Breathing issues, coughing, congestion, wheezing and whatnot. An asthma patient has to deal with numerous health issues. Topping these struggles are the innumerable medicines that they have to take.
Asthma can manifest at any point in a person’s life, whether during childhood or adulthood. Unfortunately, asthma is a chronic health issue. There is no cure available yet. However, there are medicines that help manage the symptoms when asthma flares up.
This blog provides comprehensive answers to the inquiries about multiple types of medications
But first, let’s begin with what asthma is –
Asthma is a persistent ailment that impacts the bronchial tubes, the airways within the lungs. The condition induces inflammation in the inner walls of these tubes, responsible for the transfer of air to and from the lungs. The resulting swelling narrows the airways, making breathing challenging. What characterises asthma as chronic is the recurrence of respiratory difficulties, as the bronchial tubes become susceptible to allergies and irritations.
When allergens, such as foreign particles, enter the airways, the tubes undergo swelling once again, leading to symptoms like shortness of breath or breathlessness. The severity of asthma varies among individuals, with some experiencing it as a minor inconvenience, while in others, it can be a debilitating and potentially dangerous disorder that disrupts daily life.
Types of asthma medications
The following medications are commonly employed in treating asthma. It is crucial to adhere to the guidance provided by your healthcare provider regarding your treatment plan.
Bronchodilators function by relaxing the muscles surrounding the airways, making breathing easier when the airways are more open.
There are two general types of bronchodilators, and your prescription may include one or both:
- Short-acting bronchodilators, which act quickly to provide relief from symptoms.
- Long-acting bronchodilators that have prolonged effects and are not intended for immediate relief. They are recommended for use in combination with an anti-inflammatory asthma medicine.
Anti-inflammatory medications reduce swelling and mucus production within the airways, facilitating easier breathing. Also known as corticosteroids or steroids, these medications are often inhaled. After using them, it is crucial to rinse your mouth with water immediately to prevent thrush, a yeast infection in the throat.
Some corticosteroids are available in pill form, and are typically used for brief periods under special circumstances, such as worsening symptoms.
Anticholinergics (Quick-relief inhalers)
Anticholinergics reduce swelling and prevent the tightening of muscle bands around the airways. This type of medicine can be inhaled using a metered-dose inhaler or nebuliser from a solution. Regular use of inhaled corticosteroids helps to keep asthma in check and address symptoms like cough, mucus production, wheezing, or chest tightness. They can also relax the muscles that tighten around your airways. This helps the muscles to open up, so you can breathe easier.
Biologics (Monoclonal antibodies)
For moderate-to-severe asthma forms resistant to standard therapy, approved “add-on” medications are available. These targeted therapies address specific types of airway inflammation in asthma, such as allergic (atopic) and eosinophilic asthma.
Flare-ups in asthma may be triggered by bacterial or viral infections. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or antivirals for you to keep on hand. Instructions will be provided to fill this prescription if an infection is imminent.
It is crucial to follow the prescribed antibiotic regimen precisely and complete the course, even if symptoms improve before the medication is fully used. Incomplete use may result in a resurgence of the infection, which could be more severe and challenging to treat.
Asthma medications do not provide a cure for asthma; however, they play a crucial role in alleviating symptoms. The key is to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions precisely, ensuring you take the prescribed medicine(s) at the correct time and with the appropriate technique.
If you are encountering symptoms of asthma, are not sure if you are taking your medicine correctly, or if you are experiencing bothersome side effects, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider. They can assist in ensuring you comprehend the correct method of medication intake, and if necessary, may consider adjusting your prescribed medicines.