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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