Asthma Treatments - With Relievers and Preventers?

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There are two types of treatments to reduce the symptoms and effects of an asthma attack using drugs that resemble two of our natural hormones.

These are adrenaline (epinephrine in the USA) and the steroid hydrocortisone and they form the basis for relievers that provide quick relief of symptoms and preventers for longer term care.

Most asthmatics use both preventers and relievers to form a medical regime to control the asthma.

These medicines are usually taken as inhalers so that they can be breathed in through the nose or mouth. Inhalers have advantages over other forms of medication because...

?The medicine is delivered where it is required in the lungs and so less of the medicine is needed.

?The medicine can be made to be biodegradable inside the body. After it has done its work in the lungs it can be broken down in the liver so there is little chance of harmful side effects.

?The medicine works more quickly.

Quick Relief Medicines

Drugs that resemble adrenaline (epinephrine) are known as 'relievers' and give rapid, short-term treatment and are used for when the asthmatic has worsening symptoms that if left untreated could lead to an asthma attack. The patient will feel the effects of these medicines within minutes but they only last a short time.

They are short-acting inhaled bronchodilators that work by relaxing the muscles that have tightened around the airways. They help open up the airways quickly and ease the patient's breathing and are used only when needed. They are sometimes called " rescue " or " relief " medicines because they can stop an asthma attack very quickly and anyone who has asthma should always carry one of these inhalers in case of an attack.

Long-Term Medicines

These are called preventers and are taken every day, usually over long periods of time, to control chronic symptoms and to prevent asthma episodes or attacks. Medicines which resemble hydrocortisone slowly reduce the sensitivity the patient has towards irritants and allergens that would normally trigger an attack. It will take a few weeks to for them to show any improvement and once an attack starts they do nothing to alleviate it. Patients with persistent asthma need long-term control medicines.

Long-term medication includes:

? The most effective and long-term medication for asthma is an inhaled corticosteroid (or steroids for short) because this reduces the swelling of the airways that makes attacks more likely. This is the preferred treatment for controlling mild, moderate, and severe asthma and are safe when taken as prescribed by your doctor. There are many kinds of inhalers that require different techniques, and it is important to know how to use a inhaler in the correct way. In some cases, steroidal tablets or liquid are used for short periods of times in order to bring asthma under control.

? Long-acting beta-agonists are bronchodilators: these are not anti-inflammatory drugs but are used to help control moderate and severe asthma and to prevent night-time symptoms. Long-acting beta-agonists are taken together with inhaled corticosteroid medicine.

? Leukotriene modifiers (i.e., montelukast, zafirlukast, and zileuton) are long-term control medicines that used either on there own to treat mild cases asthma or used in tandem with inhaled corticosteroids for moderate or even severe asthma.

? Cromolyn and nedocromil are also long-term medicines used only to treat mild asthma.

? Theophylline is a long-termmedication used either on it's own to treat mild asthma or along with inhaled corticosteroids to treat moderate asthma. People who take theophylline should have their blood levels checked to be sure the dose is correct.

Most asthmatics will need both a short-acting bronchodilator to use when symptoms worsen and long-term daily asthma medication to control the ongoing inflammation. Over time, a doctor needs to make changes to the asthma medication, increasing or decreasing doses and changing medication where required. The desire should bd to use the least amount of medicine necessary to control the asthma effectively.

Asthma Treatments with Relievers and Preventers

There two main types of medicines for the treatment of asthma:

?Quick Relief Medicines - also called relievers , and,

?Long-Term Medicines - also called preventers .

Quick Relief Medicines are fast acting, providing short-term treatment within minutes and are taken when the patient feels worsening asthma symptoms that can lead to an asthma attack.

Long-Term Control Medicines are taken daily, over long periods of time, to control the disease.
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