Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways. Patientssuffering from asthma experience coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath andchest tightness. The preferred treatments for asthma are asthma inhalers. Theseare devices which hold the anti-asthmatic drugs and a patient takes themedication by inhaling it.
There are several types of asthma inhalers on the market,such as: pressurized metered dose inhalers (MDIs), nebulisers, inhalers withspacers and breath activated inhalers.
Benefits of Asthma Inhalers
Inhalers are made in a way that the entire drug inside thedevice goes directly to the patient’s airways, where it is needed the most. As theconsequence, patients need much smaller doses, since there is no waste of thedrug. In most other drugs, used as tablets or liquids, there is a loss ofcertain amount of the drug that never reached the desired, treated organ. If apatient is using the inhaler, a small amount of the drug is sufficient, becausecomplete dose of the drug will go the lungs and there are no losses. Evenbetter, the occurrence of side effects in the use of inhaler drugs is verysmall. Some adverse effects might be present, but because of the tiny quantitiesof the drug, they are usually mild and transient.
Asthma Inhaler Medications
There are several different groups of drugs that can be usedin inhalers, including: preventers, short-acting bronchodilators andlong-acting bronchodilators.
Preventer inhalers in most cases contain steroid drugs,which work by decreasing the airways inflammation. As preventer steroids yourdoctor may prescribe you: beclometasone, budesonide, ciclesonide, fluticasoneor mometasone. Sometimes, as preventer inhaler drugs, it could be possible touse: chromoglycate or nedocromil (non-steroid medications). Usually, these aretaken two times every day, unless you are suffering from the worsening of thesymptoms. In that case, the doctor might recommend taking preventers moreoften. These medications take several days to show first signs of progress andseveral weeks to the full effect.
Short-acting bronchodilators or relievers of the asthmasymptoms relax the muscles around your airways, dilating the airways (bronchi)and instantly reliving the symptoms. The most commonly used relievers aresalbutamol and terbutaline, used in cases when you need only occasional asthmarelieve.
Long-acting bronchodilators work similarly to relieverinhalation drugs, but the difference is the duration of action, because theireffects last up to 12 hours. Salmeterol and formoterol are long-actingbronchodilators frequently used.
There is also a combination of long-acting bronchodilatorsand steroids in the inhalers, recommended for people with serious symptoms,which can’t be controlled by steroids alone. Such combinations are: formoteroland beclometasone or budesonide and sameterol and fluticasone.