What long-term controller medications are used to treat asthma?

Most long-term controller medications that are used for asthma treatment are inhaled, such as inhaled corticosteroids or long acting beta agonists. These medications help to decrease inflammation and help open up the airways. In more severe cases of asthma, steroids or a medication called theophylline taken by mouth can be used. However, these medications are rarely used.

Most long-term controller medications for asthma need to be taken every day for asthma prevention.

Inhaled corticosteroids, including fluticasone (Flovent Diskus, Flovent HFA), mometasone (Asmanex), beclomethasone (Qvar), budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler), ciclesonide (Alvesco) and others, are the most commonly prescribed long-term asthma remedy. Compared to oral corticosteroids, inhaled corticosteroids have a relatively low risk of side effects and are usually safe for long-term use in normal doses. It usually takes several days or weeks for these medications to start working.

Salmeterol (Serevent Diskus) and formoterol (Foradil Aerolizer) are two bronchodilators in a class of medications known as long-acting beta agonists (LABAs). When used with an inhaled corticosteroid, these drugs help control asthma symptoms. There are also devices available that contain both a LABA and an inhaled (anti-inflammatory) corticosteroid (Advair, Symbicort, Dulera).

Theophylline (Uniphyl), another type of slow-acting bronchodilator, is prepared in a slow-release form taken by mouth. Although not used as frequently as it used to be in the past, theophylline is sometimes used for persistent asthma symptoms, particularly nighttime asthma.

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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.