting bronchodilators work by keeping the airways open for several hours. They are taken regularly whether asthma symptoms are present or not. Longer-acting beta-2 agonists include salmeterol and formoterol. Their action lasts over 12 hours, making them suitable for twice daily dosage to keep the airways open throughout the day.
Anticholinergics: Inhaled anticholinergic drugs open the breathing passages, similar to the action of the beta-agonists. The nerve impulses cause the muscles to contract, thus narrowing the airway. Anticholinergic medicines block this effect, allowing the airways to open. The size of this effect is fairly small, so it is most noticeable if the airways have already been narrowed by other conditions, such as chronic bronchitis. Inhaled anticholinergics take slightly longer than beta-agonists to achieve their effect, but they last longer than the beta-agonists. An anticholinergic drugs is often used together with a beta-agonist drug to produce a greater effect than either drug can achieve by itself. Ipratropium bromide (Atrovent) is the inhaled anticholinergic drug currently used as a rescue asthma medication.
Theophyllines: Theophylline acts as both a bronchodilator and an anti-inflammatory. It usually is used in addition to beta2 agonists and other anti-inflammatory drugs. Theophyllines are given by mouth and are less commonly used in Britain because they are more likely to produce side effects than inhaled treatment. They are still in very wide use throughout the world. All three types of reliever can be combined if necessary.
More information on asthma
What is asthma? - Asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory disease characterized by periodic attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest.
What types of asthma are there? - Types of asthma include child-onset asthma, adult-onset asthma, exercise-induced asthma, cough-variant asthma, occupational asthma, nocturnal asthma.
What's bronchial asthma? - Bronchial asthma is a disease of the lungs in which an obstructive ventilation disturbance of the respiratory passages evokes a feeling of shortness of breath.
What is exercise-induced asthma? - Exercise-induced asthma is a form of asthma that some people have during or after physical activity. Exercise-induced asthma is common.
What is adult-onset asthma? - Adult onset asthma generally is the onset of asthma for the first time in someone of middle age or older. Adult-onset asthma develops after age 20.
What is status asthmaticus? - Status asthmaticus is a severe asthma episode that does not respond to standard treatment. Status asthmaticus is caused by severe bronchospasm.
What causes asthma? - Asthma is caused by inhaling an allergen that sets off the chain of biochemical and tissue changes leading to airway inflammation, bronchoconstriction, and wheezing.
What're the asthma triggers? - Many risk factors have been linked to triggering asthma attacks. There are two basic types of asthma triggers, allergic triggers, non-allergic triggers.
Asthma and allergy - Asthma attacks (worsening of asthma symptoms) can be triggered by allergies. Allergy is the leading cause of asthma.
What is an asthma attack? - An asthma attack occurs when the small and medium-sized airways become inflamed and constricted after being exposed to a trigger.
Asthma in children - Asthma is the most common chronic condition of childhood. Asthma symptoms can interfere with many school activities for children.
Asthma and pregnancy - During pregnancy, asthma or asthma episodes will become worse for an estimated one-third of pregnant women, particularly women who have severe asthma.
Asthma in adults and older people - Identifying asthma in the elderly can be difficult because asthma symptoms can be confused with symptoms of heart or lung diseases.
What're the complications of asthma? - Uncontrolled asthma in pregnant women puts them at higher risk for complications that can include early labor, hypertension, gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of asthma? - The symptoms of asthma include labored breathing, constriction of the chest, coughing and gasping usually brought on by allergies.
What're the warning signs of asthma? - Most people with asthma have warning signs before symptoms appear. There are many warning signs of an asthma episode.
How is asthma diagnosed? - The diagnosis of asthma is made on the basis of typical symptoms and signs. Positive allergy tests support a diagnosis of asthma.
What're the treatments for asthma? - Treatment of asthma is aimed at avoiding known allergens and respiratory irritants and controlling symptoms and airway inflammation through medication.
What quick relief (rescue) medications cure asthma? - Short-acting beta-agonists are the most commonly used asthma rescue medications. Anticholinergics are another class of asthma drugs.
Long-term asthma control medications - Combinations of steroids and other medications are effective for both treating and preventing asthma attacks in patients with moderate to severe asthma.
What're asthma inhalers? - Most asthma drugs are inhaled using special devices or nebulizers. Two common types include dry powder asthma inhalers and metered-dose asthma inhalers.
What're asthma nebulizers? - Asthma nebulizers can be used with all classes of inhaled medications but are most commonly used with short-acting beta2 agonists and ipratropium bromide.
How to control acute asthma attacks? - Acute asthma is an acute exacerbation of wheezing, unresponsive to usually effective therapy and necessitating care in an emergency room or hospital ward.
How to manage chronic asthma symptoms? - The aims of management are to recognize asthma, to abolish symptoms, to restore normal or best possible long term airway function.
What asthma relievers are available? - Asthma reliever is a drug that provides relief from asthma symptoms and is the most commonly used asthma medication.
What asthma preventers are available? - Asthma preventers are to be used twice a day regardless of whether your child has symptoms of asthma.
What's the treatment for childhood asthma? - The goals of asthma therapy are to prevent child from having chronic and troublesome symptoms, to maintain child's lung function.
What's the treatment for asthma in the elderly? - Diagnosis and treatment of asthma can be more complicated in people age 65 and older than in those who are younger.
What can be done to prevent asthma? - Avoiding known allergens and respiratory irritants can reduce asthma symptoms. People with asthma should minimize risk for respiratory tract infections.