Utah Asthma Program
Utah Asthma Program

Asthma Medications and Devices

Long-Term Control Medication | Quick-Relief Medication | Videos: How To Use Inhalers | Additional Resources

DISCLAIMER: Information contained in this website is for informational purposes only and should not replace advice from a physician.

Long-Term Control Medications | Top

Long-term control medications (also called controllers) help prevent asthma attacks by controlling inflammation in the airways. These medications should be taken every day by people who have signs or symptoms of asthma more than twice a week. Medications include:

  • Inhaled steroids. These medicines keep inflammation (swelling) of the airway lining from starting and reduce the inflammation that already exists.
  • Cromolyn and nedocromil. These medicines block the asthma reaction before it starts.
  • Long acting beta2-agonist medicines. These medicines help keep the airways open. They should be taken in addition to an inhaled steroid. Because they are long acting, they help prevent symptoms at night.
  • Theophylline. This medicine helps keep the airways open. It is long acting and can help prevent symptoms at night.
  • Leukotriene modifiers. These long acting medicines block part of the asthma reaction and help reduce symptoms.

See medication posters and currently available long-term control medications by clicking here.

Quick-Relief Medications | Top

Quick-relief medications provide immediate relief of asthma symptoms and can be used to prevent symptoms if used before exposure to an asthma trigger, such as exercise. Quick-relief medications are also called bronchodilators. Medications include:

  • Beta2-agonist medicines. These medicines quickly relax the muscles that have tightened around the airways.
  • Anticholinergics. These medicines, including Ipratropium, relaxes the muscles that have
    tightened around the airways, but not as quickly as beta2-agonist medicines do.
  • Systemic corticosteroids. These medicines can speed resolution of airflow obstruction and reduce the rate of relapse.

If quick-relief medications are used more than two or three times a week, daily long-term control medications should be added to the treatment plan.

See medication posters and currently available quick-relief medications by clicking here.

Videos: How To Use Inhalers | Top

These videos will show you how to correctly use an inhaler.

With a spacer:

Without a spacer:

With a spacer and mask (video from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta):

With a nebulizer and mask (video from National Jewish Health):

More English and Spanish videos and PDF instructions are available on the CDC website:

Videos in English:

Videos en Español:

Inhaler Technique Handout

The American College of CHEST Physicians developed handouts to show how to use different types of metered dose and dry powder inhalers. Check them out here: American College of CHEST Physicians Handouts (Spanish)

Resources | Top