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Understanding Different Types of Asthma Medications

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflammation in the airways, making it hard to breathe. Sometimes, people with asthma have asthma attacks, in which their symptoms suddenly get worse. During an asthma attack, a person may wheeze or cough, feel extremely short of breath, or feel pain or tightness in the chest.

While there’s no cure for asthma, you can work with your doctor to make an asthma action plan to manage the disease. Managing your asthma well typically involves avoiding known triggers (when possible), taking medication, and knowing when to seek urgent help.

There are two main types of medications that doctors may prescribe to help control asthma: short-acting and long-acting medications.

Learn more about how these two types of medications can support your asthma action plan.

Short-acting asthma medications are medications that you can take to help you breathe when you’re having an asthma attack. These medications open up your airways quickly, making it easier for you to breathe. You take these medications using a device called an inhaler.

This will allow you to breathe in the medication and get it directly to your lungs for fast relief.

Long-acting asthma medications are medications that you take daily to help prevent asthma attacks. These are often medications that are taken with an inhaler, but they can also be oral medications. Some work by reducing inflammation, and others are long-acting medications that help keep your airways open.

If you’re newly diagnosed with asthma and your doctor recommends an inhaled medication, ask your local pharmacist for help with learning how to use it.

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