Asthma: Short Term & Long Term Control

Asthma is a fairly common condition that causes a person's airways to become inflamed or swollen. Symptoms may include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms can be worsened by allergens (animal dander, mold, pollen), irritants (cigarette smoke, air pollution, strong odors) or other factors (medications, food, reflux). Asthma treatment falls into 2 main categories: drugs for quick relief and drugs for long-term control. Quick relief drugs include short acting inhaled bronchodilators, such as albuterol (Proventil®). This medication relaxes tight muscles around the airway. It works quickly but lasts only a short time. Long-term control drugs include inhaled steroids, long-acting beta-agonists, leukotriene modifiers, cromolyn (Nasalcrom®), and nedocromil (Tilade®). The long acting drugs must be taken every day to help prevent attacks from happening. Inhaled steroids, such as beclomethasone (Vanceril®), budesonide (Pulmicort®), flunisolide (Aerobid®), and triamcinolone (Azmacort®), help reduce airway inflammation. A group of drugs called leukotriene modifiers block substances that cause asthma symptoms and include monte-lukast (Singulair®), zarfirlukast (Accolate®), and zileutin (Zyflo®).