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How effective are short-acting beta-agonist bronchodilators?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Short-acting beta-agonist bronchodilators do not affect the underlying inflammation that is part of persistent asthma. They are used on an as-needed basis, rather than on a regular schedule. Using these drugs daily probably means that long-term control therapy is needed. Both metered-dose and nebulizer forms of these drugs are available.

Metered-dose inhalers with a spacer are as effective as nebulizers in delivering short-acting beta-agonists during asthma attacks in children. It is not clear if they are equally effective in adults. 

​​​​​​This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.