Asthma Medications – A Guide Book

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Asthma is a commonly known chronic disease. If the patient is suffering from asthma problems, it means his airways (bronchi) are inflamed i.e. the small air tubes are facing difficulty in carrying air in and out of the lungs. The bronchi of the asthmatic patient remain more sensitive too than the normal people and it produces extra mucus every time. These all together make breathing more difficult for the patients due to shortness of breath, wheezing, trigger coughing, bronchospasm or reversible airflow obstruction.

Cause of asthma:

Though the main reason for asthma is not clear yet to the doctors and scientists, but it is most probably due to the following factors:

1. Environmental: 

a) allergens like animal fur, dust mites, pollens etc.,

b) strong emotional expressions,

c) drugs like beta blockers and aspirin,

d) tobacco smoking,

e) respiratory infections

2. Genetic: children who suffer from asthmatic problems are suffers of genetic reasons. There remain higher chances of developing asthma in the family members or descendants of the patients. Sometimes hay fever or atopic dermatitis can also trigger asthma in people.

Treatment of asthma:

There are a range of options available for controlling asthma conditions. Treatment is generally based on achieving two goals:

  • Particular schedules to treat severe attacks by opening those airways which are responsible for limited breathing.
  • Prophylactic trials for maintaining airflow by reducing inflammation and resistance to airways.
    Both prevention and treatment of asthma require a combination of drugs, lifestyle changes and identification of potential asthma triggers to avoid them.

Medications which are involved in the treatment of asthma include beta2 agonists, corticosteroids, antimuscarinics, xanthines and leukotriene inhibitors. These are available in forms of tablets, injections, inhalations and capsules. Doctors prescribe these by judging the medical condition of the patients.

Anti-Asthmatic Drugs:

Drugs which are used in the treatment of asthma can be of two categories:

1. Quick relief medications:

These are used for offering short term but quick relief during an asthma attack. Such group of medications includes:

  • Short acting beta2 agonists: These are fast relief bronchodilators which need to get inhaled during an asthma attack. These are available in the form of a nebulizer or inhaler. Example: terbutaline and salbutamol.
  • Antimuscarinics: It is need to be inhaled for quick relief as it relaxes the airways and eases the process of breathing. Example: tiotropium and ipratropium.
  • Systemic corticosteroids: These relieve inflammation due to severe asthma. Example: methylprednisone and prednisone.
  • Intravenous xanthines: These relive muscles and bronchial spasm during acute asthma attack. Example: aminophylline.

2. Long term asthma control medications:

Such medicines work by reducing the amount of inflammation and also prevent the occurrence of asthma attacks.

  • Inhaled corticosteroids: these are counted as the most powerful preventers. To get its maximum benefits, you need to use these medications for a long time (can be a few months) at a stretch. Example: budesonide.
  • Long-acting beta2 agonists: these need to be inhaled to open the airways. It needs to be used along with corticosteroids. Example: formoterol.
  • Leukotriene inhibitors: if taken before doing exercises or comes to the exposure of cold air or allergens, it acts against the inflammatory elements of asthma and thus provides protection from bronchoconstriction. Example: zafirlukast.
  • Xanthines: besides relaxing the bronchial muscles and relieving bronchial spasm, it can stimulate the effects of inflammations and respiration. Example: theophylline. You can buy asthma tablets online but remember to check the certificates of the dealers.