Asthma medications play a significant role in keeping your asthma under control and helping you to live a better life with asthma. These medications work well when taken properly.
However, most of the people on asthma medications don’t use them properly. Asthma medicines are one of your most important tools for controlling asthma attacks. Make sure that they work for you and help you to achieve good control of your asthma symptoms.
Pharmacological Options for Quick Relief:
Everyone with asthma requires a quick relief medicine to stop an asthma episode. These medicines give immediate relief to narrowed airways as well as relieve the symptoms of wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness that happen with asthma. Fast acting medicines begin to work within five minutes and have fewer side effects. These provide rapid relief from asthma flare-ups or more serious attacks and can also be called as rescue therapy. All quick-relief medications used for asthma care are bronchodilators.
- Short-acting beta agonists – These are inhaled medications available to provide instant relief during an asthma flare-up, and the relief may last for several hours. The drugs in this category are the best choice for treating exercise-induced attacks. The class includes Albuterol (Ventolin HFA, ProAir HFA), pirbuterol (Maxair Autohaler), levalbuterol (Xopenex HFA).
The drugs include the following adverse effects:
- Fast heart rate
- Throat irritation
In rare cases, these medicines may cause heart arrhythmias.
- Anticholinergics – Another class of quick-relief medications, inhalable bronchodilators useful in providing fast relief from asthma attack. The category includes ipratropium bromide drug. Anticholinergics may cause the following side effects:
- Nasal irritation
- Bloody nose
- Dry mouth
- Trouble breathing
- Nasal dryness
Rare but serious side effects include bronchospasm, a muscle spasm in the lungs that narrow your airways. They may also cause worsening of pre-existing heart arrhythmias.
All these medicines relax bronchial smooth muscles usually within 2 to 10 minutes of administration.
- If you haven’t used your asthma inhaler for more than two days, you may need to shake it and does a test spray.
- Make sure that you clean the plastic case once a week. Remove the metal canister and run the case under warm water for at least thirty seconds.
- Always use a spacer with your fast relief inhaler, so the medicine gets deeper into the lungs and airways.
- Quick relief, asthma medications can look similar to long-term controller medications. It is necessary to keep both types of asthma medications separate because the medicines will help in a different way. You can also label your fast acting medication with QR to help you identify.
Taking your medication:
Medicine is one of the great tools used to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as per your physician’s recommendations will not only improve your overall health but may also prevent future problems. If you are not taking your asthma medicine properly, then you may be putting your life at risk. It is very common for people to use their asthma medication devices incorrectly and miss out the complete benefits of their medications. Incorrect use of devices can increase the risk of adverse effects. Even, if you think you are using your device correctly, it is always good to have your technique checked. Ask your physician to review your asthma medications and check your technique of using it at your next visit.
Looking after your Asthma:
It is recommended that everyone with asthma should have an overall plan for managing their asthma. This should include a written health plan and regular review with your health care specialist, at least twice a day.
Advice for Women
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any asthma medicine unless your physician allows you to. Some medicines may cause fetal harm and these include prescription, vitamins, herbs, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements. Also, make sure that your physician knows that you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to conceive.
Check the expiry date of your asthma medicine as well as exact storage instructions. Most asthma medications require storage at controlled room temperature, away from heat and moisture. Do not leave your medications in your car.