Asthma Treatment Chicago
Rescue Inhalers (Short-Acting Broncho-Dilators)
- Albuterol (Ventolin®, Proventil®, Proair®)
- Levalbuterol (Xopenex®)
- Pirbuterol (Maxair®)
- Rescue inhalers work quickly to relieve asthma symptoms by relaxing the muscle layer of the lungs
- They also help prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms when taken 20 minutes before exercise. Because exercise is a common asthma trigger, rescue inhalers should always be readily available before and during physical activity.
- Only temporarily relieves asthma symptoms and will NOT treat the inflammation that caused the asthma attack.
- It is important to discuss the warning signs of worsening asthma and proper use of a rescue inhaler with your doctor.
- Alubterol is most often used in an inhaled form with a device called a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). Albuterol and levalbuterol (Xopenex®) are also available as a solution that can be used with a nebulizer machine.
Long Term Controller Medications
- Controller medications
- are used when asthma symptoms occur frequently or a person has experienced frequent asthma attacks.
These medications are taken daily and work to reduce the chronic inflammation of the lungs that causes the symptoms of asthma.
- Inhaled corticosteroids are the most effective long-term medications to control asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks
- Inhaled corticosteroids do not start working right away and may take 1-2 weeks to notice significant symptom improvement
- It is important not to stop your inhaled steroid even if your symptoms have improved. Stopping the medication can lead to a return of symptoms and increase the risk of an asthma attack.
- Your doctor may adjust the dosage and frequency of the inhaled corticosteroid depending on the severity and frequency of your symptoms.
- Inhaled corticosteroids will greatly reduce but not eliminate the chance of an asthma attack. A short course of oral corticosteroids may be required to gain control of your asthma symptoms.
- Inhaled corticosteroids are different than anabolic steroids (used to build muscle mass) and are safe to take on a daily basis. Your doctor will be able to discuss any concerns you may have about potential medication side effects.
There are many different inhaled steroid medications available and include:
- Treats inflammation in the lungs and nasal passage
- Unlike inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers come in pill form
- May be used as an alternative to inhaled corticosteroids for mild asthma symptoms (although they are not nearly as effective as inhaled corticosteroids)
- Can be used in combination with inhaled steroids to help relieve chronic asthma symptoms
- Can improve nasal allergy symptoms
- May help prevent asthma symptoms triggered by exercise
- Should not be used to relieve acute asthma symptoms but can be continued during an asthma attack.
Leukotriene modifiers include:
- SINGULAIR® (Montelukast)
- ACCOLATE® (Zafirlukast)
- ZYFLO® (Zileuton)
- Prescribed for patients 12 years of age and older for moderate-severe asthma triggered by year-round allergens
- Helps reduce the number and severity of asthma attacks for people who are still having asthma symptoms despite taking inhaled corticosteroids
- Given as an injection in your doctor’s office
- Short courses of oral corticosteroids are sometimes needed to reduce the inflammation of a more severe asthma attack and can help prevent a trip to the emergency room or hospitalization.
- Begin working in 4-6 hours.
- Oral corticosteroids are most commonly given in 2-7 day bursts
- Side effects for short-term use are usually limited to a few, if any, side effects which can include: fluid retention, moodiness, increased appetite, and upset stomach. If you are experiencing side effects that may be related to oral corticosteroids, please notify your doctor.
Examples of oral corticosteroids include:
- Methyl-prednisolone (Medrol Dose-Pak)®
- ORAPRED®1, PEDIAPRED® , PRELONE®
1 Available in liquid form or as an orally disintegrating tablet (ODT)