Asthma Care and Treatment

Asthma Management

  1. Avoid things that may bother your asthma
  2. Take your medicine as your doctor says
  3. See your doctor at least once every six months
  4. Monitoring lungs to determine response to medication and treatment
  5. Ongoing education and support for you and your family.

Work with your doctor to get an asthma action plan to learn:

  1. How to stay away from things that make your asthma worse
  2. What medicine to take and when to take it
  3. How to watch for asthma changes
  4. When to get emergency help
  5. How often to visit your doctor

Asthma Treatment

Long-Term Control Medicines
These medicines help prevent asthma symptoms from occurring in the first place. For optimal asthma control, these medications should be used every day, even when you are feeling well.

Quick-Relief Medicines
Quick-relief medicines, often referred to as rescue medicines. are medicines that work quickly to open the tightened airways. They are used to treat sudden asthma symptoms. These medicines do not prevent them from occurring.

Treatment with medications is an important aspect of ongoing care. Following doctor's instructions for taking medications also is vitally important. Understand that medications serve to prevent an attack, which - taken properly - ultimately prevents emergency care. Asthma medications are often classified as "controllers," which are either anti-inflammatory agents that arrest or prevent bronchial inflammation, or long-acting bronchodilators - and "relievers".

Anti-inflammatory "controllers" include steroids, cromolyn sodium, and nedocromil sodium that are usually administered as "metered-dose inhalers" (or MDl's) or "puffers." "Relievers" which relax bronchial smooth muscle are usually bronchodilators. This group includes short-acting beta-agonists like albuterol, metaproterenol, pirbuterol along with oral and intravenous steroids, and cholinergics (ipratropium bromide).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved two new medications: zafirlukast (trade name Accolate) and zileuton (trade name Zyflo). Ask your doctor for more information or contact the National Council on Patient Information and Education (301) 340-3940.