Asthma cannot be cured nor successfully controlled only with trigger avoidance. People suffering from asthma usually need to take one or several asthma medications depending from case to case. Asthma medications can be generally divided into long-term-control medications and quick-relief medications for asthma. The first are used to prevent asthma attacks, while the second group of medications are used to reduce or stop asthma attack symptoms in progress.
Long-term-control medications for asthma are anti-inflammatory drugs which are prescribed to prevent the symptoms and worsening of asthma. They need to be taken daily on long term basis even when not having symptoms of asthma. Most commonly prescribed and effective long-term-control medications for asthma are inhaled corticosteroids. Other long-term medications for asthma which are prescribed according to the asthma severity are also long-acting beta-2 agonists, leukotriene modifiers, cromolyn and nedocromil, theophylline and antihistamines. The effect of long-tern-control medications for asthma is noticed after several days, while optimal results are achieved after several months. Long-term-control medications for asthma are not appropriate for asthma attack relief.
Sudden asthma attacks are relieved or prevented with quick-relief medications for asthma, commonly known as bronchodilators and sometimes also as “rescue” medications. Bronchodilators such as short-acting beta-2 agonists, anticholinergic medications (ipratropium) and oral corticosteroids are used only when having an asthma attack or having the early symptoms of asthma attack.