A nebulizer is a device used to deliver a medication in treatment of conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and COPD. The device converts a medication from liquid form into a mist using pressured air so that it can be rapidly inhaled into the lungs. Treatment with nebulizers is used in infants and children as they often have problems using inhalers. Adults can also use nebulizers.
Nebulizer treatment allows the medication to easily reach the airways thus it brings instant symptom relief. This relief is achieved within 5 to 10 minutes after administering a nebulizer medication. The severity of breathing difficulty determines how many times a day a nebulizer medication has to be used. It is usually recommended to inhale a nebulizer medication more than 2 to 3 times per day.
There are two types of nebulizer medications classified according to the sort of treatment required for an individual patient. There are quick-relief nebulizer medications used to manage symptoms of sudden asthma attacks and preventive long-term medications used for prevention of repeated asthma attacks.
List of Nebulizer Medications
There are numerous nebulizer medications. Nebulizer medications used for treatment of asthma symptoms contain both anti-inflammatory medications like steroids and bronchodilators. Given below are common nebulizer medications used in treatment of asthma.
Albuterol (brand names Proventil, Ventolin and AccuNeb) is a bronchodilator that helps to open breathing passages and increase airflow to the lungs thus allowing a patient to breathe more easily. This medication is used to prevent bronchospasm caused by asthma or bronchitis. It should not be used in patients allergic to albuterol. Also, caution is advised when using this nebulizer for individuals suffering from heart disease, thyroid problems, diabetes and epilepsy. In such cases, a health care provider must adjust the dose or prescribe other medication.
Levalbuterol is a generic name for Xoponex. It is another bronchodilator used in treatment of asthma, emphysema and bronchitis which relieves wheezing and shortness of breath. It works by relaxing muscles in the airway. This way patients breathe much easily.
Budesonide is a preventive nebulizer medication. It is an anti-inflammatory (steroid) inhalation medication used to alleviate symptoms of different lung conditions such as wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Brand names for budesonide are Pulmicort Flexhaler and Pulmicort Respules.
Ipratropium (Atrovent) is a nebulizer medication, a type of bronchodilator, used to prevent bronchospasm that occurs with asthma, bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People suffering from bladder obstruction or enlarged prostate may need dose adjustment. Ipratropium works best when used in combination with a short-acting beta 2-agonist inhaler.