What are long-acting beta-agonist bronchodilators?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Long-acting beta-agonists relax and open the airways in the same way as short-acting beta agonists, but the effect lasts longer. Long-acting beta-agonists are often added to corticosteroids to keep asthma under control. They allow many people to use less steroid medication. Long-acting beta-agonists should never be used alone without other asthma medications and should not be used intermittently to treat asthma flare-ups, as short-acting beta-agonists often are.

Long-acting beta-agonists available in the US for treating asthma are salmeterol (Serevent) and formoterol (Foradil). Both are inhaled medications. Some products combine a long-acting beta-agonist and corticosteroid in a single inhaler, such as Advair, Breo Ellipta, Dulera, and Symbicort. 

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