Which medications are used in the treatment of asthma and how are they managed?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Pharmacologic management includes the use of relief and control agents. Control agents include inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting bronchodilators (beta-agonists and anticholinergics), theophylline (Theo-24, Theochron, Uniphyl), leukotriene modifiers, anti-IgE antibodies, anti-interleukin (IL)–5 antibodies, and anti–IL-4/IL-13 antibodies. Relief medications include short-acting bronchodilators, systemic corticosteroids, and ipratropium (Atrovent).

The pharmacologic treatment of asthma is based on stepwise therapy. Asthma medications should be added or deleted as the frequency and severity of the patient's symptoms change.

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