Long term asthma medications are involved in prevention, and to control mild ashtma symptoms. In contrast, short term asthma drugs have immediate action and are used to treat the symptoms of asthma. Long term medications are generally taken every day and are designed to prevent or to reduce inflammation of the breathing passages, prevent swelling of airway tissues and to block allergic reactions that cause attacks or asthmatic symptoms. They are either taken orally in table or pill form or possibly liquid, or are used in inhalers. According to the staff at Mayo Clinic online, several different types are used: Inhaled corticosteroids; beta 2 agonists; leukotriene modifiers; chromyl nedocromil; Theophylline.
This group includes Fluticasone better known as Flovent and is used for asthmatics that need symptomatic control or preventive measures to control asthma attacks. This drug is especially effective against night time asthma attacks. Although artificially produced in the laboratory as opposed as being generated by the adrenals, it faithfully mimics the action of the other corticosteroids.
Other inhaled corticosteroids are Budesonide, commercially sold as Pulmicort, which is specifically designed for children. Triamcinolone or Axmacort, Funisolide or Aerobid, Beclomethasone or Qvar and Mometasosne or Asmanex.
Beta 2 agonists
This group of long-term asthma medicines act as bronchodilators. They open up passageways and make breathing easier by allowing air to move freely into and out of the lungs. The two most well known and used are Salmeterol and Formeterol (Serevent Diskes and Foradil Aerolizer). It is often prescribed to control exercise induced asthma as well as other long term asthma control uses. Their continued use may be questionable. Further studies may be needed.
Leukotriene modifiers: These groups of drugs block the immune system from reacting against potential harmful asthma triggers such as dust mites and other allergens that trigger asthma attacks. Leukotrienes are immune system chemicals that often over-react to stimuli. The two most prominent drugs in this category are montelucast, sold as Singulair and zafurlukast or the brand name Accolate.
Chromyl nedocromil: This group of drugs is used primarily for mild asthma attacks or to prevent persistent symptoms. Also asthma that is triggered by exercise or exertion show good results from Cromyln or medocromil (Tiloda).
Theophylline: Theophylline is a bronchodilator that has been on the market many, many years. It is usually given in pill form every day as a preventive long-time drug for mild asthma. Otherwise known as Theo 24, Theocron or Uniphyl, etc. Its use dictates that periodic blood testing be done to adjust the dosage up or down.
Combination medications: Scientist have discovered that often time long term asthma drugs work better when used together. Two of these drugs are Fluticosone and Salmeterol together, otherwise known as Advair Discus and Budesonide and Formoterol, commercially known as Symbicort.
This article has been written simply as an overview as to what is generally being prescribed by physicians in treating their asthma patients who need long time and not immediate care. Often, however, these two asthma conditions, acute or immediate care drugs and long term care drugs are not the same. All drugs are potentially harmful, but asthma sufferers need them in order to survive and they learn how to effectually monitor their usage.
Whenever drugs are used it is a trade off between potential harmful side effects and the necessary relief from whatever agonizing symptom that brings one in to offices and clinics for help. Asthma drugs however, are one of the better types of planned care that is showing improvement in long term wellness for asthmatics. At one time not so many years ago, asthmatics had few choices of treatment. At allergy season time especially, emergency rooms were often filled with victims seeking help. Planned care and long time medicines have improved over this.