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Jamaica Scientific Research Institute
Healing the world, one disorder at a time
Conventional treatments for Asthma

There are basically two types of bronchodilators available:

  • Short acting or “quick relief” or “rescue” bronchodilators (these medications are taken only as needed) and
  • Long acting bronchodilators (taken daily to control asthma).

Bronchodilators act by opening up the airways so that it is easier for air to pass freely.

A third treatment involves the use of immunotherapy.


Table below includes Types of drugs used in the treatment of Asthma. The list is not exhaustive.

Click here to view the chemical structures page.

Type of DrugsUses Examples Common side effects
Long acting medicationsPrevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.

They will not treat an asthma attack that has already begun. Taken regularly, they decrease irritation and swelling in the airways, which helps to control or prevent asthma symptoms.
  • Inhaled Corticosteroids example fluticasone
  • Leukotriene modifiers (Leukotrienes are chemicals your body that mediate inflammation)
  • Long-acting beta agonists (LABAs)
  • Theophylline
  • Combination inhalers containing a corticosteroid and a LABA
  • Increase in heart rate
  • CNS excitation
  • Irritability
  • Nasal dryness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing or cough
Quick-relief medications
(rescue drugs)
Provides some relief immediately. They are taken as needed for rapid, short-term relief of symptoms. Can be used to prevent or treat an asthma attack.
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids (for serious asthma attacks) example prednisone
  • Short-acting beta agonists such as albuterol/salbuterol (SABAs)
  • Anticholinergics such Ipratropium and Tiotropium
  • Skin flushing
  • Tachycardia
  • Nausea
  • Palpitations
  • headache
  • Serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis
Medications for allergy-induced asthma Taken regularly or as needed to reduce the body's sensitivity to a particular allergy-causing substance (allergen)
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
  • Omalizumab
  • wheezing, tightness in your chest, trouble breathing
  • hives or skin rash
  • feeling anxious or light-headed, fainting
  • pain
  • hair loss
  • redness, bruising,warmth, burning, stinging, itching, pain, or swelling where the injection was given

For a full profile on a drug you may be taking, visit Drugs.com or Rxlist.com and simply enter the name.

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