Medications are one of the most important ways to prevent or treat asthma symptoms. There are two types of asthma medications: controller medications and quick relief (rescue/reliever) medications. Although many people think their reliever medication is the most important (because they make them feel better when they are having an attack), actually the controller medications are even more important. This is because if you use your controller medication every day with the technique your doctor shows you, you should not even have any attacks at all!
Bring all your pumps and medicines with you to your every visit so your doctor, nurse or pharmacist can explain to you what type of medicine it is, and check whether your technique in using it is good enough.
Controller medications work slowly over weeks to months to reduce the airway swelling and inflammation and help prevent asthma symptoms from occurring in the first place.
- Prevent asthma symptoms from occurring and reduce and/or prevent:
- Inflammation and scarring in the airways
- Tightening of the muscle bands around the airways (bronchospasm)
- Will not provide quick relief of asthma symptoms
- Do not show immediate results, but work slowly over time
- Should be taken daily, even when you are not having symptoms
Quick-Relief (Rescue or Reliever) Medications
Rescue/reliever medications are fast-acting medications used to relieve asthma symptoms within five to 20 minutes. They should be used whenever you have asthma symptoms. These types of medicines are usually inhaled directly into the lungs through an inhaler or a nebulizer.
- Relieve asthma symptoms once they have started
- Are fast-acting (start working in five to 20 minutes)
- Do not control or prevent inflammation in the airways
- Relax the tightened muscle bands around the airways (bronchospasm)
- Should only be needed occasionally. Talk to your doctor if you find you are using quick-relief medications more than twice a week to control your breathing